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How VR Is Transforming the Customer Experience

August 16, 2016

4:40 pm

No longer will companies have to “visualize” how products will work within their structures or with their customers. Virtual reality gives a real-time view of how products will look when used in a broader context. Marketing pitches may as well be commercials now — there is no borderline between implementation specs and final performance.

VR gives an actual experience in a way no other technology can match. Potential consumers can see exactly how an individual technology will work within a structure, giving more context to a product. This technique works for everything from a new gun in the latest “Call of Duty” to a new mechanical arm serving McDonald’s burgers. VR may have started as a technology for gamers, but it did not end up there by any means.

Virtual reality is changing the way business leaders interact with their customers with just a few emerging technologies:

1. Virtual Product Design

Virtual product designs give consumers the ability to test-drive products in various stages of development. The full-featured, 360-degree perspective creates trust between the product and consumers. When consumers actually use the product, they can trust that the performance was adequately described by the salesperson’s presentation.

In previous business generations, this presentation relied upon words. But in the modern business generation, this presentation is visual, technically proficient, and personalized.

2. The 3D Digital Showroom

A 3D digital showroom brings consumers about as close to a brick-and-mortar application of a product as possible without a prototype. If your product is all about delivering a unique touch and feel to an audience, a digital showroom or virtual catalogue could give consumers the opportunity to “see” what they want and customize. Lowe’s, Audi, and even IKEA have all incorporated this technology into their models to give their customers a better user experience while shopping digitally.

3. Remote Control Instructions

Remote control instructions give companies the ability to create an experience for clients who may not be used to the features and benefits of the relatively new world of VR. The applications of remote technology are most immediately useful in the world of health tech and customer relationship management; however, they are currently being used by savvy companies in all industries, including Gear VR, Oculus Rift, and HoloLens.

4. Training

VR-assisted training can be used with new employees who are working with hazardous or expensive equipment, training with new equipment in manufacturing plants, or working in difficult-to-access or dangerous platforms (such as space or when tackling fires).

5. Gamification Applications

Gamification applications create an entirely new perspective not only for product presentation, but also for supply-side production values. Taking inspiration from the multibillion-dollar Minecraft phenomenon, gamification has improved the performance of many a sales room operation, and it is ready to improve the customer experience as well.

You can allow your customers into the venue for your performance or your product release without forcing them to leave the comfort of their homes. Imagine how those with no other outlet would feel if they were given a more transparent look into how your business works and how your products are built.

Every generation of technology thus far has attempted to bring us closer to our own intuition about the world. VR finally gives us the ability to see the world through our own eyes. We have the technology to focus and order the thoughts of our customers into patterns that don’t wane with distractions or insecurities. VR lets us see into our own imaginations — and especially our customers’ — with the utmost clarity.

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K.R. Sanjiv is the chief technology officer for Wipro, a global information technology, consulting, and outsourcing company. Sanjiv has more than 25 years of enterprise IT experience, including consulting, application development, and technology development spanning multiple industry segments and diverse technology areas. Sanjiv holds a bachelor's degree from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani.

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