Top Virtual Trends in the Automotive Industry
The automotive industry is known for its willingness to implement the use of new technologies. Throughout its history, the industry has evolved as a result of new technological developments starting with the internal combustion engine and more recently, the electric vehicle. One technology that is becoming increasingly popular within the automotive industry today is virtual reality. This technology can be used to transport users to a simulated environment. Because it is a fully immersive experience, users can even interact with and explore their virtual environment. Although it is often associated with gaming, virtual reality technology has recently taken the automotive industry by storm. How is it used? Here are some of the top virtual trends in the automotive industry: VIRTUAL SHOWROOMS Research shows that automotive consumers are interested in completing as much of the car buying process as possible online rather than in a dealership. This includes the process of researching and exploring vehicles. In fact, Google reports that two-thirds of automotive consumers are comfortable with moving this step of the car buying process online. To meet this demand, many automotive companies now allow consumers to use their smartphone or computer to explore vehicles in a virtual showroom. Inside a virtual showroom, consumers can explore virtual three-dimensional models of various types of vehicles. They can walk around the vehicle, rotate it to view it from different angles, and open the door to explore the interior. They can even see what the vehicle looks like in different colors. Automotive consumers use the virtual showroom experience to learn more about different vehicles, compare their options, and decide which vehicle is right for them. Making this decision at home allows them to save time at the dealership, which may improve their shopping experience. In other words, automotive consumers can now get the showroom experience without ever stepping foot inside an actual showroom, and it’s all thanks to virtual reality technology. Top Virtual Trends in the Automotive Industry [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Virtual-Test-Drives.jpg] VIRTUAL TEST DRIVES About two-thirds of automotive consumers consider the test drive an important step in the car buying process. Many of these consumers worry that if the car buying process shifts online, they won’t be able to test drive different vehicles before deciding which one they want to purchase. However, this won’t be a problem due to the power of virtual reality technology. A growing number of auto manufacturers and dealers are offering consumers the opportunity to take virtual test drives of different vehicles. Automotive consumers don’t need a virtual reality headset to experience a virtual test drive. Consumers can take a test drive with just a smartphone or computer, which makes this feature accessible to everyone. Taking a virtual test drive gives consumers the chance to see what it’s like to sit behind the wheel of a vehicle. They can take it on the virtual road to see how it drives and even look around to explore the interior while the car is in motion. This option allows consumers to conduct more extensive research about their options online, so they can reduce the amount of time they spend at the dealership once they are ready to make a purchase. Top Virtual Trends in the Automotive Industry [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Virtual-Vehicle-Prototypes.jpg] VIRTUAL VEHICLE PROTOTYPES In the past, automotive engineers had to construct bulky, expensive physical prototypes when designing new vehicles. Every time a change was made to the design, they were required to build a new prototype. This process is not only time-consuming, but it’s also expensive. Now, automotive manufacturers can save time and money on the design process by using virtual reality technology. Instead of spending weeks creating a physical prototype, engineers can build a virtual model of a new design in a matter of hours. If a change is requested, they can quickly adjust the virtual model rather than build a new prototype from scratch. This reduces the time it takes to finalize new designs so manufacturers can quickly get new vehicles into production. Designing with virtual reality also makes it easier for engineers to collaborate. The entire engineering team, regardless of where they are located, can meet in the virtual environment to examine the design and provide feedback. This means engineers located all around the world can come together to work on a virtual model. IN-CAR ENTERTAINMENT The automotive industry has designed vehicles with radios, CD players, and infotainment systems in an effort to keep passengers entertained. But now, some automotive companies are starting to explore the possibility of using virtual reality to provide in-car entertainment to passengers. In 2019, Audi introduced Holoride, an in-car virtual reality experience, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Passengers can use Holoride to access a wide range of fun games powered by virtual reality technology. Holoride uses data from the vehicle to sync what happens in the game to what is happening in the real world. For example, if the car begins to accelerate, the user will start to move faster through the simulated environment. If the car turns, the user will turn in the same direction within the virtual world. This “motion-synchronized journey” makes the games more enjoyable and prevents the user from experiencing motion sickness. If this trend catches on, it could completely transform the driving experience for passengers. Top Virtual Trends in the Automotive Industry [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Employee-Training.jpg] EMPLOYEE TRAINING Another trend in the automotive industry is using virtual reality technology to train new employees. In the past, automotive engineers received basic training before putting their skills to the test under the supervision of experts. It’s common for engineers to make mistakes during this stage of training since they are still learning what to do. But every mistake could potentially damage expensive vehicle parts or heavy-duty machinery. These costly mistakes add up over time and cost manufacturers a significant amount of money. To avoid this problem, many manufacturers now train their engineers with virtual reality. This allows the engineers to get hands-on experience in a simulated environment. The engineers may still make mistakes, but they will occur in a simulated environment where they won’t cause damage. In addition to saving manufacturers money, virtual training also creates a safer work environment. Some of the mistakes made by engineers in training could put others in harm’s way. But no one is at risk of getting hurt in a simulated environment, so engineers can continue to freely practice until they are ready to put their skills to the test in the real world. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE SAFETY TESTING A number of automotive manufacturers and tech companies are currently building self-driving, or autonomous vehicles. To improve the safety of these vehicles, many companies are turning to virtual reality technology. An autonomous car is programmed with algorithms that are designed to help the vehicle safely handle any situation it encounters on the road. But anything could happen on the road, so it’s impossible to predefine every situation a vehicle could encounter. The best way to “teach” an autonomous vehicle what it should do in certain situations is to let it drive around, encounter as many scenarios as possible, and learn from its experience. Letting an autonomous vehicle essentially learn from its mistakes on the road is dangerous, which is why manufacturers are using virtual reality technology to train these vehicles instead. An autonomous vehicle can be connected to virtual reality software to experience countless traffic scenarios in a simulated environment. After each scenario, the vehicle can analyze its experience to improve its understanding of how to handle that specific situation. This software could significantly improve the safety of autonomous vehicles. VIRTUAL AUTO SHOWS Auto shows were cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, automotive manufacturers still wanted the opportunity to connect with consumers despite the COVID-19 restrictions. To solve this problem, many of them decided to host virtual auto shows instead of in-person events. Hosting a virtual auto show is typically far less expensive for auto manufacturers, which is why this trend will most likely stick around even after the pandemic is over. A virtual auto show also helps automotive manufacturers to broaden their audience by connecting to consumers across the world who would not have been able to attend an in-person event. Because of these benefits, experts believe that automotive manufacturers will continue to host virtual auto shows to introduce new vehicles, build relationships with consumers, and generate excitement in the years ahead. Top Virtual Trends in the Automotive Industry [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Manufacturing-Facility-Design.jpg] MANUFACTURING FACILITY DESIGN Several automotive manufacturers, including Jaguar Land Rover, use virtual reality technology to improve the efficiency of their manufacturing facility’s design. To do this, automotive companies design the initial layout of their manufacturing facility in a virtual environment. Then, they run a simulation of the manufacturing process to see how efficiently the vehicle moves through each stage of production within the facility. Being able to visualize this process in a simulated environment allows automotive companies to identify and address issues before the design is finalized. This way, they can optimize the tools, equipment, and processes to increase the efficiency and safety of their facility. Just like the steam engine and electric vehicle, virtual reality technology has the power to completely disrupt the automotive industry. By using this technology, automotive manufacturers can improve the driving experience, save money, create a safer work environment, and meet the demands of automotive consumers. Top Virtual Trends in the Automotive Industry [https://contentgm.s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/content_uploads/App%5CDynamicModules%5CItem/49337/Top-virtual-trends.png]
