VR and AR Are Ready for The Enterprise
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.
The revolution is already underway – experience it for yourself.