A few weeks ago, Dana Xavier Dojnik asked me to join an emerging tech panel of women at the VR/AR Atlanta Meetup. Dana is a strategist at You Are Here, one of stable|kernel’s agency partners. I also was joined by VR visionary Cathy Hackl (VR Evangelist at HTC Vive), Nikkia Adolphe (PR Director at Media Frenzy Global) and Marcy Leamy (Program Manager at You Are Here).
Each of the panelists brought a unique perspective to the panel. Some are immersed in VR daily, others help tell the stories of VR products, and others like me who use VR for clients who are leveraging tech to meet business needs.
I’m newer to the AR/VR space than most of my distinguished panelists, but recently, I’ve seen how these technologies have evolved to be less about flash and more about value. I’ve always thought AR and VR were for gamers – and I’ve never been a gamer except for my 80s-era Galaga and Ms. Pac-Man arcade skills. But that changed a few years ago when I first attended the Atlanta Mobile Marketing Org.’s meetup. They combined efforts with another AR Meetup Group and were showcasing unique marketing campaigns leveraging AR.
Real Business Value with AR
A case study of how Tokyo’s Sunshine Aquarium really grabbed my attention. Located about 1.5 km from the train station, tourists had trouble finding it. So they introduced an AR to their app and used penguin tour guides to lead users from the train station to the Aquarium. Sunshine Aquarium saw more than 150% increase in foot traffic. That’s when I thought, “Oh hey, there’s more to this tech than just video game stuff!”
As I became more immersed in the mobile tech world, I began to see how industries are incorporating AR and VR into their suite of digital tools. We started using it with our client Rheem to train technicians on servicing Rheem products. This AR drawing video chat application allows them to get real-time instruction from a Rheem specialist on installing and repairing Rheem equipment. It’s a pretty cool AR experience, and the technology is empowering technicians to better serve customers and represent the Rheem brand. That’s true business value.
Most companies don’t get into VR or AR first. They start out looking at the ways a modern tech stack can help them advance their businesses, and how software products can improve their operations or provide profit/cost savings or even just brand engagement. As their trusted product team, our clients turn to us to learn more about what’s happening in the tech space and how they can leverage technology for their organizations. Even though AR and VR are not at the core of stable|kernel’s capabilities, it’s important for us to be able to talk through how all emerging tech can provide value to our clients. So we are actively educating ourselves and partnering with organizations like You Are Here and others to bring in subject matter expertise.
We’re also building out proofs of concept for a few of our manufacturing clients to help them imagine what value AR can bring to their organizations. Integrating AR/VR helps our clients position themselves as innovative market leaders, which is one of our number one goals for any client project.
Emerging tech is helping us open up new conversations and discover where AR and VR fit in our clients’ product roadmaps. Maybe they have a priority use case for it right now, or maybe they want to revisit it later after they solve some more pressing business or operations challenges with mobile first. By keeping a pulse on what’s new, what’s possible and what’s valuable, we’re opening up a world of possibilities for our clients as they modernize and position themselves ahead of their competition as innovative leaders in their industries.