How Augmented Reality Improves Car Shopping Online
The concept of shopping for a car online has become increasingly popular over the last several years. In 2018, only 1% of car buyers purchased their vehicle online, but this number increased to 10% by early last year. Furthermore, nearly two-thirds of automotive consumers said they would consider purchasing their next vehicle online instead of in a dealership. Buying a car online is not the same as buying clothing, shoes, books, or other items. Because a car is so expensive, consumers typically spend a lot of time in the early stages of the buying cycle. During these stages, consumers focus on researching their options so they can make an informed purchase decision. For automotive consumers, the early stages of the buying cycle typically consists of visiting different auto showrooms to explore vehicles in-person. But if a consumer wants to purchase their vehicle online, they may worry that they will miss out on the chance to explore vehicles and learn more about their options. Fortunately, automotive companies are now using augmented reality to improve the car shopping experience online. Thanks to this technology, automotive consumers who want to purchase their vehicle online can still get the showroom experience without ever stepping foot in an actual showroom. How Augmented Reality Improves Car Shopping Online [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/How-is-Augmented-Reality-Used-for-Online-Car-Shopping.jpg] HOW IS AUGMENTED REALITY USED FOR ONLINE CAR SHOPPING? Augmented reality is incredibly helpful to automotive consumers who want to shop for their vehicle online rather than in a dealership. Instead of visiting a showroom in-person, these consumers can use augmented reality technology to project three dimensional virtual vehicles into their real world environment. They can choose to virtually place the vehicle in their driveway, on the road, in their garage, or even in the living room. The vehicle will appear true to scale, which means the virtual model will be the same size as the real vehicle. But users also have the option of adjusting the size to make the virtual model smaller or larger. This technology gives consumers the opportunity to explore vehicles from home. Once the virtual model appears, consumers can explore the vehicle just like they would if they were in a real showroom. After examining the exterior, consumers can also take a closer look at the inside of the vehicle. Thanks to augmented reality technology, consumers can finally get the automotive showroom experience at home. Even if they don’t plan on purchasing their vehicle online, this still allows them to research their options from home before heading to a dealership to make a purchase. OTHER EXAMPLES OF AUGMENTED REALITY ONLINE SHOPPING EXPERIENCES Automotive companies aren’t the only ones that are using augmented reality technology to improve the online shopping experience for consumers. A number of companies from outside the automotive industry are also taking advantage of this technology, including: * Sephora * IKEA * Nike * Warby Parker * Home Depot SEPHORA Shopping for cosmetics online has not always been easy. It’s hard to tell what a specific color of lipstick, blush, eyeshadow, or foundation will look like once it’s applied. However, Sephora revolutionized the world of online cosmetics shopping with the introduction of its “Virtual Artist” feature on its mobile app in 2017. This feature, which is powered by facial recognition and augmented reality technologies, allows consumers to virtually try on different cosmetics online. They can see what a specific shade of lipstick will look like on their lips, for example, before buying it. This allows consumers to shop for cosmetics online with confidence. Sephora also uses augmented reality technology to teach consumers how to achieve certain looks. For example, the app may highlight a certain area of the consumer’s face to tell them exactly where to apply a specific product. How Augmented Reality Improves Car Shopping Online [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/IKEA.jpg] IKEA Launched in 2017, IKEA Place is an augmented reality app that allows consumers to see what specific IKEA products will look like in their home. To get started, users simply need to take a picture of a room in their home. The app is designed to automatically measure the space and provide a list of recommended pieces of furniture based on these measurements. If the user finds a product they like, they can virtually place the furniture in their room to see what it would like in their home. The furniture will appear true to scale, so users can make sure that it is the right size before buying it. NIKE Nike’s app has been around for a long time, but an augmented reality feature known as Nike Fit was not added until 2019. Nike Fit is designed to help consumers figure out what size shoe they wear before making a purchase. This app doesn’t just measure the length of the foot–it measures the entire shape of each foot to calculate the user’s shoe size. All the user needs to do is open the app and point their smartphone camera at their feet. Once a size is calculated, the user can choose to save this information in their profile so they don’t need to go through the same process again in the future. The app may recommend different sizes for different styles of shoes. For example, if one shoe style runs slightly small, the app may recommend a larger size. How Augmented Reality Improves Car Shopping Online [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Warby-Parker.jpg] WARBY PARKER It’s hard to determine what style of glasses will look best on your face without trying them on, which is why shopping for glasses online has never been easy. However, Warby Parker solved this problem by developing an augmented reality app that allows users to try on glasses at home. To begin, the user simply needs to select a pair of glasses from the Warby Parker app. Then, choose the “Virtual Try-On” feature. Selecting this option will automatically open the front-facing camera. The app will then project the glasses onto the user’s face so they can see what they would look like. The glasses will stay in the right position as the user moves around or turns their head so they can see what the frame will look like from every angle. If the user wants a second opinion, they can even snap a photo of themselves wearing the glasses and send it to their friends or family for feedback. HOME DEPOT Home Depot updated its app to include an augmented reality feature in late 2019. Thanks to this addition, the Home Depot app now allows users to see what different products will look like in their home, just like the IKEA Place app. But IKEA only sells furniture and home decor, whereas Home Depot also sells appliances and other household goods. This means consumers can use the Home Depot app to see what a new refrigerator or washer and dryer will look like in their home. This feature makes it easy to find the perfect replacement for an old appliance or to map out kitchen remodels. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING AUGMENTED REALITY FOR CAR SHOPPING? There are many benefits to using augmented reality to assist with the online car shopping experience, including: * Convenience * Better Shopping Experience * Accessible CONVENIENCE Augmented reality makes the process of shopping for a car more convenient than ever before. It gives consumers the option to conduct comprehensive research on different vehicles without ever leaving home. It also allows consumers to get the showroom experience at any time, even if it’s outside of standard business hours. In other words, now automotive consumers can start the process of shopping for a car whenever it is most convenient for them. How Augmented Reality Improves Car Shopping Online [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Better-Shopping-Experience.jpg] BETTER SHOPPING EXPERIENCE There’s no question that augmented reality technology has the power to improve the experience of shopping for a new car. This is true regardless of whether the consumer plans on purchasing the car online or in a dealership. Either way, this technology can help automotive consumers research their options, explore different vehicles, and choose a vehicle that is right for them. If they plan on purchasing the vehicle online, they can move forward with the process with confidence knowing they have thoroughly researched their decision. If they want to purchase the vehicle in-person, using augmented reality to conduct research from home will save them a lot of time once they arrive at the dealership. They will already know what vehicle they want when they arrive at the dealership, so they won’t need to waste time touring the showroom or talking to sales representatives about their options. All they will need to do is negotiate the price, fill out the appropriate paperwork, and complete the transaction. ACCESSIBLE Automotive consumers don’t need a fancy headset or special device in order to use augmented reality technology to shop for a vehicle online. All they need is access to a smartphone with a functional camera to get started. Because no other equipment is required, this augmented reality showroom experience is accessible to the vast majority of automotive consumers. The benefits of using augmented reality to improve the online shopping experience are far too great to ignore, which is why this technology has exploded in popularity within the automotive industry. If you plan on purchasing or researching a vehicle online now or in the future, chances are that augmented reality will be a part of your car buying process.
