Series Introduction: ‘Your Guide to the Future’
Here at B2B International, we’re always thinking of the latest innovations and emerging ‘megatrends’ shaping our clients’ industries and markets.
So, for every month in 2019 we decided to delve a little deeper into each of these trends and produce a mini-guide looking at what it is, how big it will be and the opportunity it presents for b2b companies.
Our complete ‘Guide to the Future’ is also available as a handy desk calendar (see above) – click here for details on how to get your hands on one.
This month’s topic is Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). Enjoy!
What is it?
Augmented Reality (AR) is the ability to insert and overlay digital and virtual information that people can interact with in the real world. Virtual Reality (VR) goes one step further and creates a completely simulated environment that entirely blocks out the real environment.
In both AR and VR, the overlaid information can be of visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory and olfactory nature and is usually transmitted via the use of smart devices and wearables such as smart phone glasses or headsets.
How big will it be?
By 2022, the global AR and VR markets are expected to reach a total value of $US105 billion. The AR market is expected to be worth $US90 billion, roughly 6 times larger than the projected value of the VR sector (Source: Korea Institute of S&T Evaluation and Planning (KISTEP)).
What’s the opportunity?
Some of the most promising AR / VR applications for B2B companies are:
Marketing: One of the biggest opportunities lies in the improvement of the customer journey by enabling the customer to “experience” the product first hand before the sale takes place.
Architecture and construction: VR can be used to visualise buildings before they are built to convince stakeholders of a certain design and to detect design flaws before the building is constructed.
Automotive Manufacturing: Car manufacturers are using VR systems to translate CAD designs into virtual cars to allow engineers to sit inside and walk around the vehicle inspecting every little detail and spot any potential design flaws early on.
Logistics: AR headsets are being used successfully in the logistics industry to improve the efficiency of their warehouses and warehouse staff. Workers can wear the headsets as a navigation aid, highlighting the most efficient route to the box or package and also highlighting the exact location on the shelf, saving a considerable amount of time.
Job training: VR enables staff to receive access to virtual demos of situations they would otherwise not have access to prior to the job (useful in medicine, military applications, disaster response etc). AR can be used to give staff access to real-time information via the use of smart devices (i.e. smart helmets).
While augmented and virtual reality have become mainstream in the gaming world, the technology is only just starting to work its way into the b2b industry world. Despite this, it’s clear to see that the applications are very promising and the technology is set to transform many different sectors.
VR headsets now allow car engineers and architects to explore finished products before manufacturing begins. AR technology can be used to improve the efficiency and safety of employees in the workplace. For example, headsets can show the fastest route through a warehouse, prepare workers for entering unknown locations or provide instructions for fixing large, complex machinery.
With the global AR and VR market set to grow significantly over the coming years, it’ll be interesting to watch how the technology develops and how businesses across different industries began to apply it.