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VR Marketing: The Marketing Industry’s Next Big Thing

Virtual reality is becoming a daily reality for an increasing number of consumers. With global revenue projected to top $3.7 billion by 2020, VR is well on its way to transforming a diverse list of industries. Among one of the fastest growing applications for immersive technology is virtual reality marketing. As companies from Tommy Hilfiger to Coca Cola demonstrate the sheer power of VR to engage customers, outdated selling strategies are giving way to ad campaigns that capture consumers like never before.

In this article, we take a fresh look at how VR marketing is being used to turn boring ads into immersive experiences that seize the imagination.

Why VR Marketing Works

Before we see a few examples of virtual reality in marketing, let us first see why virtual reality simply works as a marketing tool.

Merchandising presents more than just another business application for VR. It is, perhaps, the best business application for it. Consider the fundamental keys to effective selling:

  • Access
  • Presentation
  • Engegement

Access

Thanks to the growth of VR headsets and viewers, consumers are already in VR space. Whether playing games, exploring Andromeda, sharing immersive experiences through social media, or watching 3D movies, people are stepping into other worlds by the droves. To reach out to the growing VR market, advertisers need not go any further than existing channels.
Virtual Reality Headsets

Presentation

Advertising is all about presentation. If an advertisement message is not appealing to the senses, the audience is lost from the beginning. With VR, you have the opportunity to show your customers and potential customers things they have never seen before — things no one has ever seen before, using stunning 3D graphics.

Engagement

Marketing has always been an exercise in psychology. Experts believe that VR stimulates the neocortex, limbic system, and primitive brain in ways not possible with conventional advertising. By involving a multitude of complex brain processes, VR marketing allows you to bypass common psychological barriers that can exist between your message and your market.

VR Technology in Marketing

Faced with the challenge of providing a high-end experience at a high-end price point, or providing a lesser experience within the budget of an average consumer, the VR industry decided to do both. With high-tech headsets and low-tech smartphone viewers available, the industry clearly intends to leave no one out.

For those who demand the best in interactive, immersive 3D reality, the Oculus Rift and
HTC Vive meet the challenge. At reduced price points of $399 and $599 respectively, a premium virtual experience is no longer beyond the reach of most consumers.

Even so, Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR put virtual reality into the hands of the masses. The Google Cardboard viewer can be purchased for under $20, or homemade from scrap cardboard, and the Samsung Gear VR can be yours for $129.

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Virtual Reality Marketing Trends in 2018

Virtual reality marketing trends suggest that companies will embrace VR to the fullest in the years ahead. With a projected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of around 54% for the period between 2017 and 2022, smart businesses are looking to VR to engage their customers and prospective customers in ways never before possible. Far removed from the flat appeal of the print ad, beyond even the power of targeted video advertisements, the virtual marketing experience promises to provide consumers with the next best thing to conventional brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Actually, it’s even better.

Want stats?

According to one study, 74% of consumers find VR ads less intrusive than regular digital marketing, with a 70% same-day-recall rate. Those numbers are more reflective of in-store marketing experiences than they are conventional advertising.

Now, let’s look at a few companies that use VR to engage customers and enhance sales.

VR Marketing in Tourism

If you think Google Street View is cool, imagine it on steroids and you will begin to see the potential value of VR to the tourist industry. Transforming the mouse-driven 360 degree concept into a 3D immersive experience, VR offers travel-related businesses the opportunity to plant their customers’ feet at the world’s hottest destinations before they even buy the ticket.

Until now, trying to decide which vacation spot would be the most exciting has been left to the traveler’s imagination. With little more than colorful travel brochures and short videos with which to help customers decide, travel agencies have struggled to attract business. But those days are over.

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales

VR videos are particularly well suited for conveying the beauty of picturesque destinations. The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales has found that VR videos significantly increase tourism interest in country’s gorgeous hotspots.

The non-profit organization has already produced two VR videos, which immerse potential visitors into the Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve in 3D glory. Among tourists who have watched the videos, 85% say they intend to visit Wales—not a bad conversion rate, especially for an out-of-the-way destination.