Virtual Reality in Car Dealerships
Virtual reality is taking over car dealerships and the car shopping process. But how is this technology used in dealerships? Are salespeople using headsets? Do customers need headsets? Before assuming that car buying has evolved into some futuristic landscape, understand that the term virtual can have many different meanings. However, virtual reality is being integrated into the shopping experience. How is virtual reality used in car dealerships? Here’s a virtual look! VIRTUAL VS. VIRTUAL REALITY The term virtual can be thrown around to describe different experiences. Virtual does not always mean virtual reality. For example, during Covid (and probably even now) car dealerships offered virtual test drives. Customers could go online and schedule a test drive remotely. The dealership would then deliver the car to the customer’s home, and the test drive would take place away from the dealership. The experience was virtual in that customers didn’t have to visit the dealership; the test drive took place remotely. Other virtual test drives could have been posted on YouTube. These were videos of sales professionals from the dealership taking the car for an on-the-road test drive. The experience was virtual, because it was online. Other test drives could be experienced using a phone or tablet; these experiences might have functioned like digital games. These, too, were another type of virtual test drive. Virtual reality also doesn’t always involve a virtual reality headset. Some virtual reality experiences are accessible online and can be enjoyed by anyone with internet access. Users navigate these experiences with their mouse…or maybe they touch the screen. VIRTUAL REALITY IN CAR DEALERSHIPS So how do car dealerships use virtual reality? Some dealerships offer virtual reality showrooms. Others may integrate the technology in other ways. The future might even lead to a virtual reality car dealership. Imagine if virtual reality headsets of glasses become the norm. This could allow for consumers to shop for a car just by wearing a headset or glasses. In the virtual space, perhaps they can choose from several local dealerships. Then the car shopping adventure would begin. Imagine having avatar sales professionals guide you during the experience. Could customers even visit a virtual reality car lot? Drop a car into the room! Walk around it. Peek inside! Anything is possible. Virtual Reality in Car Dealerships [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Virtual-Reality-Modifications-in-Car-Dealerships.jpg] VIRTUAL REALITY MODIFICATIONS IN CAR DEALERSHIPS One of the most popular ways that car dealerships might be using virtual reality is via virtual reality showrooms. Before the Covid pandemic, car shopping might have begun online with research (maybe looking at Kelly Blue Book and dealership sites). However, many shoppers would then visit their dealership to see the vehicles in person and to maybe even take a test drive. When the pandemic forced many non-essential businesses to close to help stop the spread of the virus, car dealerships might have been forced to close, too. Virtual experiences then took the place of the in-person experiences. Virtual reality experiences might have been the preferred option, because it could closely replicate the in-person shopping experience. WHAT IS A VIRTUAL REALITY SHOWROOM? Some car dealerships could offer their own virtual reality showrooms, but others might have relied on third-party sites like RelayCars to give customers this experience. Virtual reality showrooms allow cars to be viewed in 3D in a virtual environment. Vroom’s virtual reality showroom is accessible using an HTC Vive headset. But, again, not all virtual reality showrooms require a headset to view inventory. RelayCars’ virtual reality showroom is accessible online via the website. On the website, users will see a hyperlink to enter the virtual showroom. There, users can choose the car they wish to explore in the showroom. Once their preference has been selected, they enter the showroom where they can use the mouse to navigate the immersive experience. In the virtual reality showroom, users can turn the car around to view it from different angles. The showroom also gives users the option to look inside the car to view and explore the interior and all the features. Another showroom option lets users change the paint color of the vehicle. Virtual Reality in Car Dealerships [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Virtual-Reality-for-Car-Repair.jpg] VIRTUAL REALITY FOR CAR REPAIR? Some technicians are wearing special glasses to aid them during car repair. These glasses aren’t virtual reality, though. Instead, the glasses provide augmented reality graphics to aid them as they fix and diagnose problems. Mercedes-Benz techs use HoloLens during repairs. The glasses can connect them to a remote team that can help them during complicated repairs. The glasses let them show the remote team what the tech sees. Other dealerships also may use similar types of technology during their repairs. USING VIRTUAL REALITY FOR CAR SHOPPING When browsing the internet for a new car, shoppers may bump into virtual reality experiences like virtual reality showrooms. How can these virtual tools be used during the browsing or research process? VIRTUAL REALITY SAVES TIME! Browsing cars via virtual reality saves time. Shoppers don’t have to jump in their car and travel to a dealership just to look at a few car models. The process can be time-consuming, and virtual browsing can cut down on this time. STRESS-FREE! Using a virtual reality showroom to research vehicle models and explore all the options allows customers to just virtually window shop…stress free! With RelayCars, there are no sales team members who will send messages. Or ask you questions. Check out the Porsche without worry! But if there is a problem with the site, customers also are provided with ways to get in touch. So virtual showrooms are a customer-friendly experience. FIND FAVORITES Eventually, shoppers will find one or two models that are at the top of their list. After viewing them in the virtual showroom, users can then visit dealership sites to find out prices, promotions or other deals. They also can contact the dealership to schedule a test drive to see if it’s really the car they want. VIRTUAL REALITY: THE FUTURE OF CAR SHOPPING? Both virtual and augmented reality can elevate the shopping experience and the user experience, too. Virtual reality car showrooms provide convenient, tech-centric options to shoppers who might just want to stay at home and search for their favorite car. During Covid, virtual options became a bit more mainstream for businesses and even car dealerships. Not all virtual options were virtual reality, but many experiences allowed customers to buy from home. Even test drives were delivered to the customer. After all, a decade ago most people probably didn’t imagine that everyone would own a smartphone and that these handy devices would be used for shopping, watching movies…and everything else. Now the idea of being without a smartphone can spark a fear of missing out (or FOMO), as the phone is the constant connection to the social world…and even the retail world, too. Not all customers will embrace virtual reality or virtual shopping trends. However, Generation Z—the Zoomers—have never known a day without some type of device. They’ve grown up with social media. And, to them, virtual reality isn’t so unreal. As the younger generations move into adulthood, maybe virtual reality will take over. Not just dealerships and the shopping experience…but maybe other experiences, too. We could be living in a virtual reality!
