Are virtual and augmented reality worth the hype?

The future of digital marketing is here—or is it?

People have been touting virtual and augmented reality for years, but the
tandem technologies have yet to take hold. Brand managers and consumers
have been hesitant to dive into this emerging yet widely misunderstood

MDG Advertising has produced an infographic that explains the difference between virtual reality (VR) and augmented
reality (AR), how organizations and brand managers are using each, and a
few bold predictions about where the technologies are heading.

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The infographic points out that AR is used to enhance physical surroundings
by overlaying content amid real-world objects. VR, meanwhile, offers an
immersive experience that “transports users into another realm” via
surround sound and 360-degree video. Most VR requires a headset, whereas AR
can be implemented through an app or specialized eyewear.

Coca-Cola has created a VR sleigh ride with Santa, Tom’s has a “virtual giving trip” that simulates a charitable experience in Peru, and Marriott is using VR
to offer 360-degree tours of their hotels.

Meanwhile, Ray Ban is using AR for its “virtual try-on,”
which gives you an idea of how sunglasses will fit your face. Northern
Lighting uses AR to let shoppers visualize what certain pieces would look
like in their homes.

If you have reservations about all this, you’re not alone. The graphic says
only 8 percent of organizations are using virtual reality; a mere 7 percent
are implementing augmented reality. The graphic cites three barriers
preventing AR and VR from infiltrating mainstream marketing:

  • Inadequate content offerings
  • Reluctance about new technology
  • Technological limitations

The infographic cites predictions that there will be 154 million VR headset
users by 2020 and that the combined market for VR and AR will reach $120
billion by the same year.

Many wait to see whether immersive technologies will ever fulfill their
perceived potential. Will the fad fade into obscurity, shape the future of
content production or land somewhere in between? Read the rest of the
infographic below, and decide for yourself.

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