VR Marketing Within eCommerce

Rapid advances in technology often gets ahead of the terms we use to defined it. The merger of eCommerce with virtual reality is such an example. Whether you choose to embrace the newest marketing term, vCommerce, or to remain a loyalist to its predecessor, be prepared for changes in how products are sold online.

Alibaba

Last year, Chinese eCommerce powerhouse Alibaba committed to incorporating VR technology into its customers’ shopping experience. This year, the eCommerce company added a new shopping option for its customers — a virtual store.

Named Buy +, the new feature is designed to preempt Alibaba’s customers from leaving the platform in search of their own virtual store.

To entice customers to go virtual, Alibaba has placed special offerings within their digital stores. If there is anything shoppers like more than a good deal, it’s a good deal that is also exclusive. Apparently, Alibaba has not let technology get in the way of good old-fashioned marketing tactics.

VR Marketing in Retail

VR marketing is starting to reshape the retail shopping experience. Major brands are increasingly comfortable offering virtual shopping solutions to their brick-and-mortar customers. This only makes sense, when you consider that marketing does not end at the store entrance. It is within the retail store that the most effective sales efforts take place.

Here are some marketing examples of companies that use virtual reality to engage customers and enhance sales.

Walmart

Retail giant, Walmart, is doing more than using VR to sell its products, it
intends to help build the VR retail marketing industry. The retail chain has created its very own retail startup incubator, dubbed Store No. 8.

Through their unique tech initiative, Wal-Mart will help build startups that will shape retail through VR technology. The grand debut of Store No, 8 was kicked off with all the pomp of a Hollywood gala. Only, in this case, it was not celebrities who were the stars of the show, but high-tech companies who presented their VR marketing technologies through a virtual reality showcase.

Lowe’s Home Improvement

Lowe’s was among the first major retailers to embrace augmented reality (AR). By providing customers with apps that allow them visualize the company’s products within their own home, Lowe’s didn’t just jump on the tech marketing bandwagon, they hopped in the driver’s seat. In keeping with Lowe’s cutting-edge marketing philosophy, the home improvement giant has rolled out a new VR tool to help customers become confident with DIY projects.

Introducing Holoroom, Lowe’s VR training lab for customers who are not comfortable undertaking home-improvement projects on their own. Available in select stores, at the moment, Holoroom allows customers to perform projects in a virtual environment before trying them in their homes. More than a novel VR experience — although it is that, too,

Holoroom makes use of VR to overcome a major marketing hurdle. If customers are more comfortable using the company’s products, they will be more likely to buy the company’s products.

Lowe’s Holoroom is a brilliant example of the value of virtual reality technology in marketing.

VR Marketing in Real Estate

Real estate marketing is experiencing a dramatic transformation. No longer are on-site visits or online galleries the only way to prospect a new home or business property. Thanks to VR technology, real estate agents can place their clients smack in the middle of a new home or business from the comfort of their own office.

Matterport

Matterport is just one of many companies bringing the power of VR to the marketing of properties. Through their 3D camera products, specialized software, and cloud-based services, this tech company provides all the tools agents and brokers need to immerse their clients into a virtual tour, whether the location is around the block or half-way around the world.

Sotheby’s International Realty

Australian real estate company, Sotheby’s International Realty, uses Matterport’s technology to deliver immersive tours of properties around the world. The company’s 3D interactive tours demonstrate quite well the power of VR to captivate buyers.

The Bright Future of VR Marketing

Although VR marketing is in its infancy, by all accounts it is one of the hottest trends in marketing.

VR lends itself perfectly to supercharging marketing campaigns, and creating entirely new marketing strategies. Just as radio and television disrupted, to a large degree, print advertising, VR technology will eventually disrupt conventional digital advertising mediums.

AppReal – VR Marketing Specialists

Virtual reality is soon to transform the face of marketing, from eCommerce to local business. Companies that embrace the power of VR in their marketing strategy will reap the benefits. As customers turn increasingly to sellers who can provide a 3D shopping experience, those who can deliver will capture both customers and sales, while those who can’t will fall behind.