Millennials Prefer Digital, Have Severed the T.V. Cord
MarketingDive dove into the millennial preference for digital experiences as they are known as this demographic has seemingly severed the once ubiquitous tether to advertising: the television. Yes, millennials watch television but not in the standard cable or basic channel type of way. Are the days of advertising on local channels zapped by tech? Not necessarily, at least not for all audiences. Millennials may prefer digital media offerings though. So what does this mean for dealerships? A LOOK BACK AT YE OLDE DEALERSHIP ADVERTISING Dealerships that have stood for generations—maybe run by the same family for years—remember the old days of advertising. There were newspaper ads. And television commercials. It’s the television commercials—especially on local channels—that those dealership families and their customers might remember best…and fondly, too. Back in ye olden days before the rise of the internet and the ads that dominate the internet, television commercials gave dealerships their way to shine. Commercials might have been gimmicky. They might have included the dealership owner, a mascot, a particular phrase. But there was likely something, some special detail that made each dealership’s commercials stand out. Some commercials may linger, still, in the memory of customers. These commercials aren’t necessarily dead. Commercials are still effective. And they are still memorable. But these advertisements might not reach all the intended audiences that dealerships need to target. MarketingDive talks about millennials as cord cutters. This term is used to describe the generation’s preference for digital experiences. Yes, millennials watch television screens. However, those screens might not be tethered to a satellite or a cable box. Chances are probably high that those millennial televisions are digitally connected to the internet and have been downloaded with streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, etc. Even cable experiences are streaming. For example, Charter doesn’t require a box anymore. Subscribers can opt for streaming services to watch all their favorite channels. However, on these streaming channels, commercials air as they would while watching via a television tethered to a cable box. In this way, viewers may still see traditional commercials. Hulu, Netflix and other services don’t work this way. So how do dealerships and other businesses reach consumers like many millennials who have cut the traditional television cord? This is how businesses and dealerships need to think outside traditional channels. Millennials Prefer Digital, Have Severed the T.V. Cord [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Over-the-Top-Advertising.jpg] OVER-THE-TOP ADVERTISING Streaming services generate revenue from their monthly subscription fees, but many of these services also allow advertisers. So, yes, dealerships can still reach millennials via commercials or digital advertising. However, these ad options are a little bit different. They may be called over-the-top advertising, which is a type of advertising that is only for streaming services. Messages may need to be concise. However, the benefit of this type of advertising is that it does not give the viewer the option to skip the advertisement. Why is it called ‘over the top?’ The term refers to going over television providers. Forbes explains that the term “…refers to streaming companies’ ability to bypass TV providers.” Choosing to invest in over-the-top advertising could help dealerships reach consumers who opt not to be tethered to a cable cord. Statista notes that only 28 percent of Americans have never invested in a streaming service. Meanwhile, more than 60 percent of adults in the U.S. are streaming subscribers! Millennials Prefer Digital, Have Severed the T.V. Cord [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Digital-Experiences.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY & OTHER DIGITAL EXPERIENCES RetailDive also explored how manufacturers are using “buzzy campaigns” to get the attention of millennials and maybe anyone else that has cut the cable cord. While RetailDive highlighted Toyota’s launch of its 2021 Sienna and Hyundai’s augmented reality collaborations with National Geographic, we’ll explore several other campaigns and experiences that might be tech-centric and unique for the digital savvy consumer. NISSAN Nissan’s Invisible to Visible technology has been highlighted in many publications (and on this site!). It’s worth mentioning over and over again, because the potential of I2V is so far-reaching. This technology isn’t a launch experience but a driving transformation. I2V embraces digital completely, which could be a massive selling point for millennials who fully embrace tech. This is, after all, the generation that has grown up with cell phones. Invisible to Visible technology would allow for avatars to sit in the car for companionship; parents or friends can join the ride, in case the driver is going cross-country solo (or for whatever reason). Don’t like that it’s rainy outside? Change the windows to a sunny day! I2V also lets drivers understand obstacles ahead and even summon driving help! Mashable refers to I2V as “Nissan’s freaky AR concept.” However, the concept isn’t so freaky…it could be revolutionary, though. PORSCHE Back in 2019, Porsche launched the “Porsche Augmented Visualizer App.” The app can be used at home or anywhere to create the user’s dream car. Augmented reality allows for the car to be previewed in the user’s real environment. Drop the Porsche in the driveway, the garden or wherever. These unique experiences let customers explore different features, looks and designs…and, of course, have fun with augmented reality. Download the app via Google Play or the App Store. CADILLAC CNET highlighted the 2021 Cadillac Escalade’s cool new augmented reality features. The dashboard takes augmented reality to a new driving level. The augmented reality dashboard provides a camera view of the road ahead and lets the driver know exactly when to turn as digitized graphic arrows appear to show the direction of the turn. The AR feature is directly behind the wheel. CNET points out that the Escalade even offers night vision, so drivers can see anything ahead…even in the darkest of nights. DODGE Dodge recently introduced the Know & Go app to help new Dodge Ram owners navigate the infotainment system in the vehicle as well as other features. But this isn’t just any app—it’s augmented reality! Using the phone camera to view a feature and augmented reality options will help the owner explore what they need. HYUNDAI’S OUTSIDE ACADEMY RetailDive mentioned Hyundai’s partnership with National Geographic for a series called Outside Academy. The experience is all about exploring the National Parks in the U.S., and it features immersive augmented reality navigation. And, of course, Hyundai vehicles feature prominently. Users can explore all the National Parks online…and maybe plan a trip of their own. LAMBORGHINI What is an automaker to do when Covid has kept the world inside? Launch a new luxury model online, of course! And augmented reality boosted the experience! Lamborghini launched its Huracán EVO with an augmented reality experience that allowed users to place it anywhere and explore the vehicle. Once the car was placed in the user’s environment, the user could walk around it and check out other features. KIA’S THE FEATURES FILM Forget standard commercials. Kia took advertising to the movies. The Features Film mixes Kia vehicles with a thrilling, adventure-packed movie. Eight different cars also are stars of the movie, and the movie even shines a light on some key features in those cars, too. Multiple dealerships have posted the video, so it’s easy to find via YouTube. VIRTUAL SHOWROOMS OR AUGMENTED REALITY SHOWROOMS Manufacturers and dealerships also may provide customers with online tools to preview different models in either a virtual environment or using augmented reality. These virtual and augmented reality showrooms could let users view the vehicles from different vantage points and even look inside at the interior features. Some might even give customers the option to view the car in different paint colors! WILL DIGITAL EXPERIENCES CUT THE CORD TO STANDARD ADVERTISING? If many millennials prefer digital streaming services and enjoy immersive experiences like augmented reality, could the industry pivot to these demands? While not all generations prefer the digital experience, this could be the way of the future. As statistics show, more than half of adults in the United States subscribe to a streaming service. If they have cut the cable cord, the only way to reach this audience may be via digital experiences or through over-the-top advertising. Augmented reality and virtual reality also are becoming more commonplace. Users may enjoy these experiences as they nod to a game experience in some ways. For example, augmented reality experiences that allow users to create their own car can keep the individual on a web site. So if that augmented reality or virtual reality experience is featured on a dealer or manufacturer site, maybe the consumer checks out other pages on the site, too. These unique tech-savvy experiences could provide a way for customers to also do more car research online. Younger shoppers could prefer online experiences to in-person shopping, even when looking for a new vehicle. Virtual and augmented reality showrooms allow consumers to preview cars without leaving home; they can understand if that vehicle appeals to them and if it fits their needs. After their virtual experience, they may then visit dealership sites for information on pricing, promotions or other details…or they may even schedule a virtual test drive online. Cutting the cable cord might become the norm as streaming gains even more popularity. Generation Z is right behind the millennials. And when Zoomers become the key demographic for car sales, preferences may change once again.
