The birth of a spectacular reality.
Imagine you want to buy a TV but are low on budget. Confused, you visit a TV showroom aiming to buy a good affordable TV.
The moment you enter, you find yourself surrounded by hundreds of TVs of different shapes and sizes. You approach a salesperson for some guidance. Unfortunately, he appears to be as confused as you.
Suddenly, an artificial voice calls your name and directs you to a particular section of budget-friendly TVs. It also narrates the core features of each TV model and displays them in 3D over screens. After thoroughly understanding all the functionalities and analyzing the cost, you pick the best-suited one for yourself.
What you just witnessed was an immersive customer experience.
Immersive experience makes a customer step into an augmented universe where imagination comes to life. It is a future-proof way to interact in person with anyone you know, regardless of where they are at present.
For businesses, immersive experience may take various forms through multiple degrees of customer immersion. For example, AR visualization can create 3D catalogs and interactive demos of a product to make it visually appealing to customers.
What is an immersive experience?
A truly immersive experience is an amalgamation of various technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality, computer vision, and artificial intelligence. It combines real and virtual elements of the world for wireless, 3D interaction. It also transports users to a parallel realm to view content that is, superficial.
Humans are blessed with the power to observe and decipher their surroundings. For example, we can identify books, mountains, houses, etc. through our visual intelligence. Immersive technology takes our intelligence up a level and merges it with artificial intelligence to create virtual elements. It also represents high product promotion standards for companies aspiring to grow fast.
Let’s now see how companies put this gift of technology to work:
How does immersive experience work?
Currently, smartphones or specialized headsets are the most popular hardware used to enjoy immersive content. On the software side, you can use a web application or a native mobile, desktop, or console app. The web application is a more universal solution, as it’s able to run across different devices.
To create an immersive experience, technology meets major human senses of sight, touch, and smell and creates a lookalike reality for users to experience.
Devices like a VR headset, intelligent wearables, head-mounted devices (HMD), or haptic devices like gloves or controllers work well to create a sense of immersion. Examples include Oculus Rift, Microsoft Hololens, Samsung Gear VR, and HTC Vive, among many others.
Different kinds of immersions
Immersions are a scientific twist on how we perceive the world naturally. It adds a dash of creativity to highly agile technologies to create a user-friendly space that keeps us hooked to our current activity.
Let’s discuss different kinds of immersions that can be created:
Also known as the sense of touch, tactical immersion happens when a user literally touches an object. It measures, identifies, and transfers the message signals between the user and the surface of a real-life object through skin contact.
Tactical immersion makes you feel an artificial vibration that uniquely amplifies your experience. While it hasn’t been widely explored yet in the commercial sector, it is one of the most effective forms of immersion. It can be great in the “we live in a future” kind of way, but it could also shape our present interactions.
Sight immersion is a way to integrate VR or AR to explain a product’s features. Visual experiences like these are a strong engagement point and create a sense of permanent brand recall in the customer’s mind. If you’ve ever been to a digital art museum, the charm of sight immersion might never let you leave it.
Several art exhibits across the U.S, like Area 15 in Las Vegas and the Van Gogh museum in Washington, D.C., showcase large-scale virtual art installations and holographic arts that immerse visitors into a tech-driven creative space.
Audiences still believe in storytelling. When a content marketing strategy for XYZ product tells a compelling origin story, it increases its purchase potential. Narrative or hearable immersion lets viewers dive deeper into a product through lifelike sound and creative visuals.
Immersive theatres work by this technique. They provide an unreal, but more-than-real experience by making audiences the protagonist. You can interact with the cast, deliver dialogues, and change the climax as you choose your own adventure.
This article will cover the more impactful possibilities of cooperation between business and immersive tech. But first, let’s review the different benefits of immersive experiences.
How do immersive experiences benefit businesses?
Creating intelligent interactive experiences works wonders for growing your business’ consumer base. Investing in technology fads like glossy e-brochures or over-the-top data irrigation can make you run into losses. Immersive experiences help gain 360° coverage of your product and promote it in a way people explore all its features visually.
It is a game-changing trend that every company will hop on to in the future.
While working with immersive technology, it’s crucial to be vocal as a human touchpoint and monitor the backend systems responsible for the smooth functioning of product exhibition. Here are some benefits of immersive experiences that technologically transform a business:
- It creates an “undisturbed” flow of interaction between consumer and product.
- It helps shift gears by putting “customer” at the center of the business process.
