January, 2018
Innovation & Trends

Virtual and Augmented Reality: Technologies with potential for e-business? – Part 1

At e-sphere we foster an open exchange of ideas – with no hierarchies, no boundaries, no prohibitions. This is where the best ideas emerge, with which we can drive our projects forward and expand our range of services.

This time Felix, Łukasz and Jaromir talk about their first experiences with Virtual and Augmented Reality – to find out how innovative technologies can be used in e-business solutions.

…  everyone was talking about Google Glass …

Felix: I think it was around 2013, when I first came into contact with Augmented Reality – at that time everyone was talking about Google Glass, and soon everyone would be walking around with those glasses that provide you with real-time information on the go. The first mass-capable virtual reality systems must have emerged around this time as well…

Jaromir: Augmented reality has already become firmly established in the consumer sector – just think of the corresponding features for smartphone cameras or RFID solutions. In my opinion, VR only plays a bigger role in the gaming sector. For e-business, this is still a dream for the future.

… suddenly you’re standing in the living room, looking out at the pool …

Łukasz: Well, I wouldn’t quite say that. During an internship at a small start-up company, we developed an app for the housing market. With the help of VR gear such as Google’s Oculus Rift, you were able to go on a virtual tour of real estate objects anywhere in the world. All the brokers had to do was load 360-degree shots of the buildings and rooms into the app and click to put together the virtual tour with a bit of drag & drop.

Felix: And what was your impression?

Łukasz: I just thought Wow, that’s great! Imagine you are a big fish in New York and want to spend $5,000,000 on a villa in Zurich. So, you stop by your estate agent’s in Manhattan. He puts on the VR helmet and shows you some objects in Switzerland. Suddenly you’re standing in the living room looking out at the pool. And this is just the beginning….

 … too conspicuous, too complicated, too clumsy …

Felix: Well, my first impressions have disappointed me. With the iPhone, Apple has managed to revolutionize mobile technology – because the iPhone was both aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly. With the first AR and VR systems, I knew straight away that they would not succeed – too conspicuous, too complicated, too clumsy. But today I have a slightly different opinion.

Jaromir: I think it’s the right way to get information about the objects in the area. Whoever develops e-business solutions or operates a web shop should pay close attention to the further development of AR technologies. For VR, I don’t see many more possibilities in a web shop than displaying 360-degree views of products. The further potential of VR is still difficult to assess here.

… the potential of both technologies is enormous …

Łukasz: I agree with you, Jaromir. Despite my initial positive experiences, I am still very cautious about forecasts of how VR will assert itself in e-business. It is simply not yet possible to say whether VR can lead to significant sales increases.

Felix: In my opinion, the potential of both technologies is enormous. The most important question is: How can AR and VR be used in a user-friendly way? For me, it’s therefore all about combining hardware and software appropriately and developing it further together with real people.

I still see the future of VR lying in the creation of experiences, i.e. on a very emotional level – for example, being put into the past or visiting distant places by means of VR.

Jaromir: That sounds pretty vague, Felix. Do you already have any more precise ideas for Augmented Reality where development will lead?

Felix: At Augmented Reality, I wonder how it could change our customers’ business models….

In a few days’ time, the second part of our conversation will give you further insight into how virtual and augmented reality technologies could influence private life and the world of work. Do we have to adapt to significant social changes?

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