The much-anticipated Magic Leap One augmented reality headset finally made its (limited) retail debut almost two weeks ago today. With all of the buzz around this “leap” in AR technology, we have one question. What is the use case for our enterprise-level clients? And, was it enough of a leap?
While Magic Leap’s headset looks like a promising start, it seems pretty far away from being a viable platform for enterprise sales and marketing applications. The reported 40-degree field of view — which is the size of a credit card — is only marginally better than the Microsoft Hololens, and while a narrow field like that is useful in limited business cases like overlaying maintenance information, it prevents creating a fully immersive experience that will capture the imagination of customers and close deals.
The other concern we have is that Magic Leap glasses are fundamentally a personal device. Sixty-four percent of adults use glasses and will, therefore, need to have custom prescription inserts for the Magic Leap glasses to produce a clear picture. What that implies is that, practically speaking, the customer or prospect will need to have their own goggles. So, the platform has to be a success in the consumer space, on the scale of the mobile phone, before applications can be useful in most sales engagements. With an entry price point of $2,295, we have obvious concerns about widespread, consumer adoption.
The Magic Leap One AR headset was definitely a leap in the right direction, but a bigger leap is needed to impact the world of enterprise businesses.
We are on the cusp of an immersive experience revolution. This revolution is already having a measurable impact on B2B enterprise sales and marketing, and the future will yield even more dramatic benefits as adoption grows.
Immersive experiences fuse real and digital worlds, allowing people to visualize and interact seamlessly with real and virtual objects and environments. (Augmented reality is the technology that “places” digital objects and data into a person’s view of the real world. Virtual reality is the technology that “places” a person into a digital environment. Mixed reality is the term that has come to mean the technology that uses some aspects of both augmented reality and virtual reality.]
Where are we in this revolution? First a “reality” check – while a lot of attention is focused on these technologies, it is clear that in both the B2B and B2C marketing and sales domains, neither AR nor VR will be used as a standalone experience. These techniques will be components of, or complements to a broader landscape of customer experience solutions. Almost every AR or VR experience will, in the long term, become a “feature” of how customers experience products and solutions when they are in the consideration (buying) phase and, to a large extent, in the implementation, deployment, and support part of a solution’s lifecycle.
This prediction is already being realized as more and more companies start to use AR and VR at relevant and meaningful stages of their customer lifecycle journeys. Yes, there remains much work to do to fully realize the potential of these technologies, but early adopters are already proving how much better their prospects and customers understand the value of complex products and solutions after engaging with these experiences.
B2B sales and marketing teams have recognized what science has been teaching us for a while now, that the typical (slide) presentation is not effective in conveying the nuances of how a company’s complex solutions differ from, and are more valuable than competitive solutions. Leading global enterprises now understand that a broader set of sustained interactive customer experiences have become necessary. Because of the interactive and immersive nature of AR and VR, customers learn and remember more than twice as much as when they have listened to a sales presentation. As marketers and sales leaders shift away from presenting to customers towards delivering interactive experiences for customers, they are including AR and VR as components of this experience continuum.
This is not just theory, or academic speculation. My company, Kaon Interactive, has deployed interactive applications for 100 of the world’s most innovative global B2B enterprises, including augmented reality or virtual reality in almost every one of these applications. Innovators, such as Lenovo, Siemens Building Technology, Georgia Pacific, and many more have all asked Kaon to help develop and deploy customer-facing applications with AR and VR in sales meetings, trade shows, customer briefing centers, and even on the web.
What’s driving Kaon’s growth? Simply put, these experiences work. These applications, including AR and VR, have been proven to result in shorter sales cycles and reduced marketing expenses, because they are incredibly effective in helping prospects and customers understand the value of even the most complex solutions to their individual needs. The fact that the customer is actively engaged in navigating through the application themselves means that the most relevant message is being delivered to, and understood by each prospect in a distinctive, personalized way.
Both the software (ARKit and ARCore on standard mobile devices, for example) and the hardware (untethered VR headsets) for AR and VR are evolving rapidly, and these improvements are enabling even more use-cases for B2B sales and marketing. As with all technologies, these foundational improvements will create opportunities for companies to leverage these innovations in ways we can’t yet imagine. But we do know that the day will come (sooner than most expect) when AR and VR will be features and capabilities of most sales and marketing experiences, used naturally when and where they are appropriate and effective.
Kaon Interactive, the leading provider of 3D marketing and sales applications for global B2B brands, is poised for significant global user growth in 2018 with the recent addition of 11 major new clients. Kaon’s transformative applications allow B2B companies to more effectively communicate a product or service’s differentiated value to prospects through interactive experiences across the buyers’ journey. These solutions, in turn, help to drive increased sales and reduced marketing costs.
The most recent additions to Kaon’s client roster join a pre-eminent list of visionary Fortune 500 clients such as Cisco Systems, Dell EMC, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and GE. Each of these companies has asked Kaon to create, deploy and maintain a diverse range of advanced digital solutions that will include virtual 3D product tours, interactive storytelling and AR/VR applications. These innovative companies include:
Lenovo – manufactures enterprise PCs, tablet computers, smartphones, workstations, servers, electronic storage devices, IT management software, and smart televisions
Siemens Building Technology – provides automation technologies and services for commercial, industrial, and public buildings and infrastructures
Ricoh – multi-national imaging and electronics company
Bruker – manufacturer of scientific instruments for molecular and materials research, as well as for industrial and applied analysis
Akamai – content delivery network and cloud services provider
Georgia Pacific – one of the world’s leading makers of tissue, pulp, paper, packaging, building products and related chemicals
Mellanox – leading supplier of end-to-end InfiniBand and Ethernet interconnect solutions and services for servers and storage
Hexagon Positioning Intelligence – providing accurate positioning and correction solutions worldwide for land, air or sea
Year-over-year, Kaon Interactive has seen a double-digit percent increase in sales, a 122 percent increase in average weekly users of its interactive applications and a 37 percent increase in the number of 3D virtual product model interactions per week.
“Ever since we have expanded our platform to include Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, we have seen accelerated adoption of our technologies by global B2B companies” said Gavin Finn, CEO & President of Kaon Interactive. “The value of Kaon’s investment in technology and creative UX design has been significant for these companies. We are pleased to be working alongside the biggest names in the telecommunications, industrial and life science industries, to help them effectively communicate their unique value differentiation to customers and prospects, positively affecting their bottom lines.”
Kaon Interactive’s applications are uniquely beneficial because they are created once and can be deployed everywhere. Currently available on devices running iOS, Android, MacOS, and Windows, Kaon Interactive’s solutions are used by sales teams and marketers in nearly 40 countries.
For more information, or to contact us about adding interactive content into your marketing mix, visit www.kaon.com.