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B2B augmented reality and how it’s shaping modern marketing

Author Jude Peppis

Author Jude Peppis

Tues 2nd Oct 2018

Augmented reality meaning: “computer-generated content overlaid on a real world environment.”

It sounds like something in a sci-fi film. In reality, it is anything but. Augmented reality moved into the mainstream with the Pokemon Go phenomenon of 2016. The technology has developed greatly over the last two years and B2B augmented reality is whipping up a storm. There is so much potential for it but, as yet, it has been relatively underutilised. However, this is set to change with augmented reality expected to have one billion users by 2020.

What’s more is that by 2022, it is estimated that virtual reality will account for 40% of all experiences in B2B. VR is slightly different to AR in so much as it’s a totally fabricated world rather than enhancement of the real world. However, it still illustrates how the technology is infiltrating our lives in more ways than one for a fully immersive experience.

Here’s our favourite examples of B2B augmented reality in practice. It may provide a little inspiration on how to bring a touch of make-believe into your marketing campaigns.

Creating a new vision

The most obvious use of B2B augmented reality is product placement. AR can be used to illustrate your products, services and business solutions in a new and engaging way. Using AR technology to visualise anything from how new office furniture to architectural blueprints would look in a real-world environment. A PWC report found that one in three US manufacturers are planning to use either VR or AR by the end of this 2018. In addition, 13% of said they were currently using it for customer engagement and communications. So, it could also help you to stand out amongst competitors who may not have factored B2B augmented reality into their business model just yet.

B2B Augmented Reality… in reality

AR demonstrations are a great way to attract an audience when at trade shows. A potential customer is able to view an entire product range, or test out a specific product, at the touch of a button. This is one way in which technology giant Cisco secured a piece of the B2B augmented reality pie. This has helped them to promote their AR product range whilst positioning themselves at the cutting edge of the technology.

B2B augmented reality for the greater good

B2B augmented reality technology can be used for some truly fantastic purposes to change, or even save, the lives of the people who use it. A great example of this is Lloyd’s Register, an engineering and technology firm, who created a VR experience to demonstrate how it provides training for and assistance in emergencies within the oil and gas industry. This use of B2B augmented reality provides the company with the opportunity to illustrate its expertise in a way which would otherwise be impossible. This realistic recreation could be worth its weight in gold if an emergency situation should arise.

The US Army is using AR to train the latest recruits by throwing them into a constructed reality of warfare. Not only does this free up time for soldiers and commanders but it also provides the most realistic and full sensory experience possible in a training environment. It also provides the capability to train whenever and wherever necessary, rather than just back at the camp. This is a truly an inspirational use of the technology in a non-consumer environment.

Taking a leaf from the consumer market

B2B augmented reality still very much growing but we will see it catching up by taking a leaf from B2C brands that are using technology well. One example which B2B businesses, particularly those that offer training and education services, is the from the literary world. could. Everyone knows The Very Hungry Caterpillar…right? Kids can bring the story to life in their own back garden via an app that implements AR. This type of AR gives children the opportunity to use their imaginations to build upon classic literature. Imagine if this type of technology was used in an educational setting? Expanding creative minds from an early age, encouraging children to explore and create while learning. But not just for the young ones. The new generation of plumbers, mechanics, fashion designers and more could all be learning via AR and VR technology in the very near future.

The future of B2B Augmented Reality

Business and augmented reality do go hand in hand as they can provide the insight and vision which lots of different industries and job functions can benefit from. Aside from being a bit of fun, this hasn’t really infiltrated into the business world yet – the failure of Google Glass being testament to that. That said, the global AR market is expected to grow from $11 billion (£8.5 billion) in 2018 to over $60 billion (£46.5 billion) in 2023. The VR market is also expected to jump from $7 billion (£5.4 billion) to $34 billion (£26.3 billion) in the next five years.  

To put it simply, B2B augmented reality is the evolution of QR codes.The technology needed for B2B augmented reality is out there. There is also no denying that both AR and VR are becoming a greater part of a cutting edge business equation. It also does not have to come at the great cost you may be imagining. So, show some innovation and originality by working B2B augmented reality into your marketing plans.  

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