Written by Katie Villiers-Smith • Published 5th September 2018 • 3 minute read

Companies who nailed, and failed, AR and VR

For the few months Pokemon Go! had everyone glued to their phones trying to ‘catch em all’, AR permeated every single conversation. Snapchat, another example of AR being used in the everyday consciousness, has now led people to avoid sending selfies without a pair of bunny ears on their head. VR on other hand, has also shone a light on the companies that are ready and maybe not so much this year.

However, for the small number of companies who nailed AR & VR, bringing a new experience to their customers and completely overhauling the way we consume products for the better, there are some companies who royally failed, alienating potential customers and just looking plain stupid.

NAILED

IKEA

For some, the Saturday afternoon trip to IKEA fills them with absolute, undeniable dread. Aimlessly following the yellow brick road filling the trolley with an eclectic mix of household items constantly reassuring yourself that it is the right dimensions and it is the right colour palette.

However, IKEA have solved every shopper’s wish with the assistance of AR. Their app, IKEA Place, allows shoppers to virtually place furniture inside their home. IKEA Place scales the product in real world settings and boasts a 98% accuracy to avoid any flat packing blunders. Retailers are following suit, with predictions that AR will represent at least 25% of online retailing by 2035 globally.

Limbix

Built on two decades of research, Limbix uses VR to help patients with mental illness and for people to overcome anxieties, the fear of flying, public speaking or driving, the list goes on.

Exposure therapy is a common and effective treatment for phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder and by using VR, therapists can transport patients back to an uncomfortable reality in a safe, secure environment, providing emotional guidance every step of the way. Therapists have praised Limbix for how they’ve helped their patients face their anxieties in a controlled way.

FAILED

Facebook

Facebook is no stranger when it comes to missing the mark, and one of their most recent ventures, Facebook Spaces, is another one to add to the black book. In September 2017, Puerto Rico was hit by the worst hurricane on record that tore through family homes and ripped livelihoods apart.

Facebook then decided that it was a smart idea to use this as a backdrop for their launch of their new platform aimed at bringing people together through Virtual Reality. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s Social VR Chief, Rachel Franklin, put on their finest Oculus Rift goggles and discussed how amazing it was to ‘feel right there’ amongst the devastation.

Zuckerberg had used this opportunity to share how Facebook was supporting the Red Cross in response to one of the worst hurricanes in history, yet this was utterly irrelevant to people across the world who saw it as an exploitation of a country’s devastation for the benefit of the corporation’s revenues.

Google Glass

Google Glass was set to disrupt the eye industry, with grand hopes of redefining what it means to be ‘geek chic.’ Instead, the smart glasses fell completely flat, leaving consumers questioning why anyone would “want that thing on their face.”

Glass was released with intention of developing the glasses in line with customer feedback with a long-term mission of creating an ubiquitous computer. However, with a meagre two-hour battery life, Glass offered no clear benefit or function that ensured the product stood apart from the standard mobile phone, apart from the fact that you might walk into a lamppost whilst checking when your next train departs.

It’s clear that Google Glass wasn’t ready for the mass consumer market and this is reflective of the smart glass market. This month, however, it was announced that Glass is working with Stanford School of Medicine on a project called Superpower glass, using the smart glasses to help children with autism read facial expressions. Maybe we will witness a Google Glass comeback with true focus and purpose.

Nailing the user experience can be difficult when adopting any new technologies and many are guilty of relying on the technology to drive such experience. Instead, the focus must be on how the technology can add a new function and benefit to enhance user experience to build a stronger relationship with consumers.

Once that’s been nailed, augmented and virtual reality can catapult your brand awareness to a new reality, whether it’s using VR to launch a new product like Jaguar, or using AR to help redefine the shopping experience as IKEA have done.

If you’d like to incorporate AR or VR into your communications strategy speak to a member of our team today.