Scary thing is, as a marketeer, what do you know about virtual technology? How can you hope to turn your marketing agency into a high-tech VR selling machine when you’re still trying to grasp the concepts yourself?

Clearly, you need a plan.

AppReal-VR specializes in providing leading-edge technology solutions to businesses around the globe. From mobile app and VR software development to monetization platform solutions, our team of professional developers has the skills and experience to turn your marketing ideas into high-tech marketing solutions.

Together, we can develop a custom VR marketing strategy that allows your company to meet customers where they will be found — in virtual reality.

We invite you to contact us, today, for a free consultation.

The VR marketing revolution is here. Are you ready?

17 Augmented Reality Influencers to Follow in 2018

2018 looks set to be the year where Augmented Reality (AR) fully enters the mainstream. Thanks to ARKit on iOS and ARCore on Android, smartphone users the world over will have access to engaging and exciting AR content. From dedicated games and apps to additional AR content for existing applications, the way in which we interact with our smartphones will fundamentally change over the next 12 months, and beyond. And this will give rise to Augmented Reality influencers and pioneers.

3 Augmented Reality (AR) Investment Opportunities

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have a great deal in common. They’re both emerging technologies, they both utilize exciting new hardware and software, and they’re both brimming with endless possibilities for creative applications.

Here’s Why You Should Buy a Ticket for Augmented Reality (AR) Lottery

Augmented Reality lottery apps might be a relatively new phenomenon, but the concept of a lottery has been around for centuries. In fact, the first recorded lotteries where money was offered as a prize took place in Western Europe – specifically Belgium and the Netherlands – way back in the 15th century. As is often the case today, these lotteries were looked upon as a sort of ‘painless taxation’, raising money for important public projects. In fact, the English word “lottery” stems from the Dutch “lot” meaning “fate”.

How to Create a Best Selling AR Game Using Apple ARKit

The Internet is bustling with examples of how to build augmented reality games using ARKit, from instructions on using Xcode 9 with ARKit to providing complete sample code. With online resources becoming increasingly available to help game creators tap the power of ARKit, there is no excuse for not churning out the next generation of AR games today.

Hire the Leading AR Game Development Company

Augmented reality game development is poised to dominate the gaming industry. Thanks to advances in both hardware and software, a wealth of opportunities awaits augmented reality game developers and investors.

As VR gaming takes second position, the smart focus in game development is on bringing groundbreaking AR games to a voracious market.

AR Gaming Market Ready to Surge

How voracious? According to industry experts, AR game development will fuel a $284.93 billion market by 2023. With the AR gaming sector growing at a CAGR of 152.7% during the forecast period of 2017–2023, you could say that is a market worth considering.

The walloping potential of AR games should come as no surprise. In 2017, Pokémon Go marked 720 million downloads, pushing the game’s revenue to $1.2 billion. If chasing small virtual creatures across busy streets and through fast food restaurants yields that level of interest — dare we say obsession, we can only assume that better games will attract an even greater following.

AR Game Development Strategies

But satisfying the AR gaming market will not be easy. If you want your piece of the emerging AR gaming market, you need more than a great game idea, you must be proficient in a multitude of cutting-edge technologies. Among the disciplines that must be merged to produce the next generation of augmented reality games are these:

  1. Gaming technology
  2. Mobile app development
  3. Augmented reality technology
  4. App deployment and marketing expertise

Not many companies possess the unique combinations of skills necessary to pull off a commercially viable AR game. For those that have the ideas and the financial resources, but not the technical capability, there is AppReal.

AppReal — The AR Game Development Experts

AppReal is a leading provider of AR game development services. Companies around the globe, from startups to multinational corporations, have chosen AppReal as their technology partner — and for good reason. We have all of the resources inhouse to take AR games from concept to market. With six R&D labs conveniently located across Western Europe, we can efficiently serve your outsource development needs.

Our Process

When you partner with us, we are prepared to drive your project from start to finish. Since we follow the Agile methodology, your project will reflect the transparency and flexibility you deserve, at the competitive rates you need.

