Why Proving ROI From VR/AR Is More Important Than Ever

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A lot has changed in the past couple weeks.

Like many other companies, our team has adjusted to working from home.

There’s a universal loss of normalcy as the world comes to grips with this pandemic.

But I believe immersive technologies are more important than ever to keep us connected to each other.

The overall economic loss has been unprecedented. In the US alone, a record 3.3 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the last week.

Consequently, resources are restrained, people are let go and budgets are cut.

In this blog, I’ll highlight some actionable tips for dealing with the economic impact and why it’s more crucial than ever to prove the value and ROI from VR/AR.

The economic picture

Image credit: Business Insider

Entire industries have been decimated and a lot of companies are struggling.

Not everyone can afford to continue investing in VR, especially if you don’t have a way to prove its value in measurable dollars.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t understand the enormous benefits of using VR. It’s up to you to prove the value to them.

It’s also important to remember that recessions have happened before and that we’ll eventually get through it.

How did the winners from previous recessions separate themselves from the losers? What did they do differently?

While most companies dramatically cut their costs and went into survival mode. A study from McKinsey in 2002 of 1,000 companies found that the most successful companies “traded short term profitability for long-term gain, [and] refocused rather than cut spending.” They “spent significantly more on selling, general, and administrative (SG&A) costs than companies that lost their market leadership.”

Measured and thoughtful investments put these companies ahead of the rest of the pack.

In another study by Bain, they concluded that companies that struggled post-recession had often “switched to survival mode, making deep cuts and reacting defensively.” That “survival mode” meant “that they later must spend far more than they saved.

Of course, not all companies have luxury to do anything other than survive. But if you can help it, now is not the time to cut all your costs.

Instead it should be a time for deep reflection of your business.

You need to make a cost benefit analysis for whether VR/AR is providing dividends.

The only way you can do that is with proper data and insight into what’s working and what isn’t.

Why immersive tech is here to stay

Image Credit: Visual Hunt

There’s been a significant shift in our society as people have been forced to work from home.

Even traditional companies have been forced to accommodate flexible working arrangements.

Large corporations have completely restructured their operations to accommodate.

As people spend more time online, our habits will change also.

But at the end of the day we crave connections. Videos and teleconferencing will solve this gap for now.

As immersive technologies advance, it’ll largely replace our 2D forms of media. In the near future, increased accessibility and improved user experience will make VR/AR communications more prevalent.

VR/AR offers a strong alternative to traditional mediums because it makes people feel like they're together.

“The inability to meet and communicate face to face will be an increasing challenge for the world, but extended reality (XR) can be one solution,” said HTC China president, Alvin W. Graylin. “To stay safe these days, we need to create more distance between people and, conversely, one of the biggest benefits of XR is the ability to remove the perception of distance and boundaries for users.”

For example, some companies have been thriving, Spatial.io is a company that uses AR to help people work together.

Jacob Lowenstein from Spatial.io said they “tripled usage across all headsets … in the last month alone and usage numbers are accelerating … inbound interest today has increased more than 400% since January.”

The mother of invention is necessity and people will find a way to stay connected. There’ll be increasing demand for new apps, solutions and services.

These events will hasten our transition into digital realities as this tech becomes increasingly intertwined into our daily lives.

How will you set your company up for success in the future?

Why it's not time to cut all costs

Image Credit: Jp Valery

Are you in position to fulfill this growing need?

You must have an analytics solution to capture actionable insights from the data you collect in VR.

Only then will you know whether you’re on the right track.

What are your specific business goals that you’re looking to address with VR/AR?

The implementation of VR/AR has the potential to dramatically improve your business results.

But it requires a measured approach, lots of time and investment.

First, you have to outline your overall strategy and establish expectations. How will this tech solve your goals?

Then you must work with vendors to develop the 3D content and build realistic simulations for your goals. For example, in training you must match learning outcomes with how the training programs are designed.

Most importantly, you need measurable KPIs to track your progress and the success of your implementation.

Is VR/AR the right solution for your business?

The benefits from some use cases like training are immediately obvious. There are numerous studies that have shown its effectiveness in relation to traditional methods.

After all, people learn MUCH better by doing than by reading or watching.

Other use cases may not be as clear, so it’s important to make sure VR/AR is the right solution for your needs.

How will you measure the success of a VR/AR deployment?

How are you collecting data from your 3D experiences?

You need to prove what you’re doing is working and generating results.

Whether that’s hours saved in labor, improved knowledge retention, improved safety or increased ROI. Revisit the KPIs that you established when planning your projects and ensure that you’re meeting them.

Without an actionable plan, it can be difficult to prove to stakeholders that investments into VR/AR are worth keeping in these uncertain times.

Long term thinking for long term success

By investing in an immersive future, you’re investing into the success of your company.

Eventually the economy will recover and the pandemic will be behind us.

It’s easy to get stuck in the weeds, but as shown by past recessions, it’s just as important to think strategically about how you’re going to position your company long term.

For the time being, physical isolation will build new habits and increase the demand for immersive technologies to keep us connected.


Posted by Albert Liu
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