Businesses are increasingly finding use cases for Virtual and Augmented Reality and adopting the devices more into their day to day operations.
With customers and potential clients becoming better informed and more resilient to traditional selling techniques. Sales and marketing teams are using headsets as a perfect medium to enhance the sales and customer experience. Virtual worlds now offer the opportunity to engage in fun and unique experiences designed to provide the finishing touch to any sales pitch.
For instance, VR allows prospective buyers to take virtual tours of a house or apartment – instead of just looking at the floor plan. Sotheby's International Realty has been using VR to host open houses to sell luxury homes. Other realty companies, such as Halstead and Douglas Elliman have also rolled out their own versions of tours.
Meanwhile, a salesperson can instantly implement changes to an item they're selling. In select U.S. markets, Lowe's Home Improvement customers can design their perfect bathroom or kitchen and then, using VR, walk into the finished space and experience it — as a test drive. Powered by AR/VR application company Marxent's Visual Commerce application, Lowe's Holoroom customers work with a trained sales associate to make selections from thousands of SKUs — from paint and flooring to plumbing fixtures and appliances. Products are added to the design as virtual 3D objects. Once satisfied, the customer puts on a virtual reality headset to experience the space they've designed and make any needed refinements.
Automakers have also been using VR technologies to attract buyers, improve their time at dealerships and form a stronger emotional attachment to a product they helped create.
The Audi VR experience uses proprietary software and visualization technology from ZeroLight, a technology company based in Great Britain. Using a VR headset at the dealership, customers can configure their new Audi and experience their dream cars virtually, in real time. And, they have the opportunity to explore every detail of the vehicle as they choose options and accessories in the virtual setting of their choice — a lunar landscape, a tunnel, or the National Library in Paris.
Forbes reported that at the pilot location in London, the Audi VR experience increased new car sales by 60 percent to 70 percent, with 75 percent of sales to first time buyers and customers buying cars at 120 percent of the vehicle pricing because of an increased rate of optional feature purchases.
Incredibly, 50 percent of customers in the first year of London dealership's Audi VR experience pilot ordered vehicles without a physical test drive, basing their purchase decision upon their virtual experience. Audi offers the VR experience in select European markets and reportedly plans to offer it worldwide.
Within the construction industry, Virtual Reality has a host of benefits. VR platforms such as those provided by Iris VR enable architects to walk clients through their designs before they have been built, supplying vital opportunities for feedback and alteration.
The ability to explore construction plans in 1:1 scale through VR also bridges the gap between the real world and a designer’s imagination – letting them visualise the full scale effect of their designs. Virtual Reality portfolios have also evolved as a way for architects to showcase their work to prospective clients.
New technology makes it easy to turn paper plans into 3D computer models, and then into immersive VR simulations. Exploring building designs through VR helps potential clients to better understand an architect’s work.
Stepping aside from the declining sales figures in consumer use of virtual reality. Investors are now starting to see an increase demand in enterprise usage of AR & VR and analysts expect this trend to continue.
IDC anticipates the overall market will return to growth over the remainder of 2018 as more vendors target the commercial AR and VR markets and low-cost standalone VR headsets such as the Oculus Go gain more traction.
IDC believe that some of the future growth in demand for VR and AR headsets will be largely driven by businesses and enterprise-level applications such as employee training and remote collaboration. IDC said: “We believes the commercial market to be equally important and predict it will grow from 24 per cent of VR headset shipments in 2018 to 44.6 per cent by 2022.”
While enterprise markets have made use of professional-grade virtual reality (VR) technology for some time, the recent development of consumer-grade VR head-mounted displays (HMDs) from companies like Facebook/Oculus, HTC, and Samsung has raised the profile of VR immeasurably and, more importantly, sparked the potential for enterprise VR use cases leveraging consumer-grade VR solutions.
In addition to the availability of low-cost consumer grade VR solutions, the adoption of VR among enterprises is motivated by the opportunity for increased productivity, improved results, and efficiency through the greater level of immersion that VR applications offer compared to more conventional means.
