10 steps in executing a successful Virtual Reality project
An easy guide highlighting practical steps in adopting VR project from ideation to deployment to user feedback.
In this digital era, technology is evolving with the speed of light. While we all like to overachieve with new tech, it is essential to set realistic and measurable goals that help us improve and fine-tune our approach.
So ever wondered what VR is precisely and how can you use it to optimize your business? Do these questions often bother you as a marketer? Read the following to sort your query regarding VR. The key highlights of the blog are:
What is VR?
The term Virtual Reality was coined in 1987 by Jaron Lanier, whose research and engineering contributed several products to the nascent VR industry.
As Britannica(2) defines, Virtual Reality (VR) is the use of computer modeling and simulation that enables a person to interact with an artificial three-dimensional (3-D) visual or another sensory environment. VR applications immerse the user in a computer-generated environment that simulates reality and creates the illusion of 'being there.' This is done using interactive devices, which send and receive information in real-time and are worn as goggles, headsets, gloves, or bodysuits.
Benefits of VR
- As per Marketsandmarkets(3), in 2020, the global VR market accounted for $6.1 billion, and it is projected to reach $20.9 billion by 2025. The market's key driving force is the growing affordability of VR-enabled hardware.
- As per Marketsandmarkets, 61% of businesses believe that VR is beneficial. Out of them, 23% already use VR in practice, 21% introduce VR right now, and 18% plan to introduce VR soon.
Currently, one of the strongest arguments against adopting a VR strategy is the relatively low user numbers. But when it comes to opting for VR, Forbes has listed few reasons like high sensory impact, presence in real-time, 100% user attention, emotional experience, flexibility, and transportive.
With immersive experience, VR heightens all the senses and lets you feel it in real-time. It lets you live a story rather than being a passive observer. Such an experience leads to more engagement. This interactive medium can boost confidence, cognitive skills, and performance. On a more practical level, VR can help brands offer a 'try before you buy' experience for a product that has not been launched.
With different formats for different objectives, budgets, and deadlines, virtual reality does offer something for everyone. For example, there is 360 video at one end that can be viewed on YouTube, Facebook with a head-mounted display (HMD). On the other end, there is fully interactive content, created in a game engine and enjoyed via high-end, PC-powered HMDs like an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.
Steps to successfully execute a VR project
Assuming that the need to communicate about your product or concept is already established and now you are just exploring a new way, a Virtual Reality way, of communicating and engaging your audience.
Here are 10 steps to help you embrace Virtual Reality as the next new customer experience:
1. Start with ‘why’-
Virtual Reality is an upcoming and promising technology that everyone wants to explore; however, it is essential to look at it from a 'strategic' point of view. Would it help me accelerate my sales cycle or deliver faster and practical training on my product? Are some of the questions to be considered. Aligning the use of VR to your tangible outcomes will be an important first step to achieve ultimate success.
This second step is very crucial for the performance and execution of the project. You must identify the challenge and chalk out the exact plan. It is essential to decide which stage of the buyer journey you want to implement VR, whether at a consideration stage or a decision stage. You may crowdsource your ideas from your team, partners, or even customers and use a well-known methodology like 'Design Thinking' to flush your idea out.
3. Start small with an existing product –
Note that VR-based enablement has been successful, but you may need to start small. This way, you always have a fallback in case your experiment with VR requires adaptation. Go through few iterations to make it right for you before you roll it out big. You need to be patient and open to learnings out of such experiments. You must adapt and not give up.
4. Choosing the right TA for initial rollout –
Initial users are significant for successfully adopting new technology like VR. For example, the right set of tech-savvy surgeons and open to experimenting with new tech like VR would be best for a VR-based surgical experience. Such initial TA helps you gain insight and improve before you roll out to a more significant TA or adopt for a broader set of products.
5. Establish success metrics that are measurable and achievable –
Just like establishing KPIs for your new product, the right set of KPIs for the use of VR will help you determine its success. Typical KPIs for executing VR would be 'average user engagement time,' 'ease of use ranking,' 'customer satisfaction ranking', and 'demo to sales conversions.' Additionally, you may track cost-related parameters to measure the ROI of the investment.
6. Right VR development agency –
Once you are ready to plunge, the most key step is to find the right VR agency, someone with an apt skill set and experience. Good to have an agency that understands your business, your specific goals and helps others in a similar domain. Identify an agency with a good tech team, from hardware specialists to programmers and storytellers to designers.
7. Deployment of VR –
A well-defined plan for VR deployment will help you ease out the pains of commissioning and adopting VR amongst your user base. There are many simplified methods to deploy VR through enterprises globally. Work with your VR development agency to ensure the right deployment plan is put in place from the beginning.
8. Technology support –
Virtual Reality is ultimately a technology and requires good tech support to ensure smooth and uneventful operations of VR while in use. This is something your IT team and your VR agency can help you with.
9. Hygiene and maintenance –
Hygiene becomes a concern when multiple people use the same shared hardware as VR goggles. Good hygiene of VR headsets accounts for better adoption of VR experience. Choosing from sanitizing cleaners to wearing disposable masks and accessories can address most people's concerns around hygiene. Similarly, proper maintenance of the VR goggles can ensure longer life and ROI.
Know that, albeit virtual, VR still takes up real estate. Account for storage and play areas. Unless the application is designed to be used while seated, a minimum size of 2 m x 2 m is recommended. And some intense real estate can be required if the deployment is large scale.
10. Upgrades and improvements -
For Virtual Reality to succeed, the technology needs to offer solutions to ease the challenges. And to be able to do that, you must have technical support that is compatible and inclusive of day-to-day developments. Keep an eye on the market for improved tools and updated software.
You should take time to collect user data for measuring the success of your VR experience. This essential information gives you the tools to improve that project over time based on how users navigate the experience. Must do adjustments and improvements soon after the first testing or demo itself.
Ethosh – an experienced, skilled, enterprise-focused VR agency
Ethosh has been helping businesses create differentiating Virtual Reality experiences for over 6 years. Since its early days, Ethosh has helped its customer deploy VR for the first time to helping them adopt VR enterprise-wide. Our combined expertise in VR strategy, design, development, training, and support is the right mix that you are looking for in a good VR agency.
Reference and Citation-
Rogers, S. (2018, November 2). Six Reasons Why Marketers And Brands Need VR. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/solrogers/2018/11/02/marketers-and-brands-need-vr-heres-six-reasons-why/?sh=43e34c8e1395
Virtual reality | computer science. (n.d.). Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved August 18, 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/technology/virtual-reality
Virtual Reality Market. (n.d.). Marketsandmarkets. Retrieved August 18, 2021, from https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/reality-applications-market-458.html