- It improves customer information retention by aligning their creative instincts with product slideshows.
- It promotes a distraction-free environment to connect with virtual reality cues and amplify the sense of comfort and originality.
- AI systems provide the next course of action for the user to follow, like registering for a visual demo or final purchase. AI coupling reduces manual intervention.
- Overlaying virtual content over real-world counterparts replicates real-life scenarios and provides self-assist solutions for customers.
- It provides multilingual support for people speaking different languages for ease of access.
- You can trigger contextual, event-based actions on multiple channels like email, SMS, and WhatsApp to ensure numerous customer touchpoints.
of customers say that they feel an emotional connection to the brands they buy from the most.
Types of customer immersive experiences
Flashing highly modern tech gadgets isn’t the only way of creating an “out-of-the-box” experience for consumers. You may have an illustrious team of engineers and marketers at work for your product, but still, end up countering your consumer practices.
Creating an immersive experience should take your customers to a higher state of mind, where they can be 100% percent sure of your product value. It’s about creating an impeccable “start-to-finish” journey of your brand that cannot be interrupted at any stage of action.
Keep on reading about the latest technological innovations to rein in your business competition and leave your customers feeling happy, energized, and satisfied:
360° content helps us integrate two or more videos in a dome-like space that has been shot from all possible angles, with 2D instructional content overlaid on top of them. Marketers and advertisers can use it to walk customers through a detailed range of product features and benefits. Rather than focusing on creating a different reality, users can create a wide-eyed version of the product in the real world.
In the travel and tourism industry, 360° content lays the groundwork for travelers to pre-visit a particular destination. From showing skylines to providing a birds-eye view
of a city, it creates a completely “submerged” experience. All of this is enough for wanderlust to hit the road without a second thought!
A digital twin is a “carbon-copy” representation of a real-life component, structure, or process. A digital twin machine is updated using real-time tracking data and fuelled by 3D-modeling techniques to interact actively with our environment.
It’s a digital alternative to a real-life asset and is built with robust machine learning and automation techniques. Digital twins are ideal for quality assurance tasks and providing quick insights into a product anytime, anywhere for faster decision making.
A great example can be satellites. Digital twins of satellites help foresee potential dangers, fuel shortage, engine power, steering power, and other parameters of any spacecraft mission.
Building a digital twin helps:
- Visualize defects in the real-time performance of pieces of equipment.
- Predict future use cases of the product with advanced analytics
- Troubleshooting far-away machinery
- Create a systems-of-systems thread to collect consumer data.
Source: Geospatial World
Virtual Reality is a complete turnaround of reality. It immerses a user in a virtual environment with overlays of controls like GPU, responsiveness, sound, or motion smoothing, allowing them to interact through their digital avatars.
Imagine sending your digital avatar to attend a meeting in place of yourself. Your avatar participates in the conference in your company’s developed metaverse, jots down the minutes, and reports back to you once the session is over.
At McLaren, car designers use VR software to design schematic car models. VR creates a live hologram of the car, which designers can alter to make design changes. Volvo engineers also use VR software to simulate drive trials and customize designs accordingly.
Augmented reality means enhancing users’ real-world perception through virtual overlays. It extracts hidden features of real-world objects through object recognition and showcases informative content over it. Although in its infancy, AR has the potential to upend the way people communicate.
With the help of a camera, an AR device, and a smartphone, you can recreate a different reality for your customers to enter, play around with, and shop in. Adding AR to the customer spectrum adds a whole new dimension to the shopping experience, which single-handedly lifts the purchasability of a particular product.
AR has also marked a successful milestone in medicine. Radiology departments incorporate AR technology during pathological tests to study medical procedures and evaluations. By virtually mapping the X-ray data of a patient, radiologists can identify abnormalities of bones and classify the disease more quickly than before.
Mixed reality (MR) tries to bind together AR and VR into an enhanced version of AR. Along with adding digital overlays of information, it develops virtual characters for the real world. Its goal is to create a deeper sense of immersion for the user than AR alone does.
Sometimes, MR is also known as augmented reality 2.0 as the counterparts of the virtual world interact with real-world objects in real-time, thus giving a parallax effect. People can live, work, trek, shop, and survive more realistically in an MR world than in VR, as it keeps them connected to their roots. Mixed reality is also known as hybrid reality.
Did you know? tagSpace, an Australian tech company, has launched a new MR platform for users to create, share, and monetize their experiences using blockchain technology, all with powerful drag and drop – no coding experience required. It will also include virtual digital billboards for creators and brands.