How Automotive Consumers Can Use A VR Car Simulator
The auto industry is fiercely competitive, which is why automotive companies are constantly looking for new ways to connect with consumers. In the past, automotive companies may have chosen to connect with their target audience by attending auto shows or launching massive marketing campaigns. But now, many major players in the automotive industry are winning over consumers by using a VR car simulator to improve their car shopping experience. VR car simulators are powered by virtual reality, which is technology that transports users to a realistic computer-generated environment. How are consumers using VR car simulators? How will this improve their car shopping experience? Here’s what you need to know: HOW THE CAR BUYING JOURNEY IS CHANGING FOR CONSUMERS Before learning about how consumers are using VR car simulators, it’s important to understand how the consumer car buying journey has evolved over the last several years. Automotive consumers used to visit multiple dealerships to explore new vehicles, compare their options, and gather the information they needed to make a purchase decision. However, today’s consumers conduct most of this research online rather than in a dealership. VR Car Simulator [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/dealership-websites.jpg] Most consumers aren’t visiting automotive manufacturer or dealership websites to conduct this research. The car buying journey for today’s automotive consumers often starts on a third-party website. Nearly 80% of automotive consumers visit at least one third-party site when researching different vehicles prior to making a purchase. As a result, they don’t need to visit as many dealerships before buying a car. In fact, over 40% of today’s automotive consumers only visit one dealership before making a purchase decision. These consumers are able to increase the efficiency of buying a car by completing some of the car buying process–the research–online. But some consumers want to take it even further by shifting additional steps of the car buying process online. Two-thirds of automotive consumers say they would be comfortable experiencing a car online via video walkarounds and feature highlights rather than in person. Sixty-three percent of automotive consumers said they would consider completing the entire car buying process online in the future. Based on these statistics, it’s clear that a majority of consumers are embracing the idea of completing some or all of the car buying process online. If automotive companies don’t make it easy to shop for a car online, they could miss out on the opportunity to win over these consumers. This is why so many automotive companies have embraced new technologies that improve the online car shopping experience, including virtual reality technology. WHAT CAN CONSUMERS DO WITH A VR CAR SIMULATOR? Automotive consumers can use a virtual reality car simulator in several ways, including: * Explore New Models * Tour Older Models * Take Test Drives EXPLORE NEW MODELS Before virtual reality technology, automotive consumers had to visit a dealership showroom in person to see the latest models. However, automotive companies now use virtual reality technology to provide an at-home virtual showroom experience for consumers. Automotive consumers can use a VR car simulator to explore new vehicles just like they would if they were on the showroom floor. They can rotate the vehicle to see the exterior from all angles, zoom in to get a closer look, and adjust their settings to see what it looks like in different colors. The VR car simulator even gives them the option of opening the door and stepping inside the vehicle to see what it feels like to sit behind the wheel. Consumers don’t need to own a virtual reality headset or special device to start exploring new cars. They can use their smartphone, tablet, or computer to access the VR car simulator. Because the simulator is powered by virtual reality technology, the vehicles are lifelike and true to size. Automotive consumers will feel like they are actually looking at the car in person rather than through a smartphone or computer screen. This tool makes it easier for consumers to research their options online from the comfort of their home. Because they can visit a virtual showroom from home, they won’t have to travel to a dealership until they’re ready to purchase a vehicle. VR Car Simulator [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Tour-Older-Models.jpg] TOUR OLDER MODELS Every year, the number of used car sales typically exceeds the number of new car sales. In 2018, for example, over 40 million used cars were sold in the U.S., compared to just 17 million new cars. This is mainly because used cars are more affordable, which makes them more appealing to price-conscious consumers. Just like new car consumers, used car consumers want to research their options online before making a purchase decision. Fortunately, the VR car simulator is also available to consumers who are shopping online for a used car. Automotive consumers won’t be able to use the VR car simulator to explore a specific pre-owned model. However, they can use this tool to explore three-dimensional digital replicas of earlier models. For example, if a consumer is looking for a 2015 Toyota Corolla, they can use the VR car simulator to explore this type of vehicle in a virtual showroom. This gives them an opportunity to see what the vehicle looks like from all angles, examine the interior, and decide which color they like best. If they are ready to purchase this type of vehicle after leaving the virtual showroom, they can then go to another website to find used 2015 Toyota Corollas for sale near them. TAKE TEST DRIVES Taking a test drive allows consumers to experience how a car drives in the real world. It could make or break the sale, which is why the test drive is one of the most important parts of the car buying process. Consumers used to have to visit a dealership in person to take a test drive, but there are several other options available now. Some dealerships offer test drive home delivery services, which involves bringing the vehicle to the consumer’s home and picking it up once their test drive is over. This makes the process more convenient for consumers, but it’s time-consuming and expensive for dealers. The second option is using a VR car simulator to offer consumers a virtual test drive. This allows consumers to get behind the wheel of a vehicle using their smartphone, tablet, or computer. They can take the vehicle out on the road and see how it drives just like they would do if they were actually taking a test drive. These test drive alternatives have become increasingly popular. In 2020, nearly one-quarter of vehicle buyers said they did not take a test drive at the dealership, which means they either took a virtual test drive or took advantage of the at-home delivery service. VR Car Simulator [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Future-of-the-Automotive-Industry.jpg] HOW THE VR CAR SIMULATOR WILL IMPACT THE FUTURE OF THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY The use of VR car simulators has completely changed the way in which consumers shop for vehicles. This tool makes it easier for consumers to complete more of the car buying process online rather than in a dealership. It saves consumers time and makes the entire car buying process more efficient. Because it has been so successful thus far, it’s safe to say that the VR car simulator will continue to grow in popularity over the next several years. If automotive companies want to stay competitive, they must be willing to embrace this innovative technology to connect with car shoppers online.