IDC predicts that the Oculus platorm is likely to face pressure from both HTC's VIve platform and Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality platform. The latter should see strong opportunities in the commercial market as brands such as HP, Dell, and Lenovo bring their years of experience catering to enterprise buyers. Another company looking to get into the commercial space, is augmented reality start-up Magic Leap, which just recently launched its $2,3000 Magic Leap One device.
"Industry watchers are eager to see new headsets ship from the likes of Magic Leap, Microsoft, and others. But for those devices to fulfil their promise we need developers creating the next-generation of applications that will drive new experiences on both the consumer and commercial sides of the market" said Tom Mainelli, program vice president, Devices and Augmented and Virtual Reality at IDC.
Virtual Reality has had so many rebirths and new year beginnings that it resembles the myth about a cat having nine lives.
2018 was touted as the big year for virtual reality. With over four months until the end of the year and a Christmas period in the Q4, it could still be a big year. But it depends on how we are measuring what constitutes a big year for VR. If we are gauging it on a consumer level and expecting the world to be gripped like in the movie Ready Player One, then unfortunately that is not the case.
Movies such as Ready Player One, were expected to drive the public's curiosity about virtual reality. Although it was not the aim, it was hoped the movie would help drive overall sales in headsets like the recently launched Oculus Go and the various mixed reality headsets built for Windows Mixed Reality.
The Fifa world cup was also an opportunity for viewers to get involved in virtual reality on a mass scale, with the BBC allowing viewers to watch matches by downloading the VR app.
But the truth is sales figures have fallen below forecasts predicted by analyst and sales have not generated consumer home adoption that was hoped for by the standalone Facebook owned Oculus Go.
The Oculus Go, at a cost of $199, is a standalone virtual reality headset. Unlike previous headsets that require a mobile phone or a connection to a powerful PC, the Oculus Go was deemed as the first mass market headset that was affordable and can be used by all.
Released in early 2018, Oculus Go made an estimated 289,000 shipments in Q2, helping major headset sales grow close to 40% in comparison to the first quarter. But overall, major headset sales were down 50% in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, according to SuperData.
Sony's Playstation VR headset shipped an estimated 100,00 units in Q2, in comparison to three-times as much at the same period in 2017. Meanwhile, Microsoft appears to have dropped plans to introduce VR to the Xbox One X, with plans to concentrate solely on Windows Mixed Reality.
Although overall figures were down, what is clear is that consumers have adapted to the convenience and selling point of the Oculus Go. Sales of the standalone Oculus Go in its launch quarter, outstripped those of the PC-powered Oculus Rift in the entire first half of 2017.
On the other hand, Augmented Reality appears to be having a more mass appeal on mobile phones, than on HMDs (head-mounted devices). The application is an excellent tool for location-based discovery, games and retail shopping.
So far in 2018, it is appears that virtual reality and its cousin, augmented reality (in its HMD version) are still taking baby-steps. But with the introduction and cost of standalone devices, it looks like we are approaching the point where devices will be as comfortable to carry like mobile phones and super cool to wear like your favourite pair of Ray-Bans.
If the Virtual Reality industry is like a cat, then 2019 could be the year it uses its ninth life. But even if 2019 is not the breakthrough year, the time is near when the self-image of The AR & VR Industry changes reality and takes a huge leap, roaring like a lion!!
Magic Leap, the secretive US start-up, confirmed on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund would invest $400m in the developer of “mixed reality” headsets, as it races to get ahead of competing efforts from Apple, Microsoft and Facebook.
The funding from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund along with a further $62m from a group of unnamed investors takes Magic Leap’s total fundraising to $2.3bn. Founded in 2010, the Florida-based company has yet to release a single product to market.
The PIF joins Magic Leap’s other big-name backers including Google and Alibaba. The total of $462m comes as an extension to the $502m round it raised in October, led by Singapore’s Temasek, and values Magic Leap at about $6bn.
Many of the world’s leading tech companies are working on similar headsets that would blur the line between the digital and physical worlds, building on the “augmented reality” effects already found in mobile apps such as Pokémon Go and Snapchat.
“The Magic Leap team and I are happy to welcome the Public Investment Fund and the other new investors to the Magic Leap family. We look forward to having them join us on our journey to build an amazing future,” Rony Abovitz, the former surgical roboticist who founded Magic Leap, said on Wednesday, confirming an earlier report of the financing by the Financial Times.
