Not so long ago, many enterprises started to get a little bit sidetracked by the idea that they all needed to adopt AR, VR, MR, drones, blockchain, trackers, face recognition or 3D printing without looking much into the business value or benefit of those technologies. The more trendy or better-sounding tech acronym they could find and use, the more boxes they could tick to appear more innovative.
Luckily, back then, most didn't need to do much. Less than five years ago, adding some Augmented Reality spectacle on a static poster as a part of a marketing campaign or even just "trying" to put tomatoes on a blockchain could have easily generated some impressive buzz and praise for innovation; however, 9 times out of 10, the hype was likely short-lived. If you ask why, the answer is that those 9 times out of 10, the use of technology was for technology's sake.
Today, we see emerging technologies turning into accelerating ones, and the 'wow' factor is not enough anymore. Now, businesses seek to adopt certain technologies for their value, benefits, and relevancy rather than as a "cherry on a cake" in an elaborate branding campaign.
With the growing consumer familiarity and reaching 'the trough of disillusionment' (a state in the Gartner hype cycle, which suggests that interest in certain technologies starts to wane once experiments and implementations fail to deliver), one popular discussion topic is whether there is at least one good practical use-case for Virtual Reality.
Although VR has made an impact in the gaming world, with the release of games, consoles, and headsets, the content out there is not readily available to consumers, and Virtual Reality remains, well, virtually absent from our daily lives.
While most of us shy away from VR movies or virtual hangouts, the technology is ideal for certain applications. This year, at the SAP Experience Center in Singapore, we found success in leveraging VR for customer presentations.
The immersive nature of VR allows some next-level content personalisation. For example, if a customer works in the automotive industry, during the VR-led engagement session, we would show them product demos in a virtual car manufacturing facility. Each experience would take customers into their familiar environment, where we would tell an industry-specific story, test their knowledge with a quiz, or walk through "a day in the life" of someone they work with.
Presentations in VR are not just 'cool' but also 100% attention-grabbing, as the audience has to completely abandon their realities. This means no phones, no distractions, and no way for anyone's mind to wander away. The presenter virtually becomes a 'voice of God', moving the subjects in the virtual space. So if you are not too sure about your public-speaking skills, ditch the PowerPoint and fear nothing when presenting in VR!
(Customer Presentation in VR at the SAP Experience Center in Singapore)
To prepare the material, we use an internal SAP one-stop-shop, where presenters can find, personalise, and prepare custom content for every customer engagement. Depending on ambition, experience prep with custom designs, rooms, and content could take up to 3-5 weeks. Luckily, turning a general PowerPoint deck into a short 10 min. VRIX experience for a customer visit would only take a few hours. With the introduction of VRIX to our center in January 2020, our team has successfully delivered 200+ demos to our SAP colleagues, we showcased the experience at the (APJ) SAPFKOM in Marina Bay Sands Expo in Singapore, and managed to deliver 7 VRIX to our visiting customers. Moving forward, we expect to continue to scale the immersive experience engagements as a part of our customer tours at the SAP Experience Center in Singapore.
(SAP Experience Center team in Singapore plans to organise VRIX training for our Presales & Sales teams, so please stay tuned!)