Use the Power of Augmented Reality to Shop for a Car
Augmented reality is giving automobile manufacturers and maybe dealerships, too, new ways to create dynamic user experiences that transform the once tried-and-true car shopping journey. Augmented reality mixes real world environments with digital graphics. Now consumers can use the power of augmented reality to shop for a car. And these enhanced experiences are starting to be embraced by more and more businesses. Here’s what to know about augmented reality and how it can be beneficial to helping shoppers find their perfect vehicle. Use the Power of Augmented Reality to Shop for a Car [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Is-Augmented-Reality-Expensive-for-Consumers.jpg] IS AUGMENTED REALITY EXPENSIVE FOR CONSUMERS? Some tech experiences might require users to invest in special equipment. For example, virtual reality games require users to own a headset. These devices can range in price, but even the low-end options are a few hundred dollars. Augmented reality can be an accessible option for consumers who want a similar experience but don’t have the money to invest to fully enter a virtual realm. Businesses that incorporate augmented reality experiences online or via an app also tend to offer these experiences for free to consumers who want access to them. With the right device, anyone can experience augmented reality. HOW DO AUGMENTED REALITY APPS WORK? Apps or augmented reality experiences accessible online require access to a camera to launch the experience. For this reason, users need to have a smartphone or other device (like a tablet) that includes a camera. The camera shows the user’s environment and the app then displays the digital graphics within this environment. Users can aim the camera at their backyard to display a graphic element in that area. Use the Power of Augmented Reality to Shop for a Car [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Using-Augmented-Reality-for-Car-Shopping.jpg] USING AUGMENTED REALITY FOR CAR SHOPPING Augmented reality experiences can heighten the user experience when shopping for a new car. Instead of driving to a local dealership or just browsing photos via a dealership’s online inventory, augmented reality allows the browsing experience to be truly unique and immersive. Users can explore different cars visually in 3D. Photos are a two-dimensional depiction of a vehicle, and although dealerships can take photos of their inventory vehicles from many angles, those photos are still limited to how the user can explore the details of the car. Zooming in on a photo, for example, could allow the shopper to see details up close…or it could blur the image. Augmented reality experiences give the user more control of how they can view the vehicle. Graphic 3D models of vehicles appear in the user’s environment as they would and are more similar to an in-person experience. The vehicle appears wherever the user places it. Then, using the phone, the user can walk around the vehicle—just as they would in the dealership. Augmented reality also can let the user look inside the car. Or even change the color of the paint. GOOGLE’S AUGMENTING CARS MarketWatch reported that Google is offering augmented reality experiences for some vehicles when users search for those vehicles. The search engine giant also offers augmented reality experiences for animals and even popular anime characters (like Hello Kitty!). Not all vehicles may be augmented via Google. And finding vehicles that are accessible in 3D augmented reality may seem a bit like a treasure hunt. Some of the vehicle that appear in Google’s knowledge panel include the Toyota RAV4, Jeep Gladiator, Porsche Taycan, Porsche Cayenne, Toyota Supra, Toyota Sienna, and Cadillac Escalade. For those looking for a specific vehicle, Google might or might not offer the preview in 3D augmented reality. FINDING OTHER AUGMENTED REALITY CAR EXPERIENCES Some automobile manufacturers have launched augmented reality experiences for specific models. During Covid, these augmented experiences could have allowed consumers to check out these new vehicles from their home, offices or anywhere. There are many augmented reality vehicle experiences available. Consumers might want to do a quick search on the vehicle of their choice to discover and uncover augmented reality experiences. DON’T FORGET MANUFACTURERS! Shoppers looking for a new car but without a preference to make or model might have fun checking out augmented reality experiences offered by auto manufacturers. Not all brands offer interactive experiences on their sites, though. And these experiences may be limited to a specific model. Searching through the App Store (for iOS) and Google Play also brings up several experiences from different auto brands. For example, Toyota’s Supra has its own augmented reality experience via an app. Porsche also offers an AR Visualiser app. There’s also Experience VW (also an augmented reality experience) that lets users explore the Touareg. All experiences are free to download. HOW CAN AUGMENTED REALITY HELP SHOPPERS? While a virtual reality showroom allows shoppers to preview vehicles in a virtual space to gain more knowledge about that vehicle, what makes augmented reality valuable is that the vehicle appears in the user’s space and allows a unique interaction. With augmented reality, users can drop the car into their space and then explore while holding their phone or device to keep the vehicle in view. Users can then actually walk around this 3D model to see it as they would in a showroom (or on the lot). Each augmented reality experience may offer something different, though. Some may be more interactive than others. Maybe users can look inside the vehicle or interact in other ways. Since the vehicle appears in the user’s space, augmented reality could allow shoppers to better visualize the car in their possession. That is, users can drop the vehicle in their own driveway or garage. Seeing that vehicle parked outside their home might make the preview experience more true to life. These immersive elements simulate the in-person experience, too. Virtual reality showrooms can be a great way to figure out the look and design of a vehicle. However, augmented reality experiences provide that walk-around experience. While these augmented reality experiences and showroom options might be a bit more limited than virtual reality experiences, their potential for creating unique experiences that enhance the shopping experience shouldn’t be underestimated. Again, the walk-around element that augmented reality provides the shopper can really help capture the in-person dealership experience. This is valuable because many shoppers might now be accustomed to shopping online and researching purchases online. For large purchases like a new car, though, that dealership visit was—and is—often an essential element so that the shopper can interact with the car. While augmented reality doesn’t fully replicate the physical experience, it can help shoppers perhaps get a better idea if they prefer one model to another. Or maybe seeing the car in the driveway ends up eliciting a big “no.” THE FUTURE OF AUGMENTED REALITY CARS Will more dealerships or auto brands begin to launch more augmented reality experiences? While many companies may still focus on the millennials as a key demographic for sales, Generation Z—the Zoomers—are growing up. And they may dominate purchasing decisions. Generation Z isn’t just tech savvy; they grew up with technology. They live with technology. They never knew a day without social media. AR Insider asked the question: “Will Gen Z be the AR Generation?” The article notes that 40 percent of this generation use augmented reality lenses via Snapchat. The article also cited statistics from a survey titled “20/20 Vision for Mobile Video” that noted that more than half of Generation Z respondents felt that augmented reality was “very important.” The augmented reality experiences referenced in the survey, though, were “…experiences that let you step inside scenes of your favorite shows or videos; AR experiences that let you experience video from all angles and get up close and personal with your favorite personalities or characters.” However, as more than half of Generation Z shows a pull towards this technology—even in social media or video experiences—augmented reality could be a unique technology to use to provide an immersive car shopping experience for this particular demographic. The pandemic also changed the way that many consumers were able to shop. With nonessential businesses closed, online shopping might have been the only option. For those looking for a vehicle, online experiences could have helped them find a car when dealerships weren’t open. Going forward, virtual and augmented reality could continue to provide alternative ways to explore vehicle models remotely. Both virtual and augmented reality car showrooms allow the user to browse from home at their convenience. And without pressure. Will more brands and dealerships embrace augmented vehicles? Perhaps if consumers begin to demand these experiences or show a preference to such options, then the industry will move into augmented reality, too. Or, at least, offer more vehicles that can be previewed via this technology.
