Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are redefining what is possible and creating a world where reality and imagination converge. In our last article, we explored the transformative effects of AR and VR on consumer engagement and operational efficiency. We also delved into how these technologies enrich our reality and transport us to new worlds, thereby enhancing the customer experience and streamlining product development across various industries.

In our second installment, we will take a closer look at specific case studies that highlight how visionary companies are not just imagining the future—they are actively constructing it. This article will showcase practical applications of AR and VR across different sectors, demonstrating their capacity to transcend traditional boundaries and revolutionize business practices. Read on to explore real-world examples of how these technologies are having a significant impact, from training retail employees more effectively to transforming the way medical professionals interact with patients.

Diving Deeper: Real-World Applications and Impact of AR and VR

Visionary companies are not just imagining the future—they’re building it. These technologies are no longer confined to the realms of gaming and entertainment but are revolutionizing how businesses interact with their customers, train their employees, and design their products. The following case studies offer a glimpse into how AR and VR are being applied across different sectors to create immersive experiences that transcend traditional boundaries.

Walmart Uses VR To Train Employees

Since 2017, Walmart has been integrating VR to effectively train employees to handle a variety of real-life situations they may encounter in their roles. Over 200 Walmart Academy training facilities are equipped with VR systems and the company continues to roll out Oculus Go VR headsets to its stores throughout the U.S.

This technology allows Walmart employees to practice dealing with high-stress scenarios in a low-stress environment. For example, employees can use VR to learn how to de-escalate situations with difficult customers and prepare for Black Friday crowds.

“The great thing about VR is its ability to make learning experiential,” explains Andy Trainor, Walmart’s senior director of Walmart U.S. Academies. “When you watch a module through the headset, your brain feels like you actually experienced a situation. We’ve also seen that VR training boosts confidence and retention.” Since implementing VR to train employees, Walmart has reported several impressive changes, including:

  • 10-15% higher scores on employee training tests
  • 30% higher scores on employee satisfaction surveys
  • Reduced training time, from hours to mere minutes

This technology also reduces safety risks and enables teams to better serve customers, making it a win for everyone involved. The initial VR pilot program was so successful that Walmart decided to continue rolling it out to nearly all of its 4,700 stores in the U.S.

Related: Revolutionizing Retail: How AI Powers Consumer Goods Companies

Carlton Books and DK Books Bring Stories to Life with AR

Some companies in the publishing space, including Carlton Books and DK Books, have already started incorporating AR features into their publications, bringing stories to life literally. Readers can download an AR app on their phone that allows them to scan pages to view 3D models and animations. Some elements even offer interactive features, creating an engaging, hands-on learning experience out of once static print pages.

This concept is especially popular with younger readers, but it can also help people of all ages understand complex concepts by enabling multi-sensory learning. In a classroom setting, AR textbooks have been shown to increase knowledge retention, encourage participation, and keep students engaged with the curriculum.

Other notable examples of AR publications include:

  • The New Yorker magazine’s 2016 release of a 3D animated cityscape designed by Christoph Niemann that readers could explore by downloading an app on their smartphones.
  • A graphic novel published in collaboration with Marvel and the Black Eyed Peas using an AR app to provide start-studded voiceovers and make the illustrations “pop off” each page.
  •  Toy Story’s augmented reality adventure allows readers to interact with some of their favorite characters, like Woody, and offers puzzles and games to keep children engaged.

Related: The 7 Success Factors That Lead to Transformational Change

AccuVein Offers Vein Visualization With AR

AccuVein has revolutionized the process of venipuncture (blood draw or IV insertions) with its AR device which scans the patient’s skin and projects a map of their veins onto the surface, making it significantly easier for healthcare providers to locate veins on the first try. This reduces patient discomfort and improves the efficiency of procedures that require vascular access.

The handheld device works in real time and is used in a wide variety of healthcare settings, including clinics, blood donation centers, and hospitals. According to AccuVein, “studies have shown the AccuVein AV300 can improve first-attempt success rates for venipuncture by 45-100% compared to traditional methods.”

This shows that there is a significant potential for AR and VR devices in the healthcare space. From doctors wearing AR headsets to consult with their colleagues during delicate procedures to patients experiencing decreased pain through VR cognitive behavioral devices, the future of health is here.

Related: The Future of Integrated Smart Technology: Health & Wellness

AR and VR Challenges and Considerations

Despite the incredible potential, the integration of AR and VR into business operations is not without its challenges. Businesses often face technical limitations, such as the need for high processing power and the development of user-friendly interfaces. Moreover, concerns around privacy and data security need to be addressed, as these technologies often collect detailed user data.

While cost is another significant consideration, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, as these technologies become more mainstream, their cost is expected to decrease, making them more accessible to a broader range of organizations. Here are a few of the steps we’re seeing businesses of all sizes take to navigate these obstacles and implement AR and VR technologies successfully:

1. Start Small and Scale Gradually

One effective strategy is to start with small, pilot projects. This allows businesses to test AR and VR technologies within a controlled environment, assess their impact, and identify potential challenges without significant investment. Gradual scaling based on learnings and successes from these pilot projects can ensure a smoother integration of AR and VR technologies into broader business operations.

Related: Reach Your Long-Term Goals With The Three Horizon Framework

2. Partner With AR and VR Experts

Given the technical complexities associated with AR and VR, collaborating with experienced partners can provide access to specialized knowledge and cutting-edge solutions. These partnerships can help businesses overcome technical limitations, such as the development of user-friendly interfaces and the need for high processing power while reducing costs and saving time.

3. Invest in Employee Training

The success of AR and VR integration heavily depends on your team. Investing in comprehensive training programs can equip your workforce with the necessary skills to utilize these new technologies effectively. Training should not only focus on how to use these technologies but also on understanding their potential impact on business operations and customer experiences.

4. Prioritize Privacy and Data Security

As AR and VR technologies often involve the collection and processing of detailed user data, prioritizing privacy and data security is crucial. Businesses should implement robust data protection measures and ensure compliance with relevant regulations. Transparency with customers about how their data is used can also help mitigate privacy concerns and build trust.

5. Explore Funding and Financing Options

The upfront cost of integrating AR and VR technologies can be significant, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. Exploring various funding and financing options, such as government grants, venture capital, or strategic partnerships, can help alleviate financial constraints. Additionally, some technology providers offer financing solutions or “as-a-service” models, making AR and VR technologies more accessible.

Read More: Immersive Innovation: How AR and VR are Revolutionizing the Consumer Goods Sector (Part One)

The Future of AR and VR in the Consumer Goods Sector

As we look to the future, AR and VR are set to become even more integral to the consumer goods sector. Staying informed about the latest developments and being adaptive to change can help businesses remain competitive. Regularly reviewing and updating the AR/VR strategy in light of new technologies, market trends, and customer feedback is essential for long-term success.

Emerging trends, such as the integration of AI, promise to make these technologies more intelligent and adaptive, offering even more personalized and engaging customer experiences for companies who prioritize research, employee education, and digital experimentation. While tomorrow’s consumer goods landscape may feel a bit uncertain, the potential to develop innovative products and services that exceed expectations and establish new market categories is undeniable.

Additional Resources

Spread the word. Share this post!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.