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VR and AR are transforming the ways in which businesses interact with their clients, potential customers, and even their employees. According to SparkAmplify’s ARVR trending topic analysis, we have observed a sharp increase in wearable technology, including ones from Apple, Samsung and Lenovo. There have also been more corporations utilising AR and VR in their operations - from exhibitions to digital applications. It only makes sense for companies to harness the power of AR and VR to boost efficiency and further their business, execute new ideas and train their employees. Here are some examples of industries that are using AR/VR to their advantage.
Using virtual reality (VR) to create a fully-functioning prototype is both cost-effective and time-saving. By exploring ideas in VR, the performance of the prototype can be tested safely in almost any condition. This is particularly helpful for businesses in the manufacturing or production industries. An example would be D&K Engineering which specialises in utilizing VR to expedite its product design and manufacturing service processes. The American company also has sites in Singapore and Malaysia.
VR opens up new doors for businesses to market their products and services to consumers. Customer engagement with products can become a whole lot more immersive with the aid of VR and AR. Singapore start-up Circos VR prides itself on creating compelling experiences through VR and 360o video for brands to market their heritage. Indeed, no amount of words or photographs can compare to sending your customers to a completely new dimension to experience the product for themselves. In fact, insiders speculate that although real-world showrooms are an integral part of the marketing landscape now, VR showrooms will dominate in the future.
Some forward-thinking entrepreneurs have seized the opportunity to utilise AR and VR to transform brick-and-mortar retail experiences. The technology is able to showcase the store’s inventory better and improve one’s shopping experience. This is particularly apt for the current pandemic situation we are all trapped in. While major companies like ASOS have announced that plans of AR/VR shopping experiences are in the pipeline, a Malaysian start-up has taken the leap of faith. Conten.T aims to bring the retail experience to consumers who are stuck at home. By simply scanning a QR code, customers are transported to a hyperreal virtual shopping environment. Customers are then able to explore various rooms and learn more about the brand’s products. Despite it only being a year since its launch in June 2020, Conten.T has worked with brands like Gucci, Mamonde and Adidas Malaysia.
Another new and effective use of AR and VR is to improve workplace communication. Once again, the pandemic has caused major disruptions in corporate environments, with workers alternating between remote and in-office working. However, video calls and team meetings must still occur, so this is where VR steps in. Singapore-based start-up VRCollab has engineered a software called VRcollab Lite. Its multi-user VR functionality allows for seamless communication between groups regardless of physical location. This is further enhanced by Virtual Design and Construction oriented software features that enable users to remain effective and efficient within a virtual environment.
Another advantage of bringing AR and VR into the workspace can be seen in the healthcare industry. The best thing about working within virtual reality is that when things go awry, all you have to do is hit a button to reset. This greatly reduces the danger factor when surgeons and other medical professionals are testing out new medical techniques. Introducing VR into healthcare also allows industry experts to better treat patients. Singaporean start-up, BetaSight Technologies, uses VR and Eye-Tracking to get a deeper insight into users’ eye health. They specialise in glaucoma, an eye condition that is rather prevalent in the local elderly population. The company has big plans too, intending to expand their platform to cover neurological and physiological conditions in the future.
Easy accessibility is one of the greatest benefits of AR. This makes it a fantastic way to engage and entertain users. Educators have thus decided to introduce AR into the education industry. This can be seen in the example of Taiwanese company MAI.ai. They have a programme called DigiTwin that engages with patients for their modern patient education. Even better still, the engaging nature of AR has allowed for the gamification of certain programmes. This is also helpful in the realm of education where certain concepts can be taught through VR gaming, making it easier for students to grasp them. MAI.ai programmers believe that students better memorise and retain anatomy knowledge through realistic VR immersion.
AR and VR technologies are also disrupting the real estate industry. Traditionally, prospective buyers would have to go through a lengthy process of researching, viewing and shortlisting their ideal properties. Likewise, the seller would also be subject to a multitude of tasks to complete before the transaction goes through. Luckily, the introduction of AR and VR simplifies the process a lot. Virtual tours can be arranged from any part of the world and property agents can increase their customer reach from only local to the international crowd. Taiwanese companies Follia VR and Skell International are doing just that. Virtual technology is used to craft and design dream houses for customers.
Another interesting arena where VR and AR is becoming prevalent is exhibitions. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, large-scale events like trade shows, conferences and conventions have to be pushed back until further notice. Thus marks the appearance of digital trade shows with the help of VR and AR. Singaporean start-up Studio Mojo is one of the many organisations offering virtual trade show booths to clients. They design global exhibition stands secured by a cloud-based solution with intelligent chat functions to provide visitors with the ultimate exhibition experience. Now, as the world begins to open up, Studio Mojo hopes that their digital trade show booths will complement or serve as a socially-distanced alternative to the trade shows of old.
Whether we like it or not, VR and AR are here to stay. As with all newfangled technologies, they don’t come cheap, but the benefits greatly outweigh the hefty price tag. From the aforementioned examples, we can see that companies are already eagerly embracing the opportunities created by this futuristic technology. Given the vast potential it stands to unlock in almost any industry -- from manufacturing to medical -- virtual reality is freeing us from the physical constraints of the human body and allowing us to take a peek into places that only exist in the digital world.