Simply unreal: welcome to extended reality (XR)

In the same way that brands agree with the different realities (and not just in the new normal Covid sense) which is AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality) and MR (mixed reality), extended reality (or XR) has joined the mix to keep us up to date ensuring that brand offerings are further optimized.

While AR, VR, and MR are no longer new “technological terms,” they are an integral part of the way we experience the world, especially because it applies to problem solving in companies, it is pertinent to ask. what XR is likely to mean for brand improvement. The question is, is it essential for brands to adopt this new reality and if so … how and what is there for them?

So what is XR really?

Referenced from Wikipedia, and in short, XR is a combination of a mixed reality environment. Simply put, it is the term umbrella used to describe a fusion of RA, VR and MR. While the term is very easy to digest, the important aspect that needs to be decompressed and understood is its potential to unlock a company’s value by optimizing various organizational functions.

XR has an improved customer journey, better employee performance and productivity, and the potential to create new content and services among its capabilities. Ikea uses XR to allow customers to see what the furniture in their home would look like through their phones. This pre-purchase test option further enhances the Swedish brand’s reputation for home products in customer-centric solutions.

Does this mean that all brands should hire an XR expert as soon as possible?

The element of experience

If there is currently a universal truth in the martech space, it is that marketers must be prepared to innovate at every step and not be afraid to welcome disruptive tools and technologies to elevate their campaigns and improve the experience. of the customer.

We’ve seen what RA filters on Snapchat, Google Cardboard, and 360-degree videos on YouTube have brought to the consumer experience. Witness to the success of these technologies is the hunger for a close brand commitment from the point of view of consumers. As marketers, we need to explore alternative ways to promote intimate brand engagement, and XR offers brands this real opportunity to do just that.

The power of XR lies in how it takes complex content and information and makes them an easier-to-understand and enjoyable format and experience. In its current form, it is an important learning tool thanks to this ability to “represent[ing] complex content in interactive, tactile, and emotionally resonant ways [further] differentiate the brand’s offering, ”according to this South China Morning Post article.

XR is particularly powerful when it comes to training in high-risk industries, such as complex machinery training, fire safety training, and driver simulation. XR not only provides realistic skills practices, but also helps reduce the number of student mistakes, protects property and assets, and helps ensure long-term knowledge retention.

And while the video may have killed the radio star, XR may have exterminated the video. Video content has experienced a meteoric rise in the last decade (current statistics suggest that 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute), but video is a non-interactive linear format. XR, on the other hand, is interactive, immersive, engaging, and so far more likely to leave a lasting impression.

The element of efficiency

While the XR experience element plays an important role in creating brand attractiveness and equity, the business case for the adoption of a new technology needs to be carefully considered. In the case of XR, the question that needs to be asked is how can it help increase operational efficiency, increase productivity, and increase relevance by adapting to all user behavior on digital platforms?

The potential of XR extends far beyond the advertising and marketing industry. The sectors most likely to reap the maximum benefit from technology are health, engineering, real estate and retail. The potential for the healthcare sector is particularly exciting; in fact, a Harvard Business Review article considers that XR has the potential to be as ubiquitous in health as the stethoscope, specifically in the way surgeons, for example, can see digitally. images directly superimposed on your field of vision.

Beyond the customer experience, XR has been shown to improve internal communication and collaboration, simplify training, and significantly enable more efficient data analysis.

As the real and virtual worlds continue to converge, the possibilities for brands are endless. The future is full of infinite possibilities.

Shaune Jordaan is co-founder and CEO of Hoorah Digital, an independent digital consultancy that believes in brand results through data. Consulting focuses on helping internal marketing and digital teams with everything digital, from social media advertising to application design.

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