A revolution is coming… again… in the form of Web 3.0. So what is this…
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The future is “always-on, go-everywhere mixed reality”, according to Michael Abrash, chief scientist at Facebook’s Oculus.
This requires a different focus from where we are now, which is stuck in the middle of a digital obsession. We need to fuse the experience of the online and offline worlds together.
There is currently a disconnection between what consumers want and what brands think they want when creating experiences.
IBM recently asked consumers what mattered most to them when they engage with brands. It should take “less time” and be “more convenient”, they replied. In the same study, brands were asked the same question on behalf of their customers. They said their customers were “digitally savvy” and wanted “more control” – a rather different response that assumes technology is more important than utility.
Too often, digital transformation “hero stories” focus on examples where brands are shifting offline sales into online by enabling eCommerce, investing more of their advertising budget in digital channels or having a social media customer service strategy. This is digital maturity, not digital transformation.
In fact, transformation shouldn’t even be focused on digital. True transformation is about co-ordinating around the customer because they live both online and offline.
The IBM study highlights a critical point. Consumers just want their lives to be easier and they want their problems solved. But one of the biggest problems that consumers face is how difficult it is for them to live in a world where existing technology, brands and companies are forcing their offline and online worlds apart.
Truly transformational brands help to combine these worlds and use technology such as augmented reality as a means to true customer centricity.
Combining online and offline
There is a lot of talk that my generation – the under-30s – only want to exist digitally. But the fact is we still need and want to live in the offline world. We just don’t want the same experiences as the generations before us. We have grown up with information and convenience at our fingertips and, as such, like our experiences to be more convenient and richer in information.
A study by Accenture showed that the majority of Generation Z still prefer to visit physical stores to make our purchases. The difference is that we are turning these visits into multimedia, multichannel events thanks to the ever-present smartphone.
Currently, in the quest for a richer and more enhanced experience, the user is having an awkward time – caught in a painful collision between online and offline. The customer journey requires a multitude of apps – Google for price comparison, WhatsApp for a friend’s opinion, a banking app to check you’ve been paid – and then you put your phone away to join a physical queue to transact.
Now, let’s revisit this retail experience in the context of Abrash’s “always-on, go-everywhere mixed reality”, enabled by AR.
I walk into the store. Through my AR glasses or existing devices, I can generate and view reviews for products I might want to buy. I can see what I might look like in that product in a virtual changing room and then I can send that image to my friend for her opinion. Up pops a real-time update of my bank balance, and I transact. Naturally, my receipt is stored away safely for me on the cloud. And all this happens in a flash.
Transforming the customer experience
All this goes to show that transforming the customer experience can be boiled down to two guiding principles:
1 Solve a customer problem by giving them more information than what is physically available in front of them.
2 Enhance and add value to an existing consumer experience rather than force new behaviours.
AR meets both criteria. The technology acts as an information overlay to a real-life situation. It doesn’t try to force consumers into new behaviours and it adds value and convenience to existing ones.
Compare this with virtual reality, which seeks to “wall off” the consumer from the real world. Asking people to walk around in public with a whacking, great VR headset on is a good example of trying to create an impractical new consumer behaviour.
AR that is enhancing or resolving the offline/online gap has already sneaked into consumers’ lives – without them even thinking about it. Snapchat has transformed the selfie with its AR lenses that have helped attract 150 million daily users. Lots of its rivals are looking to emulate that location-based experience and functionality. Meanwhile, Pokémon Go has enriched the mobile-gaming experience by adding entertainment to people’s everyday lives and became the most downloaded app of 2016 in the Apple App Store.
AR is only in its infancy so, in terms of solving customers’ problems, it has only just begun. When we start talking about non-entertainment examples, such as the Ikea AR catalogue that helps customers visualise furniture in existing spaces or the Augmented Car Finder that can direct you to your car’s location, that’s when it gets exciting.
The Ikea AR catalogue helps customers visualise how the furniture will look in their home
The fact that AR is hiding in plain sight demonstrates that when we truly enhance experiences or solve people’s problems, digital and technology can actually just drop into the background, leaving us to focus on organising ourselves around the consumer. We shouldn’t even need to get to the stage where we have to radically transform our businesses.
Transformation is expensive, risky and painful. Understanding your consumer is not. It’s time we get ready for the era of mixed reality.
Source: Campaign Live
I love this, need to go and invest in a headset now after seeing this. Amazing! Or does it show my age that I love the face that it’s A-ha?
This is surely what Augmented Reality and the HoloLens have been invented for?
If you’ve grown up following the Terminator series then now is the time you get to live out your fantasy as a terminator! Get yourself a Microsoft HoloLens and then simply follow these instructions from Microsoft.
This is not just a graphical representation of a HUD.
Not only does HoloLens make for a realistic augmented reality (AR) mockup of the T-800 Terminator’s visual field, but the interface can be hooked up to Microsoft Cognitive Services to analyze objects in the physical space.
It can even use face detection. Basically it actually functions.
Really, this is a great way of getting some great PR on AR. If that makes sense. I’ll certainly be giving it a go!
A team from the Australian National University (ANU) believe we may be a step closer to achieving what we’ve been seeing in Sci-Fi movies for year — could we be sending messages to Obi Wan Kenobi?
The ANU team was able to develop a hologram device that gives the highest quality images to date.
When I was growing up we watch these amazing images various Sci-Fi movies such as Star Wars movies amongst others.
What will be the implications? How can such a platform be used? Is there a new communication platform to come and how will this fit in with AR and VR developments.
Watch this space…
One of the things that has perhaps stopped VR from becoming a global phenomenon is the size and shape of them. They are cumbersome, uncomfortable to wear and not easy to transport.
This is the first step to VR / AR devices becoming something that we engage in daily and become part of our lives.
Here’s a crazy look at Augmented Reality. It’s a creative impression from Keiichi Matsuda.
Keiichi is a designer and film-maker. His research examines the implications of emerging technologies for human perception and the built environment. Keiichi is interested in the dissolving boundaries between virtual and physical, working with video, architecture and interactive media to propose new perspectives on the city.
I wonder how close this will be and how soon we will see some of these ideas becoming reality.
I’ve recently read the article from Scott Belsky, from Goldman Sachs and Adobe fame, where he talks about what we are already expecting and the what’s next.
Interestingly he sees that current situations is that we already expect self-driving cars, wearable hardware, a connected home, and augmented reality. These are given!
But what next? He’s started looking at what new problems will we be struggling with? What will kill us? What will connect us?
Here are his top 5 ideas.
- Social media will become passive.
- Our (augmented) reality will be a land grab, and always be under attack from brands.
- Interfaces will compete with the technology underneath.
- Autonomous vehicles in cities will become a public utility.
- We will transcend “tragedy of the commons” with technology that aligns self-interests with community benefits.
Whilst VR has hit the mainstream with Samsung and Sony driving forward with television advertising in the run up to Christmas, it is Augmented Reality or AR that is the focus from Microsoft. An it’s partly their way of getting into the VR space too.
Here is an exerpt from Engadget.com about the developement from Microsoft.
Microsoft is set to unveil several new products at its fall event on Wednesday, but that hasn’t stopped CEO Satya Nadella from dropping by Laguna Beach, California this Monday. During a WSJD Live interview with Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerard Baker, Nadella delved into topics that concern the company’s future. Specifically: augmented reality.