If 2017 was the year that immersive reality became a mainstream business story, then 2018 is the year immersive reality will become a more strategic element of corporate growth.
Immersive reality experiences such as augmented reality, mixed reality, and virtual reality certainly generated their share of intriguing headlines for their potential consumer uses, as the will at the Consumer Electronics Show this week. Niantic, the creator of Pokémon GO, made the world stand still with an announcement that it will release an augmented reality game based on Harry Potter sometime in 2018. And Oculus crowed about the positive critical reception of virtual reality role playing game Lone Echo, with solid ratings on Metacritic creating a stamp of legitimacy.
All well and good. But the really exciting news in immersive reality came on the enterprise side, with businesses adopting augmented reality, mixed reality, and virtual reality to improve their operations.
Immersive Reality Enriches the Enterprise
As we discussed on our blog, news about immersive reality included developments such as:
- STRIVR, which provides human performance training tools, helping Walmart use virtual reality to train employees in areas such as customer service
- Audi using virtual reality to help customers configure their driving experience, thus improving the sales process
- IKEA launching an augmented reality app to help consumers configure furniture in their homes before they make a purchase
- Manufacturers such as Ford and thyssenkrupp using mixed reality to more effectively design products ranging from cars to home equipment by visualizing complex designs in simulated environments
The business potential of immersive reality was underscored later in 2017 when Harvard Business Review published a widely read article, “Why Your Company Needs an AR Strategy,” by Michael Porter and James E. Heppelmann. And they had a lot to say.
“AR will affect companies in every industry and many other types of organizations, from universities to social enterprises,” they wrote. “In the coming months and years, it will transform how we learn, make decisions, and interact with the physical world. It will also change how enterprises serve customers, train employees, design and create products, and manage their value chains, and, ultimately, how they compete.”
They went on to provide a road map for deploying AR to change the human-machine interface across all kinds of businesses.
This kind of notice is significant for a couple of reasons. First of all, when Porter and Heppelmann advocate for AR in HBR, you just have to listen even if you’re a skeptic, so strong are their personal brands in the business world. And second, as you might expect from an HBR article, the authors provide compelling examples of how businesses are already deriving value from AR. One of my favorites:
At Boeing, AR training has had a dramatic impact on the productivity and quality of complex aircraft manufacturing procedures. In one Boeing study, AR was used to guide trainees through the 50 steps required to assemble an aircraft wing section involving 30 parts. With the help of AR, trainees completed the work in 35% less time than trainees using traditional 2-D drawings and documentation. And the number of trainees with little or no experience who could perform the operation correctly the first time increased by 90%.
And keep in mind, Porter and Heppelmann are focusing on only one aspect of immersive reality. As noted, many other businesses are also getting value out of mixed reality and virtual reality.
How to Get Started
If you are like many business executives, you might be wondering, “But how do I get started?” At Moonshot, we suggest getting started by creating an initiative brief that assesses where you are in your journey with immersive reality. Such a brief would cover questions that cover all key aspects of deploying immersive reality in your business, such as context about your industry and market; consumer; technology; process; and metrics. For example, questions about your industry and market might address:
- How is your industry utilizing new technologies and specifically immersive technologies?
- What is the size of your demographic user-base?
- Do you understand who is using these technologies and how they’re being used?
- What are the projected gains from embracing these new technologies?
From there, we recommend taking a workshop approach that employs techniques such as design thinking to identify potential customer wants and needs you might meet with immersive reality.
In 2018, immersive reality will help separate the leaders from the followers. Which one will you be?
To learn more about our point of view about immersive reality, download our recently published The Executive Guide to Immersive Reality. And contact Moonshot to get started succeeding with immersive reality.