A Look at the Automotive Augmented Reality Market
Immersive technological shopping experiences may heighten the user engagement on a website or an app. Augmented reality allows for digital graphics to appear in the user’s real world environment, and this can provide unique try-on experiences for beauty brands, furniture stores or even within the automotive industry. While these digital graphics can allow users to drop furniture into their home, swipe lipstick on the lips or even drop a car into the driveway, they also can be used to aid repairs, decrease downtime in manufacturing and more! Here’s a look at the automotive augmented reality market, and how the use of this technology could see a boost in the future. TRY ON THE CAR! Augmented reality and virtual reality are both part of extended reality. However, augmented reality and virtual reality are very different experiences. With virtual reality, users may need to use a headset to enter the virtual realm or experience (although this isn’t always the case). Augmented reality, though, uses a camera from a device (a phone or tablet) to show the user’s environment and projects a digital image into that environment. The real world environment is not a part of virtual reality; all surroundings in virtual reality are graphic simulations or depictions. But in augmented reality, the real world is a critical element of the experience. And this is what makes augmented reality so cool for the user. Virtual try-on experiences are a popular way that businesses deploy augmented reality. Stores like Ulta let shoppers use augmented reality to try on different colors of lipstick, eyeshadow, foundation and even hair colors to see if a product is right for them. The camera shows the individual in real-life, and the hues of products are digitally superimposed on the user’s face. IKEA offers a try-on experience for its products, too. Users can drop furniture into their rooms to see if the product is a good fit. Even paint colors can be previewed on walls with augmented reality. But how does this technology help car shoppers? Using augmented reality might help those on the hunt for a new car see if a vehicle model appeals to them, too. Augmented reality experiences can enable the user to drop a vehicle into their driveway, garage or backyard. Maybe the car doesn’t look so good sitting outside the home. Maybe the color isn’t right. Or the design just doesn’t look so appealing once it’s viewed in 3D. Once the car is dropped into the environment, the user can walk around it to view the vehicle from any angle. Maybe they can look inside. Or opt for a different paint color. Pictures don’t tell the whole story; photos are not always worth 1,000 words. Sometimes two-dimensional photos leave more questions about a vehicle. In the past, car photos or photo galleries were the only way for online shoppers to preview the vehicles before heading to the dealership. With augmented reality, shoppers can experience the vehicle in 3D. While they can’t actually physically interact with it in a tactile sense, augmented reality does provide an interactive and immersive way to explore the vehicle. Augmented reality experiences let users try on that car…or at least see the car in their own surroundings. A Look at the Automotive Augmented Reality Market [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/How-Else-Does-the-Automotive-Industry-Use-Augmented-Reality.jpg] HOW ELSE DOES THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY USE AUGMENTED REALITY? Augmented reality isn’t just used to aid shoppers in their buying journey. Augmented reality also is used in the automotive industry in other ways, too. AIDING CAR REPAIRS Augmented reality can be used to help with car repairs. Technicians wear glasses that can send images from the ongoing repairs to a team of experts located remotely. These glasses also can help techs see small details, too. HELPING DRIVERS Car brands integrate augmented reality within their cars to help improve the driving experience and keep drivers safer on the road. Cars that have backup cameras often use augmented reality on those screens; while the camera shows the detail behind the car, the graphic gridlines are augmented reality at work! Some new navigation systems are getting incredibly AR-savvy! Newer car models may have augmented reality graphics showing where to turn and including directional augmented reality arrows. Others point out bikers on the road. Cars are getting smarter, and augmented reality may be further integrated into car features to enhance the journey and make drivers feel safer on the road. HOW TO FIND AUGMENTED REALITY EXPERIENCES Shoppers who want to use augmented reality to help them on their buying journey can search for different experiences via Google or via the manufacturers. Augmented reality experiences could vary in their features, and they also may be limited to featuring one specific model. Google has launched augmented reality experiences via its Search engine. Users can find augmented reality experiences for anime characters like Hello Kitty and even certain animals. However, not all animals are augmented via Google. The same holds true for vehicle models. While Google provides augmented reality experiences for some models, it’s really a guessing game as to what vehicles can be explored via augmented reality. A few Toyota models are augmented via Google. Porsche also has augmented vehicles on Google. The Cadillac Escalade also can be explored in augmented reality. Unfortunately, though, users can’t experience every model in augmented reality. While this immersive experience may replicate the in-person experience in a novel way, the augmented inventory isn’t as vast as it is via virtual reality. VIRTUAL REALITY SHOWROOMS While augmented reality showrooms are not extremely prominent via apps or online, virtual reality showrooms offer a massive inventory of models for users to preview. While augmented reality lets users integrate 3D graphic depictions of their favorite cars into their own environment, these virtual reality showrooms allow vehicles to be viewed in a virtual online setting. Sites like RelayCars include models dating back to 2016 or even 2015. So those looking for a preowned car can get a general idea as to what the vehicle looked like when it debuted. However, RelayCars does not include pre-owned inventory from any particular dealership. All earlier model vehicles are depictions of the vehicle when it was introduced. These images are for reference only. Virtual car showrooms do allow users to interact with vehicles in the virtual environment, however. Using the mouse, shoppers can turn the cars around to view it from different angles. They can even view the inside of the vehicle to see interior features. RelayCars also lets users swap out paint colors, so users can find what color suits their tastes. As a virtual reality showroom offers an extensive array of makes and models, visitors also can check out vehicles of all price ranges and designs. There is no pressure, and users can visit the site as often as they want. There’s also no limit on the number of cars that users can view on the site. And, of course, it’s free! A Look at the Automotive Augmented Reality Market [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Will-There-Be-More-Augmented-Reality-and-Virtual-Reality-Experiences.jpg] WILL THERE BE MORE AUGMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY EXPERIENCES? During Covid, dealerships were often closed to inside visitors. Those looking for a new car might have conducted their search online. While dealerships and other businesses have opened up, shoppers may be accustomed to the online realm and all the conveniences that it offers. Are these shopping enhancements here to stay? Generation Z is the upcoming generation that many businesses may look to for purchasing decisions as this group enters adulthood (the youngest members are in middle school). Generation Z may embrace all these new tech trends, because augmented reality and virtual reality are in many of their social and entertainment experiences. Instagram, for example, offers augmented reality lenses. In addition, virtual reality games can be downloaded via sites like Steam. Businesses including the automotive sector could pivot to more immersive and interactive experiences like augmented reality to reach out to younger buyers. However, not all car shoppers may embrace technology. Some may prefer the old ways of the new car shopping process; they may continue to do much of their business at the dealership. However, those who are interested in upgrading their shopping experiences can check out the many augmented and virtual reality experiences that await them. While some of these experiences are easy to find via search engines, some may take a bit more research. And phones may help, too! Whether a user has an Android, Windows or Apple phone, all offer stores to shop for apps. To find all the augmented reality experiences for download, just search for augmented reality. From there, users can find the experiences offered by different companies (including automotive) plus different games, too. For users unfamiliar with augmented reality, downloading an augmented reality game might be a great way to get acquainted with augmented reality. Popular games like Pokemon GO can help users explore how augmented reality enhances an experience and explore the tech at their own pace. From there, users can move on to using this technology for shopping or researching new cars. Thankfully, most of these experiences are fairly easy to navigate, and, once a user enters the augmented reality world, they might not want to leave!