Your project will progress through 7 basic steps:

  • Development of AR game concept
  • Development of storyboards
  • Game design
  • Testing
  • Marketing
  • Deployment
  • Post-deployment upgrades and support

As a full-service outsource provider, we can handle as much or as little of your project as you want us to.

AR Game Development by AppReal

ARKit demo app by AppReal
How to make ARKit apps.

Our Capabilities

AppReal employs some of the best developers in the world. The diversity of our teams enables us to expertly target whatever platform you want, including iOS, Android, Tango, or others.

Augmented reality gaming means different things to different people. For some, it means frivolously fun, low-budget games. For others, it means photo-realistic multiplayer games that make the headlines. Either way, we’ve got you covered.

And you can be assured, as soon as new technology is ready for gaming, we’re ready to exploit it to the fullest. Be it the latest advances in haptic feedback technology, cloud-based gaming, or high-res 3D, we turn cutting-edge technology into groundbreaking games.

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Our Core Technologies

A game is only as exciting as the tools used to create it. At AppReal, we don’t just rely on SDKs to build games. We have all the coolest stuff any developer could want, and we know how to use it.

Here is a list of the core technologies and products we utilize. We will suggest to you what will work best for your game.

  • ARKit: Apple’s AR development platform, designed to create AR apps for iPhone and iPad.
  • ARCore: Google’s AR development platform.
  • Unity: The leading game engine.
  • Wikitude: A cross-platform SDK that targets cloud-based resources.
  • Vuforia: The world’s most widely used AR development platform.
  • OpenCV: Open Source Computer Vision Library, aimed at real-time computer vision processing.
  • Vuzix: Provider of AR and VR viewer technology.
  • ViewAR: Allows combining multiple AR, VR, and mixed reality technologies in one platform.

Conclusion

AppReal combines AR and mobile game technologies to produce next-generation, commercially viable AR games. If our capabilities align with your objectives, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.

How to Create a Best Selling Apple ARKit App

With the introduction of ARKit, Apple provided not only a new AR platform, but new AR markets to boot. Boasting the world’s largest AR platform, Apple is relying on developers to make ARKit apps that push the boundaries of what AR can do.

Although there are plenty of examples of ARKit apps online, most only toy with the powerful AR features which the AR development platform offers. Sure, viewing the entire solar system on your kitchen table is neat, but ARKit can do more. Infinitely more.

In a recent article we discussed how to develop cutting edge AR games based on the ARKit feature set. In this article, we will take a similarly non-technical approach to ARKit app development for the lucrative business and industrial AR markets.

A Look At ARKit Features

An AR developer can use ARKit to create AR apps of varying complexity. With relatively little effort, you can, perhaps, create apps that help the user navigate their way through an unfamiliar neighborhood. With a bit more effort, you can develop full-featured applications that solve difficult problems for business or industry. The more complex the problems you solve, the more complex you AR application needs to be, and the greater will be your ROI.

ARKit Capabilities

Making complex apps that satisfy the needs of your target market requires a solid grasp of the capabilities ARKit offers you. Although most of the capabilities and features we will discuss will only benefit users of iPhone X, don’t let that discourage you. There are plenty of new AR features that will run perfectly well on iPhone 6 through iPhone 8 Plus, as well as iPad Pro and iPad Pro (2017).

Here are the three major capabilities offered by ARKit:

  1. Positional Tracking. ARKit enables apps to detect object position, orientation, and motion within the scene.
  2. Scene Understanding. This capability is both basic and powerful, allowing apps to detect horizontal planes, to identify stable anchor points, and to adjust the image in accordance with ambient lighting conditions.
  3. Rendering Integration. ARKit is powerful, but no platform is a one-and-all AR solution. ARKit rendering integration allows development integration with scene-rendering frameworks such as Metal and SceneKit.

The capabilities ARKit provides developers are best demonstrated by utilizing the advanced technologies included in the iPhone X, as explained below.

How to develop ARKit apps

ARKit demo app by AppReal
How to make ARKit apps.

