How and Why Businesses Are Adopting Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

At the 2018 Consumer Electronics show, robots, voice assistants, connected cars, and even connected cities created buzz. Augmented reality and virtual reality – not so much, with the exception of augmented reality applications in the automotive industry.

But proponents of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) should take heart: the real action with AR and VR isn’t happening with consumer products, anyway. The compelling stories about AR and VR are happening on the enterprise side.

Throughout 2017, companies such as Audi, Ford, IKEA, Sephora, and Walmart shared examples of how they’re using AR and VR to run their businesses more effectively. For example:

  • Augmented reality simplifies the purchase decision for IKEA customers: IKEA released Place, an app that makes it possible for shoppers to see how IKEA furniture might look in their living spaces.

With augmented reality, users overlay simpler forms of content on to their physical spaces, usually by using their mobile phones. Niantic’s Pokémon GO and forthcoming Harry Potter games are examples. With Place, users overlay 3D models of furniture into their physical spaces to test for fit, which takes reduces the risk of buying a sofa or bookshelf before carting it home. Continue reading

Four Companies Gobbled Up Immersive Reality Investments in 2017

There is good news and bad news for the immersive reality industry, which consists of businesses that provide augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and virtual reality (VR) products. First the good news:

  • These investments occurred across 28 categories ranging from education to music, suggesting how wide-ranging immersive reality is.

Now the bad news:

  • More than half the investment came from just four major players: Improbable, Magic Leap, Niantic, and Unity. As Lucas Mateny of Tech Crunch noted, the actual deal flow for smaller immersive reality start-ups is getting smaller.

The largest category of investment was gaming, partly because of the $200 million received by Niantic, creator of AR sensation Pokémon GO the forthcoming Harry Potter AR game. The popularity of gaming apps underscores how immersive reality continues to be perceived as an entertainment phenomenon on the consumer side. But gaming accounted for only one tenth of the total investment into immersive reality for 2017, with hardware devices (such as smart glasses) and applications across many other fields accounting for the lion’s share.

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Marketing rant: keep it simple, stupid

iphone_inhandhome_c.jpg

Reporting from the Consumer Electronics Show, the January 8 Chicago Tribune breathlessly announced that new consumer gadgets are selling simplicity over technical jargon.

“Instead of focusing on megapixels, RAM and lines of resolution, productmakers are trying to remove the intimidation factor by focusing on how their gear can meet people’s needs,” reported the Tribune on its front page.

A marketing executive from Kodak was quoted as saying, “The consumer deosn’t care about how many megapixels a digital camera has. They just want to konw why their photos are blurry and what are we going to do about it.” Another executive intoned, “We will put total attention on what consumers want an need.”

Huh? So making products easy to use is front-page news? Shouldn’t ease of use be a given instead of a “marketing trend”?

Marketing rant: keep it simple, stupid

iphone_inhandhome_c.jpg

Reporting from the Consumer Electronics Show, the January 8 Chicago Tribune breathlessly announced that new consumer gadgets are selling simplicity over technical jargon.

“Instead of focusing on megapixels, RAM and lines of resolution, productmakers are trying to remove the intimidation factor by focusing on how their gear can meet people’s needs,” reported the Tribune on its front page.

A marketing executive from Kodak was quoted as saying, “The consumer deosn’t care about how many megapixels a digital camera has. They just want to konw why their photos are blurry and what are we going to do about it.” Another executive intoned, “We will put total attention on what consumers want an need.”

Huh? So making products easy to use is front-page news? Shouldn’t ease of use be a given instead of a “marketing trend”?