Extended Reality (XR) is an umbrella term for every immersive technology that exists. It includes augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality, digital twins, and other immersive learning technologies. This technology is a natural extension of reality by adding digital counterparts in the form of inscriptions, videos, or animations.
Extended reality is apt to use in employee training programs as it eliminates the hassle of extra training staff and costs to train employees.
Its activation makes you walk through a live hologram of a product and understand its features. Accenture uses full-scale XR to create highly personalized experiences for its clients through sight, touch, and sound.
Tip: You can create a VR experience in two ways for employee training purposes
- 360° VR: Places learners in a fixed position and walks them through pre-recorded sessions with 3D information popups
- Full VR: Suspends the learner in a metaverse for high-level interactions with freedom of movement.
Significance of immersive experience
People learn through experiences. For businesses looking to expand in the online market, uplifting customer experience with immersion is a ticket to success.
Immersive experiences amplify brand visibility by highlighting product features for consumers in their own personal spaces.
If you plan to open a makeup business, your prime focus should be twofold; creating a fantastic product and choosing the right way to pitch its benefits to retailers. Image recognition software identifies and labels feature data and elevates your product’s overall look and feel.
This helps you stand out as a product owner and cements the vendor’s trust in your business pitch to strike a successful deal.
Industry use cases for immersive experience
There are several applications of immersive experiences in the commercial sector, ranging from defense to healthcare to gaming to architecture and construction.
Typically, companies use webhook automation or ERP systems to manage and retrieve data from databases. These processes get a bit complex and technical. With the help of an AR headset, data visualization can be easier to understand. With its help, a user sees only the most critical bits of data. The headset shows all the details when the user looks at specific parts of the data report.
Here are some of the many use cases of immersive experiences that have entered the spotlight:
In the e-commerce sector, companies manufacture their products with built-in QR codes. When a user scans the code, virtual popups explain all the necessary steps to successfully install and use the products in a home setting, all from the shopping floor.
In addition to this, using a VR headset brings users into a place where everything works in compliance with this product. Customers can explore every part and compare its features with other products in real-time on social media.
In the military, VR technology can create actual reconnaissance scenarios and test the power of the army to face them. Through a VR headset, soldiers can find themselves on a virtual battlefield with a virtual opposition charging at them!
The headsets’ sensors enable precise measurement of reaction times and other important safety factors. VR also ensures a physically safe environment for army regiments to practice combat or surgical strike operations.
Immersive experiences in mining allow an entire team of mining operators, workers, and managers to make the process safe and efficient. Through VR, workers can practice their mining skills in virtual scenarios or create replicas of mine sites without risking their lives.
It also gives them a better understanding of what is expected and how to manage disastrous situations. You might say that immersive technology is a gold mine in itself!
Immersive technology was coined in the aviation sector. It allows flight engineers and ground handlers to identify, probe, and analyze situational outcomes before an aircraft takes off. It helps the crew run their aircraft maintenance and engineering checks from a remote location.
With VR simulation, the aircraft crew can work in high-fidelity environments and practice extreme situations of the aircraft like birdstrike, flameout, stalling, nose dives, etc. AR/VR headsets also put teams on airside and allow them to interact with aircraft holograms to conduct visual inspections or cargo inspections.
Architecture and design
VR grants us the ability to explore building designs on a 1:1 scale. Things get even better when we add mixed and augmented reality. These technologies surround designers with 3D prototypes, allowing them to brainstorm design edits virtually.
Designers use mixed reality to create 3D renders of products and test them in real life. Getting a birds-eye view of the product before its development makes the design process a smooth slope.
Sometimes, designers combine traditional 2D CAD applications with VR tools to perfect their designs. Examples include softwares like V-Ray or SketchUp.
Immersive tourism, also known as experiential tourism, takes a traveler on a virtual journey to experience scenic attractions, new culture, and a new set of feelings.
360-degree content and virtual reality combinedly provide customers with the option to try before they go somewhere. It allows them to check out the destinations they want to visit to make sure that’s the right choice. Later, they can “walk around” the hotel room they intend to book to see if it’s to their taste.
An augmented reality HMD headset can serve as a personal tour guide, available to you at all times. It can provide additional information in real-time, making sightseeing easier and more informative. It’ll also help with finding cafes, restaurants, hotels, inns, and landmarks that have the highest user reviews
Supply chain and logistics
VR is known to reduce the costs associated with logistics and trucking by providing virtual-navigation routes for the pickup of goods! This increases worker efficiency and expedites the logistics process.
