Reality technologies are helping brands make emotional connections with consumers through sight, sound & motion. As the technologies evolve, customer experiences are changing, and people are starting to see themselves immersed in the brand experience itself. These technologies, which fully immerse users in artificial environments and overlay digital objects on the real world can be used for a multitude of applications. We’ve picked out ten inspiring examples of how reality technologies are being used in businesses today:
PepsiCo used augmented reality (AR) to shock commuters at a bus shelter in London. The digital 6-sheet poster within the busy shelter was converted into an AR screen. The unbelievable bus shelter showed a live feed of the road ahead to give the illusion of a glass screen. This was then overlaid with prowling tigers, meteor crashes and an alien tentacle grabbing people from the street. The stunt tied in beautifully with Pepsi’s campaign for zero taste, no sugar, unbelievable.
Merrell used virtual reality (VR) to launch a new model of its trekking shoes. The Trailscape experience placed users on a dangerous mountain trek walking across a specially constructed installation. With the help of a VR headset, users were immersed in a 4D motion-tracked hiking adventure across steep mountain slopes. The experience married perfectly with the brand and its new product, giving its adrenaline-fuelled customers a multi-sensory experience, a motivation to buy the footwear and to get outside and do it for real.
Smart glasses company, ODG, has designed a way for pilots to be able to regain control in the event of fire or smoke in the cockpit. The smart glasses are incorporated within an oxygen mask and use an Android-driven device to mirror the flight controls. With the controls within the mask, the pilot is able to keep the plane on track even when the controls, terrain and runway are obscured. Inflight smoke is a leading cause of emergency delays and landings and, although currently in the testing stage, the use of AR technology could save countless lives.
AcuVein uses projection-based AR to take the guesswork out of finding a vein. The technology uses a combination of laser-based scanning, processing and digital projection. First, the handheld device is used to scan the patient’s veins using infrared light. Then, the device enables users to view a virtual real-time image of the underlying vasculature. The company boasts that veins are 3.5 times more likely to be found first time with a 45% reduction in the need to call for assistance. The technology improves both patient treatment quality and the cost of care.
Ikea uses AR in its Place app to let customers try before they buy. The app uses the user’s camera to place true-to-scale 3D furniture in their home. The solution of virtually displaying furniture enables customers to check whether furniture fits the space they have, matches the decor and they can even walk around and interact with it. With over 2000 items to choose from the app offers a great customer experience and an enhanced purchasing process.
In a bid to bring education to its Happy Meals, McDonald’s is trialling VR technology in Sweden. The mission is to ensure the famous box remains relevant as technology evolves. The solution is, in fact, a simple one. The VR reader is made from the ordinary Happy Meal box just with a few folds. The user then slides in their phone and plays the related VR games.. The tool increases engagement, promotes repurposing a disposable item, and the games have the power to educate children.
King’s College in London has a whole laboratory dedicated to the use of virtual reality. Their work aims to better understand the onset and to improve assessment and treatment of mental health problems. Immersive VR technology enables clinicians to assess emotions and behaviour in an ecologically valid environment. The technology has mainly been used in assessment to date, but plans are in place for assisted therapy packages to be used in clinical settings.
In partnership with Perfect Corp, loreal are changing the way that consumers discover beauty products. Research showed that consumers in the beauty industry want to be able to test products before buying. The YouCam Makeup app hosts 64 virtual beauty looks each of which incorporates L’Oréal Paris products that are able to be purchased through the app. The integration of trial with purchase creates a seamless customer experience with AR taking online shopping to the next level.
Through a lightweight headset, HoloLens technology is being used to help architects and engineers collaborate on complex building projects. The technology is coupled with networking systems and software from Trimble. Trimble’s mixed-reality solutions allow complex models to be fed into the headset. On wearing the headset, users in remote locations can see 3D models as holograms and work together to make decisions and solve problems. The technology has the potential to accelerate the engineering design process by working collaboratively and gaining clarity early on.
MARTA uses augmented reality to provide an innovative service support tool. Today’s vehicles are becoming increasingly complex, and service employees need more support to work with their intricate functions. The system uses a tablet to overlay virtual parts on top of real ones in three dimensions. Digital guidelines are included, and parts are labelled with clear instructions. Users are able to identify and install parts more quickly and accurately, saving Volkswagen time and money.
The possibilities for reality technologies are endless. With the right applications, they are able to improve customer experience across all industries. There is an opportunity for businesses to cut costs, bring new products to market, improve collaboration and visualize scenarios in a way they never could before.