Virtual Communication

Digital, Featured, Technology 2018-03-21

For most of history, science fed technology. But now the process has flipped and technologies like virtual and augmented realities (AR & VR) offer great communication opportunities for the scientific world.

Humans are visual animals, a fact more observable in today’s modern world, than ever before. Now, through our social media culture, most content we consume is visual (for example: videos, infographics, pictures, etc.). A visual impactful message that can be quickly digested and more information retained than from reading a long written essay.

Like Marshall Mcluhan said, “the medium is the message.” In other words, the form of the medium can affect people according to the evolution of each new technology produced. This idea perfectly represents the impact of AR and VR.

In just a few years VR and AR have been used to create many new ways to approach the customer, and despite some wonderful early uses, we have only begun to scratch the surface of this technology.

By the way… Is there a difference between AR and VR?

Augmented Reality: This technology allows us to see virtual things (animals, articles, people, etc.) in our own environment, thanks to special glasses or screens. The best way to make you understand is to talk about the most viral application of 2016: Pokémon GO. With this application people can hunt Pokémon everywhere, just by filming their environment. For now, it is the best example of mainstream consumption of AR. Since then several brands have made their “AR baptism”, like IKEA, Lego, Starbucks even Pepsi (to mention only the most known) with even more inventive ways of advertising their products.

Augmented reality technology

Virtual Reality: It uses the same technology as AR but here the user is conveyed to a totally different world, a virtual one, thanks to glasses. In addition to the visual alteration, there are various other accessories, which can add further effects (touch, move, smell / levers, treadmill, bike…).

VR has not gone unused by businesses. It can be an immersive experience for the user and a big promotion for the brand. For example, Marriot Hotel used it to “teleport” newlyweds to their dream destination for their honeymoon. Another wonderful use of this technology, was adopted by Merrel, who used the VR technology for the launch of new hiking shoes. Their experience, called Merrel TrailScape, offered customers the possibility to go on a virtual mountain hike all from the safety of the store.

These two technologies, beside their recreational aspects, offer plenty of possibilities in terms of communication and especially in customer commitment. Businesses merely need to have the imagination and the capacity to use it. Instead of riding on the AR and VR trend, it could be used to attract new targets and mix it with an inbound strategy* to create a new value for business content.

It could even be useful for internal communication. Some of the international car brands, including Volkswagen and BMW, use AR for their production division to explain to their team the assembly process or to show the location of any problems with a product.

VRFlower If we dig deeper, this technology could be used to collect new kinds of user data information. For example, through an immersive experience, the VR devices could be capable of recording our facial expressions and establish whether we enjoy what we’re seeing or understand the message being presented. A marketer could then use this information to better design their content. Basically, VR and AR could be the Swiss Army Knife for marketers, because it is more than a medium, it is also the channel and the platform. These two technologies could be the spearhead for the brand’s message.

Outside of its communication use, AR and VR technologies can be useful in the healthcare sector, especially for the treatment of phobias like agoraphobia. Also, early medicinal research has investigated the use of virtual reality as glasses that restore vision to blind people. Of course, a cure is still in the experimental stage, but these are still the beginnings of bright future for AR and VR.

VR in healthcare

If this article piqued your interest and you would like to learn more about AR and VR, you will be happy to know that the 4th international VR & AR conference is being held in Manchester on the 21st and 22nd June 2018. For more information follow the link

* Inbound strategy: with this strategy the customer is attracted directly to your website, through relevant and helpful content (White papers, blogs, infographics, videos, newsletters, off-line events…). The opposite of this strategy is advertising because it is the brand that attracts the customer.

References

NewGenApps: Augmented Reality Technology: How does AR work?
Cramer: How VR is shaping the future of brand experiences
YouVisit: 10 Common Questions about VR marketing answered
The Verge: The eSight 3 is an AR headset to help the legally blind see
MDTmag: VR headset restores sight to the blind
Volkswagen: Virtual Technologies
The Drive:BMW uses VR to build prototypes

This blog was written by our Planning Intern, Flovia Busato.