MR devices can support supply chain professionals by superimposing routes over truck windshields. AR devices can also streamline the production cycles by speeding up setup time between machines and notifying teams when supplies perish.
Source: Strategic systems
Immersive experience has various use cases in the entertainment sector.
During the initial lockdown for COVID-19, many in-person events were conducted virtually using immersive technology that compensated for the lack of physical presence.
Immersive technology brings old historical anecdotes to life through virtual installations. Just like 3D projectors, immersive devices can help you experience a concert or movie as if you are in it through “digital factories” or “experience studios”.
Commercial businesses using immersive experience right now:
- DHL logistic center: Integrated AR smart glasses in the packing process to reduce lookup time, optimize navigational routes, and guide the worker to the correct location.
- BMW: AR headsets for workstation planning that mitigates manual labor, assesses processes, and accelerates the training of engine units.
- Adidas: Virtual employee training using 360° content to prepare their employees for real-life situations. The training includes a Black Friday sale simulation.
- Autodesk Revit Live and Iris VR: Providing immersive architectural and building visualizations to let clients explore buildings before the construction phase.
- Virtualitics: Creating immersive, ready-to-use AI for businesses to make smarter business decisions.
These games are created using a video engine, 3D graphics, head-mounted devices (HMD), and motion controllers like PlayStation DualShock to control virtual characters’ movement.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City or Fallout are key examples of such immersive games that create highly engaging user experiences.
Examples of VR immersive gaming
You can download and play these VR games through Google Cardboard.
- Cosmos VR: A guided journey through the universe. It helps visit different galaxies and understand space-time singularity.
- Minos Starfighter VR: An arcade space shooter game with an interactive user interface. The movements can be controlled using a Bluetooth joystick or a head-mounted display (HMD).
- Bad Dream VR: A scary game that creates an illusion of an eerie haunted mansion with you facing grim creatures from the paranormal world.
Examples of AR immersive gaming
Here are a few examples of AR immersive games that have been adopted successfully across the world:
- Pokémon GO: In this game, you can go anywhere and catch virtual Pokémons through your smartphone’s camera. Pokemon are located in interesting places and are weather-dependent. If it’s sunny, you’ll find a pocket-sized Pikachu; if it is snowy, you can catch a glimpse of Bulbapedia.
- Jurassic World Alive: A paleontologist’s favorite, this game has been developed for learning purposes. It helps you search the DNA of several species of dinosaurs with geolocation tracking and collect fossils. It is a great way to learn about dinosaurs.
- Knightfall AR: In this AR experience designed by Milkroom entertainment, knights of the holy city of Acre set about on a mission to shoot the invaders and protect the Holy Grail, Christianity’s most prized relic.
Did you know? HTC Vive is the world’s first AI-driven personalized spatial audio software for all headsets and PC games. It can turn any headset into a full-fledged sound system in minutes!
Real estate industry
Immersive technology allows real estate agents to create unique experiences during virtual showings. Potential buyers check out properties remotely, at a time that’s convenient for them, without the help of a real estate agent. During in-person showings, a mixed reality headset can help by providing additional information about the property, decoration options, or furnishing suggestions.
Challenges of immersive experiences
Besides technological shortcomings, primary health and safety factors associated with immersive experiences discourage their use in the broader community. Here are some other challenges posed by immersive technologies that roadblock its success streak:
- As applications are monitored automatically, third-party users can hack into any company’s server and extract crucial financial information about a company.
- Immersive experiences can result in daylight crimes like harassment or stalking and data leakage of public figures.
- Immersive experience can reduce the power of cognitive concentration that comes naturally to humans. It can fully replace a user’s sensory connection to physical space, thus losing touch with reality.
- Immersive experiences are mostly fueled by a 5G internet connection which is not available worldwide. Without it, users can’t activate specific applications.
- The price of immersive devices continues to remain exorbitant. A lack of digital knowledge to operate these devices can further marginalize the use of AR/VR in different demographics.
A curveball of reality and imagination
We live in a golden age where technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and green computing have made everyone a content creator.
Immersive experiences will be a futuristic tool to provide a level playing field for businesses to emerge as market leaders. Combining emotion with cutting-edge technology can best serve customers and set industry benchmarks for them to scale unimaginable milestones!
Explore the best VR content management system today to store your web resources in a centralized place and create quality 3D content!