Article

Redefining next-gen customer experiences using extended reality

Ramakrishna Naidu Kapa,

Senior Director - Content & Customer Experience

Published: July 21, 2022

Customer interactions with brands have recently evolved, impacting the overall customer experience (CX). Brands are rethinking their CX roadmap and strategy to account for increasing interactions. Fortunately, with the inclusion of Extended Reality (XR), brands identify new opportunities to create immersive customer experiences.  

As CX becomes more immersive, the line between physical and virtual continues to blur. In the past, XR technologies were used in gaming, social media, and entertainment. However, with the evolution of intelligent assistants, video chat, and hologram technology, there are numerous use cases for XR across industries to enhance customer experiences. Artificial intelligence technologies such as natural language processing (NLP), voice and facial recognition, and image and video analysis will fuel next-generation CX with XR. 

What is Extended Reality (XR)?

XR encompasses immersive technologies that integrate the physical with the virtual. XR technologies include virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). According to a report from marketsandmarkets.com, the XR market grew from USD 33.0 billion in 2021 and will reach USD 125.2 billion by 2026, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.6% during the forecast period.

Let's take a closer look at different types of XR. 

  • Virtual Reality (VR): Refers to immersive technology that transports the user into an imaginary or virtual world that simulates the real world using a headset or goggles. Examples of VR include walking on Mars, swimming in the ocean while in your living room, or stepping into an alternate reality or world created by VR developers.
  • Augmented Reality (AR): Users experience a version of the natural world overlaid with virtual content through smart devices. Examples of AR include Pokémon Go and Snapchat filters that place digital objects such as hats, glasses, or other designs over the user's photos and videos.
  • Mixed Reality (MR): A combination of AR and VR places the user into both the virtual world (VR) and the real world (AR) simultaneously. In mixed reality, digital and real-world objects co-exist and interact in real-time. An example of MR is Microsoft's HoloLens, which allows you to place digital objects in your space and gives you the ability to interact with the objects, such as picking them up, putting them down, or spinning them around. 

XR provides boundless possibilities for businesses to create new and innovative customer experiences.

Retail

Build interactive customer experiences for online and in-store shopping

"Try on before you buy" with 3D avatars to Place furniture into your living room using your smartphone.  

Healthcare

Study and treat the human body

  • Diagnose diseases using life-size 3D models of the human body 
  • Conduct response training for pandemic-related and other dangerous 

Education and training

Learn through immersive experiences without limits

  • Create global education and training accessible anywhere 
  • Explore opportunities for growth and learning without travel or relocation costs
  • Collaborate with experts remotely when field technicians are on assignment 

XR in action

Organizations using XR today

  • Gap Inc. acquired an eCommerce startup called Draper to allow customers to create 3D avatars of themselves to virtually try on clothing 
  • NASA is experimenting with XR to train its repair and maintenance workers in the space station
  • Boeing technicians use AR headsets while working on maintenance checklists to reduce their inspection time  
  • Walmart equips employees with Oculus headsets and VR training to boost employee morale and improve efficiency

What are some benefits and precautions of XR? 

XR technology delivers a unique user experience, fosters customer loyalty, and builds brand awareness. With XR, customers are transported virtually to different places and even attend events without leaving the comfort of home. Customer engagement rates will increase once brands start to use XR technology as a part of their marketing strategies by giving customers immediate and interactive access to products and services throughout the buying process.

XR designers are responsible for creating and implementing designs in the real world and gauging how people will realistically engage with the finished products. 

XR companies are responsible for conducting thorough analyses of human behavior and psychology to ensure the proper techniques get instilled into designing immersive experiences. Not doing so can result in harmful outcomes. XR can cause simple accidents, like an individual using a Google AR map may collide with another person on route to the desired destination, or more severe consequences if not appropriately designed.  

Leverage XR to enhance CX for your organization

Extended Reality (XR) provides innovative and unique ways to interact with customers. 5G technology and edge computing will increase the adoption of XR resources into business operations and everyday life. There are open-source solutions available on the market today that are already redefining the VR, AR, and MR content streaming experience. XR tools enhance customer experience and adopting 5G and edge will ensure sustainable network performances for flawless XR execution.

Ramakrishna Naidu Kapa

Ramakrishna Naidu Kapa

Senior Director - Content & Customer Experience

Ramakrishna brings over 18+ years of rich experience in the IT industry spanning content management, digital marketing, business development, competency development, and consulting experience.

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