It’s true the expense of making augmented and virtual reality an everyday part of most marketing strategies has been prohibitive for small to medium-sized businesses in the past, but that may not be the case for much longer.
Thanks to the tech giants, like Apple and Microsoft, AR and its cousin, VR could become more viable in 2019 and beyond to enhance the way we do business and immerse our customers in an experience they won’t soon forget.
Accessible AR Development Apps
Apple has introduced ARKit, which allows businesses to develop an AR setting in their current app development.
The applications of this app are being touted as the biggest thing to hit AR and VR… ever.
In the past, virtual worlds overlaying our existing reality have been amazing, but there aren’t very many practical uses. Most average consumers aren’t looking to completely change their world; they simply want to resolve the pain points within their existing setting. If an AR app can help them order dinner by showing their options on the virtual plate on their table, or use their existing smartphone camera to take measurements of their living room for an order of new carpet, such uses have many more practical applications than a space battle overtaking their backyard (even if a space battle is a lot more fun than replacing carpet).
It’s called the Inductive Theory of Platform Development: disruptive technologies don’t start big and drip down into product lines.
Consumer success begins with small victories to solve everyday problems.
The iPhone began as an mp3 player, which then evolved into iTunes, then internet access paired with voice calling and text messaging, and finally brought about the App Store.
It’s this small start with ARKit that is expected to provide average entrepreneurs the opportunity to bring AR into the mainstream.
How Can My Small Business Incorporate AR and VR?
Here’s the fun part. By starting small, business owners have the chance to imagine how AR and VR can enhance their marketing strategies.
Landscape owners can develop apps that will take measurements of a yard, and show the consumer through a virtual landscape what possibilities they have in fencing, vegetation, and even simple maintenance packages. Virtually any designer, from clothing and beauty industries to home furnishings, car manufacturers, and beyond can connect with consumers in a way not previously possible.
Even accessibility can be improved. AR and VR technology can put a virtual person in the room with a patient who’s hearing impaired to sign for them as their doctor speaks. Or interpreters can bridge the language barrier by translating for important conversations. The potential of this particular use of AR and VR alone has far reaching possibilities.
IKEA solves the problem of whether or not an item of furniture will fit in your apartment or look good with your décor by providing an app that takes measurements and lets you choose any item from their catalog to try before you buy. And they used ARKit to create their app, so now, all you need is a smartphone and you can shop to your heart’s content.
Pepsi wanted to give people an amazing moment in their day, so they took over a London bus stop kiosk and enhanced it to remind people that life is full of surprises, and Pepsi Max is one of them. The first few commuters weren’t sure what they were seeing when… well, see for yourself.
There are also potential life-saving benefits of AR and VR. The Weather Channel has begun illustrating with augmented reality the dangers of severe weather, including this segment on the threat posed by Hurricane Florence to the Carolina coasts in September 2018. They have a few of these presentations, including the effects of a tornado and how snow on the roads changes driving conditions. But the Hurricane Florence segment is particularly gripping. Watch:
What the Future Holds
There are even rumors of AR glasses in the works, so we can overlay digital features on our existing worlds. Sounds too much like an episode of Altered Carbon on Netflix? Who knows?
By putting apps like ARKit, and Google’s ARCore, to use and incorporating AR and VR into everyday products and services, like those found on the @MadeWithARKit Twitter feed, many business owners can bypass the expensive headset gear of the past and put the benefits of AR and VR in the palms of their consumers’ hands through a device most of us already own: our smartphones.