Virtual Reality: The Future of Marketing

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality: The Future of Marketing
Image of User Demonstratiing Virtual Reality Glasses (VR) - Field 1 Post Digital Marketing Services

What is Virtual Reality?

The phrase “virtual reality” gets thrown around in the technology sphere quite frequently, but what is virtual reality? While the idea of creating a simulation of our own existence has been around since Renaissance times, virtual reality (VR) today refers to the use of computer technology to create a simulated experience. These simulations are meant to mirror the real world or give users the sensory experience of performing extraordinary abilities they would not do in real life.

The application of this technology is widespread and has been used for the consumption of video media, playing video games, educational purposes and enhanced consumer experiences. VR can be used to train medical and military personnel, provide apartment-seekers with a 360 degree tour of their new home before renting, or simply provide entertainment for all ages. Virtual reality can be separated into two distinct categories: augmented reality and mixed reality, which will be discussed below.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is a form of VR that operates by superimposing computer-generated images onto real world scenarios. Augmented reality can operate within real-world locations and operate under the same laws of physics that we experience in our lives. This technology is not only limited to vision, as some technology subjects the user to auditory, haptic, olfactory and somatosensory sensations as well. Augmented reality has already been used for over a decade in several scenarios.

The United States Military utilizes augmented reality to train soldiers as well as pilots, where trainees can experience real-life scenarios of danger without the consequences. Augmented reality is also used in video game simulations for entertainment purposes, where images are delivered through a visual headset.

Image of Lenses Inside a Pair of Virtual Reality Glasses - Field 1 Post Digital Marketing Services
Image of Lenses Inside a Pair of Virtual Reality Glasses - Field 1 Post Digital Marketing Services

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is a form of VR that operates by superimposing computer-generated images onto real world scenarios. Augmented reality can operate within real-world locations and operate under the same laws of physics that we experience in our lives. This technology is not only limited to vision, as some technology subjects the user to auditory, haptic, olfactory and somatosensory sensations as well. Augmented reality has already been used for over a decade in several scenarios.

The United States Military utilizes augmented reality to train soldiers as well as pilots, where trainees can experience real-life scenarios of danger without the consequences. Augmented reality is also used in video game simulations for entertainment purposes, where images are delivered through a visual headset.

Mixed Reality

Mixed reality operates slightly differently than augmented reality, mixing aspects of the real and digital world in a simulated environment. With augmented reality, images are only imposed on whatever the user is looking at and are bound to that particular angle. In mixed reality, objects can be seen from a number of different angles and can interact with other objects in their environment in a way far superior to augmented reality. In mixed reality, users can throw a ball at the wall and watch it bounce back to their hand.

These interactions with the world around you in mixed reality take place in real time and can lead to a plethora of applications. For example, a high-end furniture retailer could offer a mixed reality service to aid in buying their furniture. Using this technology, a buyer could evaluate their home and see how couches, chairs or tables look when placed in the home. Mixed reality can provide a unique buying experience and revolutionize the buying experience.

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Virtual Reality in Marketing

Why is virtual reality important to the future of marketing? Virtual reality is the set of advances in marketing, and advertisers are beginning to take full advantage of the technology. By enabling consumers to view products in a more immersive environment, companies can more effectively showcase their products to all customers, online and in person. Digital marketing has been surging in the past three decades with the advent of mobile phones and advances in connective technology, but virtual reality truly changes the game. In marketing, marketers employ a “storytelling strategy” to show a customer why their product will improve certain aspects of their lives. Through virtual reality marketing, words have now become an immersive, sensory experience with the product prior to buying.

As consumers, we all wish that we could ensure the product we are buying is exactly what we need. Virtual reality allows for both consumers and sellers to provide the most complete buying experience for all. For example, have you ever wondered how a specific coffee table will mesh with the rest of your furniture? Virtual reality could create an accurate simulation of your living room, complete with your current furniture, and then insert the selected coffee table and allow you to interact with the space. Evaluate the size, shape, placement and general aesthetic prior to buying. These virtual reality business practices will make for happier consumers and producers alike.

Are You Ready for Virtual Reality?

Peak application of virtual reality has been envisioned in countless science fiction books and movies, imagining carbon copy worlds and hyper realistic experiences. While VR is not quite that advanced, it certainly is a striking example of our technological advancement. Being able to experience dangerous mountain climbs or simulate firefights while sitting in a dark room opens us to a world of possibilities. Mixed reality systems currently offer a certain degree of realism, but today’s innovators are sure to develop new and better systems as research continues.

In the marketing and business sphere, advertisers are drooling at the endless applications of this technology. While VR will certainly benefit advertisers and allow them to sell more products, it will also allow consumers to make more informed decisions before buying products. VR has the unique opportunity to improve on our shopping experience and provide an in-store feel from miles away from an actual location.

While VR is still fairly expensive and scarcely implemented, more and more industries are adopting the technology. Soon, you could expect to see a VR headset in your local furniture store, car dealership or realtor’s office. Efficiency is the name of the game in advertising today, and technological innovation continues to revolutionize the buying experience.