Virtual reality, augmented reality, holograms and interconnected networks of seemingly ordinary objects – stuff that could happen only in sci-fi movies? Not anymore. Marketers are embracing futuristic technologies to reach out to the right people, at the right time.
Through virtual reality and augmented reality, brands are finding new ways to tell their story. Advertising and marketing are becoming synonymous with technological art through the use of these exciting media.
So what really are VR, AR and IoT, and how are they changing the way we view the world? Let’s take a look.
Virtual reality is the creation of a simulated life or environment developed using software in a way that the user feels physical presence in an artificial setting through suspended belief. Newer virtual reality devices include a headset worn by the viewer which displays the simulated image right in front of the user’s eyes.
Marketers believe that virtual reality is on its way to becoming a key platform for content creation. With better cameras and evolving 3D technology, it will soon become a primary function for branding and marketing, in order to give users a peek into differentiated and exciting experiences. For example, Beatles legend, Paul McCartney, has already released content that allows viewers to experience his live concert just by wearing a VR headset.
This is only the beginning. Virtual reality is set to go a long way to create a world of unique and endless experiences that users can enjoy without having to budge from their seats. In the future, it may be possible for teachers to give their students a tour of the historical monuments and sites located all over the world without ever leaving the classroom. In terms of business, real estate agents, car dealers and even fashion designers may be able to showcase their products through virtual reality simulations even before the actual product is ready.
Augmented reality is slightly different from the artificial simulations created through VR headsets. AR is a digital technology that uses overlays of texts, images or videos over physical objects in real time to provide additional information or content. Augmented reality is available for use through mobile and device applications. A user holds the device in front of a page or location that is compatible with the AR technology and allows the app to search for the relevant images on the server. Once detected, the app validates the viewed content and creates an overlay depending on content that needs to be displayed. For example, magazines use augmented reality technology to showcase additional content beyond what is on a printed page. Top Gear, a global automobile magazine successfully used this technology to enable readers to view videos by scanning the magazine page through an AR mobile app.
Many innovative brands are jumping onto the AR bandwagon. Homemakers looking to redecorate their house can use an AR app to see what the new furniture will look like in their existing space. Shoppers can use similar applications to virtually try on outfits before they decide to buy it without having to stand in queues outside the trial room. The possibilities are endless and brands are leveraging innovative ways to harvest this technology to make the purchase cycle as easy and convenient as possible for consumers.
Internet of Things
Commonly known as IoT, it refers to the inter-connectivity between everyday objects or devices through wireless technology, in order to allow direct and seamless transmission of data that enables sharing and communication between various points of contact including objects, locations and even people on the internet. IoT enables consistent exchange of data over a network that can help monitor, control and improve various aspects of our daily life such as weather, traffic, fitness and even pollution. For example, there could be a technology which controls the water sprinklers in your garden to turn on automatically after monitoring real-time weather. Brands like Nike Fuelband, Fitbit and even Google Glass are using IoT concepts to work on a complex series of networks to simplify routine tasks.
Marketing has evolved and how. It goes to show that we are perched on the threshold of some very exciting times. Here are some interesting facts and statistics:
- Facebook acquired leading VR brand Occulus for $2 billion this year (Inc.com)
- The virtual reality market is predicted to grow to $7 billion by 2018 (Mike Hayes)
- The number of active users of VR is expected to reach 171 million by 2018 (Statista)
- Magazines such as Top Gear have reported that 50% of readers view extra content through AR (Bixamedia)
- Augmented reality revenues are expected to reach $600 billion by 2016 (Bixamedia)
- 103 automobiles are expected to have AR technology by 2020 (Bixamedia)
- In 2008, the number of devices connected to the IoT had surpassed the number of people on the planet (Link Labs)
- 75 billion devices are expected to be connected through the IoT by 2020 (Salesforce)
- IoT enables for smart technology that could reduce energy consumption by 70-80% (Cisco)
- Two thirds of consumers say that they plan to buy connected technology devices for their homes by 2019 (Business Insider)
Perception and reality are merging together to create new, intuitive channels, and this is where marketers stand to win. By taking strategic steps in the right direction, companies can find ways to attract users by giving them unique experiences of a lifetime.
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