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Jumping into the virtual world: the business case for VR

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by adrian leu, ceo at inition

Based on some of the latest reports delving into the potential for the VR/AR market, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re missing out on a multi-billion-dollar industry, if you’re not ‘doing’ VR.

A $108 billion market by 2021 according to some analysts, or $143.3 billion in 2020 according to others. So why are people getting so excited about the opportunity in immersive technologies?

From an experiential perspective, VR and AR content offers a level of immersion that other content just can’t compete with. Stepping into a virtual world completely envelopes you, removes other distractions and enables complete focus on the intended experience. The opportunities that opens up for organisations is potentially limitless.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean businesses need to dive into VR for the sake of it; it needs to add real value to campaigns and deliver both a business benefit and a lasting impact for your target audience.

If you’re investing in VR/AR for the right reason then both of these objectives will be achievable. Nonetheless, deciphering the best approach to take when thinking about developing a VR campaign can be daunting. Here is some guidance on the best places to start.

 

Asking the right questions

What are you looking to achieve with VR, and how does it map against your business’ vision?

Usually, interest first arises from the marketing department, investigating ways to deliver a more engaging campaign, delight its audiences and position the brand in an interesting and fresh light. Gradually, other departments like HR and training might see there’s a business benefit from adopting the technology.

Think about the basic goal of why you are using VR to meet your requirements.

What do you actually want users to experience? Is it something they couldn’t experience in any other scenario, or is it a chance to build on something already tangible and of interest to them?  How many people do you want to put through the experience. Most importantly, what do you want them to take away from the experience?

 

A virtual future

With the needs identified, it’s then important to build a roadmap into the future. There’s a huge transformational opportunity with VR. Moving from experimenting with the technology, to putting together a service offering that presents an opportunity for growth and bigger ROI. How could you integrate it with your current systems so that you offer something bigger and better in the future?

So look six months ahead. With VR at its current growth rate, the technology is likely to change dramatically in that period, so you’ll need to factor that in to any longer-term plan. You may wish to look at the initial project as a pilot or prototype for something that will see varying iterations in the future.

 

Understanding the business value

At Inition, we recognise that building the business case can be a challenge. There is often the need to educate clients before a purchase decision is made to communicate the real benefits. We’re currently exploring organising workshops for people who have heard about VR/AR but don’t know how to use the technology, to help with that journey.

We see a real need to spread information so that the whole process is transparent and all practicalities are considered. What will it offer beyond the standard campaign, what will it give back to the user, and how will it leave a lasting impression?

Once all of these questions have been carefully considered, when developed correctly, the potential for VR experiences to add new levels of engagement with a target audience are truly massive.

If you need help mapping out the future of VR in your business, or would like to delve into the topic in more detail, have a listen to my appearance on Eulogy’s recent Behind the Headlines podcast, where I discuss these challenges in more detail alongside some clever minds at Microsoft and PwC.