No matter where your staff works from day to day, everyone can easily collaborate across teams — communicating fluidly, accessing resources, finding information, brainstorming, and maintaining progress. This is possible thanks to advanced technologies, such as generative artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and machine learning (to name a few), which open the door to more immersive work experiences.
These innovations are coming at a crucial time, according to a recent study by Pew Research. This study showed that 53% of those who work from home at least some of the time report that the remote environment impacts their ability to connect with colleagues. And 41% of employees who work primarily from the office report that being around coworkers helps them feel more connected. While immersive technologies benefit remote workers, these technologies don’t just benefit office employees. They’re creating new experiences and opportunities for consumers and businesses at and below the enterprise level.
Immersive technologies help to carve out a fresh, personalized user experience across the buyer’s journey. As customers engage with a variety of brands to buy from, we are in a new position to impact that experience in a positive way, on a broader level, and along many touch points. This customer experience revolution also expands opportunities for people with disabilities and physical challenges. Immersive experiences reduce the friction of going to a physical location to transact business, buy, or get product help. We’ve seen a massive improvement in how disabled individuals can engage in the same way able-bodied customers do.
An interesting example was using AR glasses with a hearing-impaired customer who needed help troubleshooting a product problem. The AR glasses enabled real-time visual transcription of the conversation with the product support team, making it possible for the customer to read and understand the full conversation. Imagine the frustration that experience eliminates for the customer and the sales associate or support team. Ultimately, the technology created an effective and satisfying experience for everyone.
Along with changes to customer experience, we are also seeing a rise in new entrepreneurs. This increase has fostered a user community-driven creator economy. More individuals have found they can effectively monetize their individual value in new ways. They are leveraging the same immersive technologies as mid- to enterprise-level businesses while partnering with others to deliver unique and compelling solutions to their clients. Together with the expanding B2B marketplace, entrepreneurs are operating within a globally open economy, creating new market niches and bringing to market products and services that are helping advance every industry.
3 Methods to Manage Immersive Technology Adoption
As the future of business begins to center on a variety of immersive aspects, any company that is not shaping strategy and investment with an immersive strategy and realistic investment will quickly find themselves behind in their industries. It’s a competitive must-have — just as when the internet was invented. With that in mind, let’s discuss guidelines on where to invest and prioritize for your organization.
1. Start with Value-Driven Use Cases Delivering ROI
We can probably all agree that immersive technologies are at varying stages of maturity. For instance, the metaverse is in its early stages, whereas AR and VR are well underway. The intersection of generative AI and virtual reality has enabled the creation of truly immersive experiences. Generative AI enables the interactive generation of VR environments based on user inputs. Before determining if and what technologies suit your company, identify use cases that deliver leadership value, innovation, and efficiency.
To identify suitable alternatives that leverage advanced technologies and shape immersive experiences, consider existing areas where you have known business challenges. For example, we’re seeing swift augmentation in the retail shopping experience. Amazon, Sherwin-Williams, and many housing businesses let you visualize any object, paint, or furniture in your space by using a “view in your room” feature. And glasses retailers, like Ray-Ban’s retail website, make it possible to virtually try glasses frames on your face.
In this environment and economy, it’s important to reap the early benefits and leapfrog the competition in the early adoption stages. While it’s realistic to expect organizational needs and technology to continue to evolve, focus early on low-hanging initiatives that drive quantifiable impact. In parallel, explore alternative business models that can drive large-scale business transformation, innovation, and revenue.
2. Secure Stakeholder Collaboration with a Data-Driven Approach
Ultimately, a data-driven approach and stakeholder collaboration can help identify the most suitable use cases for immersive experience technology. When creating and shaping change in any organization, it’s best to secure executive sponsorship from the leadership team. This further enables success in the scale and adoption of other new initiatives.
A recent metaverse study done by Wipro polled companies in the U.S., U.K., and Germany on how they viewed and were preparing for the metaverse within their enterprises. Eight out of every 10 respondents agreed the metaverse would enhance businesses by making them more immersive. This was an astounding level of cross-country alignment among many industries.
In the near future, advanced technologies will become core and critical to enterprise success. We will continue to see evolution as more industries test and discover what’s possible. Together, we’ll collectively dive deeper into the best ways to implement within various industries with an eye toward efficiency, revenue generation, and business growth based on experiences that transform customers into loyal followers.
The sooner your business plans for and adopts immersive technologies, the more opportunities you will have to outsmart and outpace the competition.
3. Establish a Center of Excellence and a Foundational Team
Immersive experience delivery calls for the right people. It’s an intelligent strategy to establish a practice developer community with representation from tech power users across the technology stack who will foster the adoption of technology. While technology is critical to the success of immersive experiences, your people will ultimately drive its adoption and use within your business, together with executive leadership reinforcement.
Behind your foundational team, you need a center of excellence. The COE will enable different technology and business stakeholders to come together to develop strategy and direction. The COE can evangelize the potential of immersive technology with different business lines, helping them to identify the right use cases with high-value potential. The COE can also provide governance around best practices and guidelines during the development cycles.
As you’d imagine, the initial COE team becomes the foundation of your immersive business practice, representing teams from across the organization. This is your ground crew for accelerating solution development with your specific business needs in mind while enabling you to apply the desired strategy and implementation across the organization.
Start Your Immersive Journey
Don’t delay or fall behind. By prioritizing personnel development, identifying suitable use cases, and taking a proactive approach to implementation, businesses can harness the power of immersive experience technology and stay ahead of the curve. Early adopters will have a special advantage that latecomers will miss: the ability to leverage brand visibility and time to sharpen their approach. So, start now and prepare for an exciting time in the years ahead.
Originally published on ReadWrite.