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If a technology is currently in the development phase, it will soon arrive at a point where it is at the top of the hype cycle, and this is where early adopters, the media, tech enthusiasts and companies start coming up with an enormous bandwidth of potential use cases for precisely this technology. The immersive technologies augmented, virtual and mixed reality (AR, VR and MR) have been at this point for some time now. And, there are a huge number of ideas about what can actually be implemented with these technologies – from shopping experiences, where clothing can be tried on in virtual reality, to operations, where the doctor and patient can be on different continents thanks to immersive technologies.
However: the road from idea to reality is often very long – and we are not only talking about the hurdles posed by the technical implementation. The issue here is the development of modern VR and AR applications, applications that can be seamlessly integrated into the everyday behavioural patterns of the consumers. New technologies can best be established if they are initially set up in such a way that users do not have to move out of their comfort zone. If they can continue to use the end devices and applications that they already know from their everyday lives, the hurdles for something new are the lowest – even if this means that the most advanced technology is not used for a use case.
There is still a long way to go before VR and AR can be used as independent, autonomous systems. At the moment the hurdles are simply too high, starting with the price, hardware requirements, size and weight and ultimately the wiring, to name just a few. You should therefore concentrate on creating added value with the available resources. A good approach can be to add immersive experiences to digital content, for example, to give the customer the opportunity to try on shoes virtually or to insert furniture into their living room via augmented reality. This means that before making a purchase, consumers can, for example, see whether a pair of shoes matches the desired style or whether an item of furniture has the right size and matches the existing furnishings. It is therefore important to first identify the needs of the user and to focus on the question of what added value can be offered to a customer with a VR or AR application – or to put it simply: always ask yourself what you want to achieve with an application.
The application must be developed close to the target group in order to be able to create meaningful benefits. For example, different age groups have different affinities to technologies, and even within one age group, technology affinity can vary greatly.
The best application with many features is useless if the target group cannot understand and operate it due to an interface that is too complex or too many unclear functions. This only leads to frustration and resignation. This not only results in depreciation of the technology and the application itself, as it may also result in a bad after taste when it comes to the product or brand.
Infinity Reply develops customised solutions that address customer needs, implement them, and ultimately simplify purchasing decisions. Infinity Reply is a professional services company specialising in innovative XR solutions and is part of the Reply Group. Infinity Reply acts independently of technologies and industries and offers its clients specific XR solutions optimised for the relevant use case and the relevant framework conditions. The portfolio includes consultancy, design and development, content production and roll-out and support of XR solutions.