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Expert: This is the difference AR can make in your business

Now is the time to invest and embrace new technology or else you run the risk of being left behind. Photo via Getty Images

In our most recent article, we spoke to how you can strategize your company's technology adoption. One of the methods mentioned was augmented reality, which is the overlaying of digitally created content on top of the real world. This allows the user to interact with both the real world and digital elements or augmentations.

Currently, the market is saturated with digital content and everyday businesses are trying to decipher new ways to stand out. Now, connecting with an audience must go above and beyond passive digital content and take an innovative, interactive approach.

That said, engaging technology and content should not be used solely to grab attention, but rather be implemented in a strategic way. Glitzy technology such as AR is an excellent way to pique an audience's initial interest, but the real challenge is not getting them to come, it's getting them to stay.

User tendencies

Augmented reality affords brands the opportunity to utilize unique technology in a way that attracts users and immerses them in an experience from start to finish that passive digital content cannot accomplish. To create this enticing experience, the first step is to understand user tendencies.

For example, some users prefer to watch content but not listen. With that in mind, it's important that your content is created and designed in a way that can be enjoyed without audio. Thinking through what type of user you are targeting will inspire efforts that resonate with them most.

The next key tendency to keep in mind is user patience. Consumers are constantly fed new content daily and are becoming desensitized to digital mediums, and in order to make a lasting impression a producer is tasked with creating an impactful moment within the first five seconds of the user's interaction. From there, this will most likely prompt the user to click, listen to the audio and experience the full content.

Lastly, having a clear explanation of what app is needed and how they can operate the technology is key to AR success.

Identifying the right audience

As mentioned, AR is a great tool that checks many boxes for companies. However, before you can begin checking those boxes, you must address what your needs are first. These goals will vary dependent upon the type of company — B2C or B2B.

B2B companies must keep in mind that their purchaser is most likely not the end technology user. For these strategies, technology will most likely be implemented by a sales team or another internal position. The process then begins by identifying their sales team's needs. From there, it's important to determine how much the sales group wants to drive the experience as opposed to their potential customer. Finally, a custom experience is created that the team can deploy. One example is developing AR technology for trade shows. In some instances, the product being sold is too large or complicated to physically bring to the event, and the inner workings might be too difficult to dismantle. This is where the power of AR can truly shine.

Through the use of innovative augmented reality technology, VISION was able to help Emerson, a valve manufacturing company, create a memorable and immersive exhibit experience that stood out amongst the many other vendors on the expo floor competing for the attention of Valve World attendees.

Augmented reality proved to be a powerful tool in garnering interest at the trade show, driving traffic to their booth and granting the sales team more time to make connections and less time explaining, what can be, a complex product.

B2C businesses who want to incorporate AR technology have different challenges that need to be considered. That challenge is the numerous variables that are presented outside of a controlled environment. For instance, B2B AR will most likely consist of a handful of trained sales team members driving the experience on one type of device. For B2C, the consumer is the end user and many factors can play a role into the quality of their experience. Some dynamics the team has to consider is lighting, type of device, and current mobile software updates.

Additionally, it's important to recognize age as a factor. Some generations are more tech literate than others, so the challenge becomes creating an experience that is not only intriguing but has inherent usability. For this reason, testing is a vital part of our process due to the B2C margin for error being much smaller as patience levels thinner. If the production procedure is rushed the likelihood that an AR experience is glitchy rises. Having a production team with the ability to strike the balance of strategy, creativity and functionality is key to making a memorable consumer impression.

The future of AR

With the cancelation of live events, many companies are utilizing this time as an opportunity to prepare for the digital transformation. Brands are turning their marketing dollars towards the development of new technology such as AR and thinking long term about the approach they want to utilize moving forward.

By investing their budget into technology now, these organizations have the ability to advance and progress into what will be the future of marketing in the digital age.

COVID-19 has propelled AR technology and has forced companies to think outside of their typical efforts and adopt new ways of connecting. A few years ago, AR was a slow-moving technology, and now, the advancements are happening rapidly. Now is the time to invest and embrace new technology or else you run the risk of being left behind.

As AR continues to grow in popularity, we look forward to pushing the boundaries and creating immersive ideas that not only shape a user's experience with technology but encourage companies to utilize new ways of connecting.

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Dan Pratt is the creative director at Houston-based Vision Production Group.

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Building Houston

 
 

Harvest Green — a unique and innovative community in the greater Houston area — has added a mammoth parcel to its agrihood. Photo courtesy of Harvest Green

One of the hottest trends in Houston's scorching real estate market is the rise of the "agrihood" — what's defined as an "organized community that integrates agriculture into a residential neighborhood."

Now, a suburban neighborhood/agrihood has announced a major expansion, aimed at adding more homes and to the fast-selling community.

Harvest Green, nestled in the Richmond area, has just acquired 630 acres adjacent to the neighborhood, according to ownership company Johnson Development.

That massive addition means some 1,400 homes that will be added to the agrihood-based development. Homesites should be ready for builders by the second quarter of 2022, per Jerry Ulke, general manager of Harvest Green, with sales expected to begin fall of 2022.

A key draw for Harvest Green is its 12-acre farm, which features fields of produce, an orchard, a vineyard, and pens for goats and chickens. Residents can join the farm club and access plots to grow their own produce (under the guidance of professional farmers). A popular farmers market is held the third Saturday of each month.

Meanwhile, future residents can also look forward to the Farmhouse recreation complex, with its fitness center and resort-style pool, trail, and a number of parks and playgrounds. The Messina Hof Harvest Green Winery & Kitchen (read the CultureMap story here) is also located onsite.

This new section will feature a variety of home styles, with designs for properties ranging from 40 feet wide to 75 feet wide, per press materials. Also on tap are additional community amenities, with parks, trails, green space, and a pool planned.

Residents will have access to existing Harvest Green amenities, including the Village Farm. As locals know, Oyster Creek winds through the new property for nearly two miles.

Currently, Harvest Green offers reasonably priced homes starting in the $300,000s by builders including Coventry Homes, David Weekley Homes, and Perry Homes.

"Our farm-themed community has resonated with buyers looking for a more sustainable lifestyle," Ulke continued in a press release.

"The past two years, Harvest Green has ranked among the nation's 50 top-selling master-planned communities, and last year we sold nearly 500 new homes. Because of last year's robust sales, builders had fewer than 100 homesites for all of 2021. This additional land will meet that obvious demand."

For more information, visit the official Harvest Green website.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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