AR and VR applications will creep into our everyday lives as part of the fabric of our customer experience, writes Daryn Mason
The best customer experiences are often ambient; they just happen without you noticing. To get this right, organisations need to focus on personalisation and effortless execution. And they need to do this at scale.
This is why AI and machine learning (ML) are so important for CX. AI and ML are slowly creeping into all aspects of customer experience, from online chat services to voice assistants in our home. As we browse the web, we’re offered products and services based on our intent. And even our favourite video on-demand service seems to know what we like to watch. This is a silent technology revolution that most of are not even aware of.
Extended Reality (XR)
What about those leading-edge technologies extending our perception of the world: virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)? This category – collectively known as extended reality (XR) – seems to have been waiting in the wings for a while, never taking centre stage.
It would be fair to say that mainstream use of XR has so far been limited to gaming applications with few organisations being brave enough to launch consumer applications aimed at extending the customer experience.
As with any new technology, it will take time for it to find its true place in the channel mix. Early versions might be a little clunky and unattractive. It’s a great time for companies to experiment and test the tech with their early adopters.
Are XR Technologies Polished Enough?
From a customer experience perspective, AR shows great potential for commercial organisations, since for basic AR applications you only need your trusty smartphone. In 2016 Nintendo launched one of the most popular smartphone games in recent years – Pokémon Go! It achieved 500 million downloads in its first year and was based on AR and location-based technologies. This was an excellent testing ground for AR technology and drew the attention of commercial developers looking to exploit AR.
In terms of wearable tech for AR, the industry is holding its breath for the relaunch of Google Glass (although this is likely to be initially targeted at professional industries for workforce applications).