Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality:

Posted by Ben Cheston

We previously spoke about how you can develop VR solutions using Google Cardboard, but with the Oculus Rift launching in Q1 2016, virtual reality is going to rapidly become commonplace. This article explores how businesses could use VR within their marketing and operational plans.

VR and AR gives us the ability to take the consumer into a visual and audible experience that we control. Highly immersive and engaging experiences can be created to engage, service and reward consumers.

Whilst gaming companies are leading the charge, there are some exciting opportunities that VR can offer other sectors.

Access and experience

This technology can facilitate access in a way that’s never been achieved before. Consumers could ‘experience’ being back-stage at X-Factor, in the changing rooms during half time at the Rugby World Cup Final, watching the NFL game from the terrace at Wembley Stadium, in the crowd at a sold out gig, or walking through a preview of the latest exhibit at the V&A museum — just to name a few examples. Content owners and media companies can offer access to experiences like never before.


If you want to see and hear what it’s like to fly first class with Emirates, to experience driving a Bentley Continental, walk around an off-plan flat, explore the hotel you’re going to stay in, tour the museum, etc. Virtual reality can facilitate product and service trials in a way that’s low cost and low friction for both the business and the consumer. It will also provide scalability to product and service trials. For example, multiple consumers can visit a virtual reality show home at the same time.

Magnet’s Virtual Kitchen Planner is an early-stage example of how this works, a good foundation for further solutions. Volvo have also dipped their toe in the VR waters bringing test driving to your phone.


From posttraumatic stress disorder to alcoholism, VR and AR can be used to help a patient recover and specialists to offer new treatments. The technology can provide a controlled experience and environment for consultants and their patients to use to test and improve their development or recovery. Reuters recently shared some interesting research that showcased the possibility that Virtual Reality could support a positive change in ‘brain metabolism’.

Education / Training

Education and training can be improved through the use of virtual reality. As most will know, the UK driving theory test features a ‘hazard perception test’, which in itself is an early version of virtual reality. The multisensory nature of VR and AR solutions can help companies run better training programs, education programmes, classes, lessons and manuals. Checkout what Hololens is doing for the medical industry.

Key Questions

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality has strong enterprise and consumer uses and it won’t be long before this is realised more broadly. If you’re considering developing a VR or AR solution, we would ask you this:

  • Do you know its place in the marketing funnel? Different VR approaches will perform different roles for consumers at each stages of the customer journey. Identifying which is most appropriate for your business (if one is appropriate at all) is key.
  • Is there enough value for your consumer in your VR and AR solution? There are technical, commercial and usage barriers that your consumer has to overcome, so make it as easy and rewarding as possibly. Facebook and Youtube are lowering the barriers but consumers will still need a strong value exchange.
  • Have you created a business case for your solution? To make a successful VR / AR solution you need to create excellent content, a seamless experience, detailed tracking and technical excellence. Creating a solid business case will justify the investment needed and help rally support from your business.
  • Is it truly immersive? VR and AR is more than just a visual experience. Consider how audio and sensory elements can enhance the overall experience. This could be the difference between a good and a great solution.

If you are considering a VR or AR solution, don’t hesitate to drop us a line, we’d talk to you about how to make it effective and impactful.

Originally published at