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Virtual and Augmented Reality: Where Are We Now?

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Both a logical evolution of use and digital revolution, virtual reality and augmented reality unleash passions and speculations. One after the other, the giants of the web embark on the adventure carrying in their wakes a slow, but constant democratization. Prices are falling and development platforms are becoming more accessible to agencies and studios.

The jargon is evolving too. We speak about XR, VR, AR and MR to designate these new modes that interest brands, seeing it as a new territory of relatively virgin expression to distinguish themselves and offer new experiences to their customers and users. So what can we make of this? Epiphenomenon or true groundswell? Is it time to jump in or wait a little? We tackle the question.

Augmented reality, for enriching our daily life

What is it?

Augmented reality consists of superimposing virtual content on a real environment through the use of a smartphone, a tablet, a headset or connected glasses. We look around through a screen that displays information that can be fun in the context of games, informational in the context of historical or sightseeing discoveries, or practical in the workplace.

It is a technology that is not new in itself, but is gaining momentum, especially since Apple has opened its development kit for professionals. Anyone can therefore create an augmented reality application for iOS, as is also the case for Android with Google.

Examples and best practices

In messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger or Snapchat, filters that transform your face or add virtual elements, are examples of augmented reality. Using the shape of your face, the application superimposes a layer of new information that you can use or share.

You are probably familiar with the mobile game Pokemon Go which became a hit 2016. This is probably the most popular use of augmented reality in the context of a game. For its part, IKEA has launched an augmented reality application called “Ikea Place?, allowing the integration of furniture or elements of virtual decoration with a real environment. A great way to see what your new bedroom or redecorated living room will look like. Google Glass had been much talked about since 2013, before being suspended. They are coming back now with a more professional orientation for workers in the factory, workshop or shipping, to communicate and share information.

Is it time to get involved?

Yes. The technology has matured and the public is familiar with augmented reality. In tourism, fashion, decoration, consumer goods or industry, in B2B or B2C, everything is conducive to creating augmented content. It’s differentiating and it’s also a way to get ahead and gain significant in-house experience.

Virtual reality, for an immersive experience

What is it?

Virtual reality is about creating a whole new virtual environment, immersive and accessible only from a helmet that plunges its user into a new world. Physical movements in the real world are thus reproduced in the virtual world.

Virtual reality is a technology that has made great progress in the last few years. This is a strong trend that has been carried by Facebook with its Oculus Rift. They see in virtual reality the next realm of social expression.

Examples and best practices

In video games, virtual reality creates a completely new experience. From the simple roller coaster ride to the combat on a hostile planet, it is a technology that revolutionizes the way we play. Some initiatives go even further by creating virtual worlds in which players can move freely, such as The Void.

Beyond games, other sectors of activities use virtual reality to bring a new dimension to their products or services. In real estate, it allows you to visit an apartment or a house without leaving the sofa; For tourism, you can get an insight into your next trip in an immersive way; in the porn industry, virtual reality adult films bring a whole new experience, and for the general public, YouTube even has considerable content made for virtual reality.

For fashion and retail, customers can virtually experiment with apparel, and virtual reality looks like the next step in the ongoing digital transformation. In shipping, UPS drivers in the United States are starting to train with virtual reality . Events, concerts, conferences can also be viewed in virtual reality for people at a distance. A way to diversify and monetize content.

Examples and best practices

Yes, if the culture of innovation is part of your DNA, if you have the means and if your audience can be receptive to this type of effort. If not, you can remain connected to the news about virtual reality. The price of entry into this market is still high and generally reserved for the large brands.

Widely used in video games, virtual reality is a world to conquer for brand content managers. The differences in prices, and therefore experiences, between the Oculus Rift and the Google Cardboard also fragment the market. A market that is attentive and that prepares itself little by little for this new transformation.

More accessible and immediately usable, augmented reality is in full development. More promising and more immersive, virtual reality is democratizing slowly. Two technologies that all analysts greatly anticipate for the coming months could well upset the codes and rules of the game in terms of content and within marketing departments.

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