The announcement comes as Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is expected to visit the United States later this month and unveil investment deals.
The 32-year-old heir to the Gulf kingdom’s throne has been using the $230bn state fund as a vehicle to make bold investments that are intended to help diversify the country’s economy from a reliance on oil.
The PIF took a $3.5bn stake in Uber in 2016, but appeared to be shying away from striking solo deals in technology companies after agreeing later that year to put $45bn in an investment fund managed by SoftBank, the Japanese conglomerate, which is led by its founder Masayoshi Son.
But a deal with Magic Leap, which the Financial Times revealed last month, upends that logic.
The new capital will fuel Magic Leap’s ambitious plan to “harmonise people and technology” with a so far unreleased “mixed reality” headset. Yet beyond demonstration videos, few people beyond its investors and a small group of app developers have seen its technology. The company has suffered delays in bringing its product to market, causing some industry observers to question whether it can deliver on its outsized promises.
Mr Abovitz has said that “techno-biology” will take over from smartphones and PCs as many people’s primary way of interacting with technology. He claims that using Magic Leap’s headset will provide a more natural way to use productivity software or view entertainment.
Silicon Valley executives including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella have suggested that the ability to mingle realistic digital images with the physical world will prove the next frontier in computing. However, after the limited success of virtual reality, these companies are investing heavily in the hopes of achieving a technical breakthrough that can convince mainstream consumers to wear computers on their faces.
https://www.ft.com / Arash Massoudi & Tim Bradshaw
Oculus Go, the standalone VR headset, is now available to developers eager to start developing apps for its release date in early 2018.
The new headset by makers Oculus, aims to be an affordable solution at an estimated cost of $199 for first time users of VR who do not want fork out on compatible high spec computers for the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. The Gear VR needs a Samsung phone to operate, so this rules out loyal iPhone users.
By having a standalone VR headset, Oculus aims to garner more mass users of VR headsets at a reasonable entry price, but more importantly at high quality.
You can find out more information on the Oculus Go here.
There is a new and exciting way for international property investors to carry out due diligence on commercial and off-plan properties. The re-emergence of virtual reality and its sister, augmented reality, will make the process of viewing international properties far much easier.
There will be no need to travel thousands of miles to view potential investments. This new improved medium will not only allow you to view more properties, but it will let you do this from the comfort of your own home or office.
Start-up company XGuestlist is working on creating a medium to allow investors to view properties through a VR-only platform. Although using a headset might not be the norm for some property investors, the advantages far out-weight the initial scepticism.
Virtual reality and augmented reality is a tool that will be used by professional investors and it will give them the edge over other investors who choose not to explore this technology.
Being able to find and carry out due diligence on off-plan developments will now be easier. XGuestlist will be working with developers to bring investors the latest projects to be viewed anytime and anywhere.
For home buyers, viewing off-plan properties will allow them to customise the interiors and exteriors of the property as they like. It will be much easier to build the perfect house of your dreams and make these changes in real-time.
To find and discover the latest off-plan commercial and residential properties subscribe to www.xguestlist.com
Virtual reality is changing the landscape of real estate marketing and sales. Finally, it appears the technology has reached a good standard for mainstream consumer usage. The most forward thinking brokers are taking advantage of this new medium and increasing sales locally and internationally. Those slow to embrace will be left behind.
It can be difficult for international high-net worth buyers and investors to schedule property viewing around the world due to work, kids and various other commitments. With the help of virtual reality, buyers can now view as many properties as they like and then create a short list of properties which really suit their requirements. This makes the whole process more time efficient for buyer, agents and vendors. Research has also shown that buyers are more likely to buy a property using this method.
As more people gain access to virtual reality technology at home, the marketing reach for estate agents will increase. If an agent has a 3-D virtual reality video on their website, they can also distribute that content on XGuestlist to further increase their international reach and ultimately more enquiries and sales.
At the moment XGuestlist is running a trial for specially selected estate agents to distribute their content for a 3 month period for a free!
There is also a referral program that will extend this offer to 6 months.
To find out more about the trial, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org