In the arc of every modern technology’s development, a great deal of attention is generally initially focused on the technology itself. When, for example, artificial intelligence (AI) was emerging as a computational and cognitive force, researchers and university professors were constantly in the media explaining how neural networks and machine learning worked, and how this technology (and many other forms of AI) differed from traditional computer programs.
Today, just a few years later, AI systems are embedded in many of the products that companies and consumers use regularly. Clearly, we have adopted AI technology and integrated it into our daily lives.
This is also the case with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), two distinct but related technologies that have become popular in the business and consumer press.
AR is the ability to insert digital objects into a camera view of the real world, based on information about the scene that is within the camera’s view. While Pokémon Go is the most commonly known consumer use of this kind of technology, far more sophisticated AR applications offer great promise for all kinds of applications.
VR is based on the diametrically opposite concept: It immerses real people inside a fictional digital, or virtual, space. Many games now use VR to make the experience even more realistic than someone has playing the game on a computer, TV screen or tablet. Just as with AR, there are many potential applications of VR that go well beyond games.
Why will AR and VR be important for businesses of all kinds? Well, for every company, building engagement with customers is a key element of their ability to develop long-lasting and lucrative relationships. And at our company, we have identified three primary factors that contribute to successful engagement strategies:
Multi-sensory engagement — getting customers involved in learning about, and using, products in a way that is active. Touch, sight, audio and even smell are all important senses to employ when engaging with customers;
Intellectual engagement — sharing relevant and useful information with customers so that they have a meaningful experience learning about and using the company’s products and solutions; and
Emotional connections — with B2B purchases, research has shown that building an emotional connection is at least as equally important as creating a logical case for people to buy. Certainly, continuing to develop emotional connections post-purchase leads to loyal…