TrueDepth Camera

The iPhone X TrueDepth cameras empower your apps to have pseudo-3D depth-sensing powers. More specifically, imagine the possible business applications for AR applications with the following features:

  • Detection of 50+ muscle movement
  • Custom rendering of graphics over 3D face mesh models
  • Device position and orientation detection in real time
  • Lighting estimation based on the face illumination
  • Facial recognition.

Thanks to ARKit, coding these features into your app is the easy part. The challenge is applying them creatively to make unique and powerful AR apps that perform useful work. Consider adding these five functions to your next mobile AR app:

  1. Face recognition for security apps
  2. Mood identification for dating apps
  3. Facial reconstruction tools for the plastic surgery industry
  4. Scene enhancement for the visually impaired
  5. 3D scene modeling by drones equipped with Apple devices

We could expand this list a hundred times, but the best ideas for your AR app development business will come from you.

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Visual Inertial Odometry

VIO combines sensor and camera data in the mobile device to inform your app of the device’s precise position, orientation, and motion relative to its physical environment. This allows you to equip your app with the following features:

  • Precise measurements of objects within the scene
  • Detection of object movement within the environment
  • Accurate 3D scene-modeling capabilities
  • Sensing of acceleration and speed at which the device is moving

How can these features — when combined with AR—be used to create apps for business, industry, and even consumer markets? Here are a five ideas; we are sure you can think of more:

  1. Autonomous drones that record or transmit AR mapping data
  2. Conversion of prototype products into precise 3D models by scanning with mobile device
  3. Performance charting for joggers
  4. Non-GPS navigation apps for pedestrian tourists
  5. 3D educational AR apps

To better understand how VIO and AR can work together, check out the videos over on Apple Insider.

High Performance Hardware and Rendering Optimizations

ARKit is designed to fully exploit the power of iOS 11 and Apple’s advanced processors. It is also designed to integrate with other AR development and rendering tools.

Here is a brief list of the advantages ARKit offers, when combined with AR-optimized hardware and 3rd-party technologies such as Metal:

  • Extremely low-latency imagery
  • Program access to the device Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) for optimized graphics
  • Adaptive responses through machine learning

This deceptively short list opens a world of advanced features for the picking, as you develop your next AR app:

  1. High-speed image rendering for integrating AR data into rapidly moving industrial environments
  2. Fast and detailed Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM) functionality
  3. AR graphics that overlay the environment with life-like realism
  4. Real-time syncing the app with cloud-based data using a Realm Object Server
  5. AR apps that don’t wait for the user, but which use machine learning to predict the user’s next action

As powerful as ARKit is, it is, after all, only a development platform. To get the most out of your ARKit apps, you want to target the latest Apple devices. Fortunately, Apple’s online SDK resources make it easy for you to do so.

How AppReal Can Help With Your ARKit Project

Although ARKit is in its infancy, it will be the catalyst by which AR matures into a mainstream technology. To be sure, ARKit will take gaming to the next level, but it would be a mistake not to think of ARKit as more than a game development platform. In truth, the market potential for ARKit applications in business and industry far outshines what we expect to see in the gaming market, as great as that will be.

But market potential is of little value if you don’t have a compelling product. That’s where AppReal comes in. We are a leading provider of outsourced augmented reality development. We are experts in every aspect of VR and AR technologies, and our mobile app developers are among the best in the world. With six R&D labs across Europe, we are positioned to serve your development needs, regardless of your location.

Why not call us, today, for a no-cost consultation?

7 Reasons Why Enterprise Needs Apple ARKit

September marks the long-awaited release of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, with the iPhone X slated for release in October. What that means for consumers is a choice between getting an iPhone 7 upgrade, or owning the most powerful handheld device on the planet. What it means for the business sector is an opportunity to tap new markets, using the power of Apple’s new AR development platform, ARKit.

5 Golden Rules for Hiring ARKit Developers

Mainstream augmented reality is almost upon us, thanks to Apple ARKit. Developers are lining up around the block to take advantage of the technology and the mass market it brings.