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Why these four companies are getting serious about VR

In Digital, Sustaining growth - 7 months ago - 4 min

Why these four companies are getting serious about VR

Virtual reality offers businesses a chance to tell new kinds of stories, create customer experiences and to go places where humankind has never gone before. Find out how four people are using the technology to grow their businesses.

It’s been a long time coming, but virtual reality (VR), and its sister technologies, augmented reality (AR) and 360-degree video, are finally marching into the world of business. With many big brands involved in VR, there’s never been a better time to get clued up on its potential for your business.

VR is already revolutionising school field trips, thanks to Google, through a mobile phone and a bit of cardboard. With the VR barriers getting lower all the time, it’s predicted that millions of VR headsets will be in use by 2020 in the US. In a report from Forrester – The Coming Wave of Virtual Reality – the research firm predicts that 52 million units of VR head-mounted displays will be in enterprise and consumer use by 2020.

So far, business use of VR has mostly been for campaign and PR purposes. But as the Forrester report shows, usage will expand as companies experiment with the technology. Here are some current uses to help get you thinking about how it might apply to your business.

Show homes that haven’t been built

VR is already shaking up the property and construction industries. Companies such as Galliard Homes are making use of VR presentations to enable buyers to make purchases on homes not yet built, in locations as yet undeveloped. The upmarket property developer recently used VR to entice off-plan buyers to its Chilterns development in London. “Photos and 3D models are increasingly being replaced with interactive virtual reality. Now, property developers can showcase a property in greater detail than ever before,” says the company’s head of digital, Amy Selcott. “Prospective buyers can walk through a property, from its entrance to the living room, bedrooms and more, just as if they were really there.”

David Gorman, managing director of virtual reality studio Project8ball, set up his business in 2014 and soon found there was a lot of demand in the construction sector. “We had no specific focus but, as it transpired, we were drawn into the property sector – that’s where we’ve seen most traction,” he says. “We are often engaged by large construction companies when it comes to the tendering and bid process.”

David sees that smaller businesses are using virtual reality in innovative ways, too. His company works with Moving Estate Agency which has just one branch. Nonetheless, it hired Project8Balll to develop an app that enables 360-degree tours of properties that doubles as an Augmented Reality presentation tool, helping win new business.

“The commercialisation of disruptive technology into and across small and medium businesses ensures greater audience engagement. Augmented and virtual reality are helping business to innovate and adapt to ever changing consumer and business needs.”

Build brand stories

Robert McFarlane, of digital agency Head, says VR will become increasingly mainstream. Head is working on projects with major brands such as Tesco, Coca-Cola and health organisations such as the NHS and Bupa. “VR is on the verge of becoming mainstream. Right now, all businesses need to be thinking now about how VR can help them, or how it could impact on their business,” he says.

Robert says that brands can find entirely new and far more compelling ways to tell stories and for consumers to experience products before they buy. Marketing is about to take a brand new turn, he suggests. “Potential applications of VR in marketing are richest where there is a story to tell. Well-executed VR transports the user somewhere they cannot go, whether on a 360 tour of a luxury home, or test-driving a customised vehicle. Marketing is aspirational and VR helps build desire” says Robert.

applications of VR in marketing are richest where there is a story to tell.

Indeed, some brands are attempting to take consumers on a real ‘down the rabbit hole’ experience, powered by VR. Whisky maker Glenfiddich has set up a 360-degree journey, where users are “plunged into the distillery” and see the inside of a mash tun and steaming copper pots, and are surrounded by thousands of casks in the warehouse. The ‘Journey into the Mind of the Malt Master’ was premiered at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and brand manager Ifan Jenkins said the journey is about demonstrating its homegrown story to a global audience. “Using cutting edge VR technology allows us to immerse whisky drinkers from all over the world in the Glenfiddich story and our Dufftown home to create a truly memorable experience. It also showcases how we’ve mastered the art of whisky making,” he says.

Find out more

You can also read about the part VR will play in the office of the future. If you are looking for support to grow your business please get in contact with one of our team on 08081 722350 or drop us an email: G.Enquiries@uk.gt.com