How Virtual Reality Could Transform Major Cities
Virtual reality is technology that transports users to a three-dimensional, simulated environment. The technology simulates as many senses as possible to ensure the user is fully immersed in their virtual world. Although this technology is often associated with the world of gaming, it’s been used in a wide range of other industries. In the automotive industry, virtual reality is used to speed up the process of designing and testing new vehicles. Teachers often rely on virtual reality to transport their students to exotic destinations or periods in history. In the healthcare industry, aspiring surgeons are trained in simulated environments powered by virtual reality. This allows them to learn how to perform complex procedures in an environment where mistakes don’t have consequences. There’s no doubt that virtual reality has led to major changes in these industries. But now, experts believe that virtual reality technology has the potential to impact consumers’ daily lives by completely transforming major cities across the country. How? It has to do with the change in the way people work, which was largely brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what you should know: How Virtual Reality Could Transform Major Cities [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/How-the-COVID-19-Pandemic-Impacted-the-Way-People-Work.jpg] HOW THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IMPACTED THE WAY PEOPLE WORK Before you can learn how virtual reality may transform major cities, it’s important to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way in which people work. Many companies were forced to temporarily close their doors due to COVID-19 lockdown or stay-at-home orders. To keep their businesses running, these companies had no other choice but to allow their employees to work from home. This led to a massive shift to remote work in the U.S. workforce. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, only 20% of the workforce worked from home all or most of the time. But this number increased to about 71% of the workforce in the middle of the pandemic. Remote workers had to overcome some obstacles to get comfortable working from home. Some workers struggled to get their employers to provide the right equipment, whereas others had trouble creating a productive workspace in their home. But eventually, many workers grew to love working remotely. Most people enjoy the flexibility that remote work offers since employers often allow remote workers to work more flexible hours. By working remotely, workers can also avoid long, costly commutes to work. Remote workers also report that they find it easier to balance their work and family responsibilities now that they are working from home. Even those who enjoy working from home recognize that there are some drawbacks to remote work. Two-thirds of people who are currently working from home say that they feel less connected to their co-workers now that they don’t interact with them face-to-face. Over one-third of remote workers are also tired of spending hours on video calls, which have been used to replace face-to-face meetings. However, the benefits of remote work might outweigh the drawbacks for many workers. In fact, over half of the workforce said they would like to continue working from home at least part of the time even after the coronavirus pandemic is over. IS REMOTE WORK HERE TO STAY? The stay-at-home and lockdown orders that forced employers to close their doors were lifted months ago. However, that doesn’t mean that everything has gone back to business as usual. Many employers have chosen to continue allowing employees to work from home even though the restrictions have been lifted. It’s estimated that only one in 10 companies expect to return to the way things were before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of companies have already announced plans to make working from home permanent for some or all of their employees. Twitter, Slack, and Shopify, for example, announced that all employees would be allowed to work from home forever. Other companies, including Google, Intuit, Novartis, and Coinbase will allow employees to choose whether they want to work from home or in the office moving forward. Announcements like these have led many experts to conclude that remote work is here to stay. How Virtual Reality Could Transform Major Cities [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/The-Role-of-Virtual-Reality-in-Making-Remote-Work-Permanent.jpg] THE ROLE OF VIRTUAL REALITY IN MAKING REMOTE WORK PERMANENT Experts believe that virtual reality will play an important role in making remote work permanent. One of the biggest changes that remote workers had to get used to was the shift from in-person meetings to video conference calls. Over 80% of workers who were working from home all or most of the time during the pandemic used video conferencing services such as Zoom to communicate with co-workers. But research has shown that spending countless hours per week on video calls can be exhausting. Researchers have even coined the term “Zoom fatigue” to describe this phenomenon. There are several causes of Zoom fatigue. First, making eye contact for an extended period of time is unnatural and can quickly fatigue the human brain. It’s also unnatural–and exhausting–to stare at an image of yourself for hours during these video calls. Studies have shown that this can cause negative emotional consequences. Studies have also shown that participating in a video call requires more mental energy than participating in an in-person meeting or audio call. This is because nonverbal communication often does not translate well over a video conference call, so attendees must exert more energy to send and receive messages. To successfully switch to a state of permanent remote work, companies must address Zoom fatigue. Some experts believe that the solution to this problem is virtual reality technology. Experts predict that virtual reality technology can be used to simulate face-to-face interactions with co-workers. Instead of hosting video calls, companies can now use virtual reality technology to host virtual meetings. Because virtual reality creates a fully immersive, simulated environment, attendees will feel like they’re actually back in the office in a conference room rather than sitting in front of their computer. Using virtual reality technology in this manner can help remote workers experience the personal interactions with their co-workers that they sorely miss. Because it feels like a real meeting rather than a video call, it can also help remote workers avoid the burnout of Zoom fatigue. Shifting from Zoom video calls to virtual meetings powered by virtual reality technology might be the key to successfully making remote work permanent. How Virtual Reality Could Transform Major Cities [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/How-A-Remote-Workforce-Could-Change-Major-Cities.jpg] HOW A REMOTE WORKFORCE COULD CHANGE MAJOR CITIES If virtual reality successfully helps companies make the switch to remote work permanent, this could completely transform major cities from coast-to-coast. Fewer employees will be physically present in the workplace if companies allow most of their employees to continue working from home. As a result, companies will have a hard time justifying the need to spend thousands or even millions of dollars on office space per year. Many companies may downsize to smaller offices or decide to get rid of physical office space altogether. Either way, there will be a significant decrease in demand for office space. This could leave millions of square feet of office space vacant in big cities. Some office buildings may need to be torn down and converted into residential buildings. Other office buildings may be converted into multi-use buildings instead. Companies that used to occupy an entire building may decide to sublet some of their space to other employers. Now, office buildings are typically centralized in the downtown districts of major cities. However, this could change. Some experts believe that smaller office buildings will start to appear in other less populated areas now that companies no longer need as much space. These changes could affect where people live, too. Right now, many people live in suburbs on the outer edges of metropolitan areas so they can quickly commute to work. But if these changes occur, there won’t be a need to settle down in the suburbs. Remote work will give people the freedom to live wherever they want regardless of how many miles their home is from their workplace. Because of this, more people might move away from the city to less populated, rural areas. How Virtual Reality Could Transform Major Cities [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/The-Challenges-of-Implementing-Virtual-Reality-in-the-Workplace.jpg] THE CHALLENGES OF IMPLEMENTING VIRTUAL REALITY IN THE WORKPLACE If these predictions are true, using virtual reality to make remote work permanent could have huge implications for big cities across the country. But first, companies will need to overcome a few challenges associated with implementing virtual reality in the workplace. Employers must be willing to invest in virtual reality headsets for their employees. Without these devices, employees won’t be able to attend virtual meetings, so they will be limited to audio or video calls. Employers must also be willing to develop virtual reality platforms where they can host their meetings. This is a significant investment, but one that will pay off in the long run if companies are committed to making remote work permanent. Companies must also be willing to train employees on how to use virtual reality technology. Although it’s not hard to use virtual reality, there may be a learning curve for employees who aren’t very tech-savvy or willing to adapt to new technologies. Employers should also focus on educating employees on the benefits of virtual meetings compared to video conference calls. This way, employees will understand why it’s so important to take advantage of this technology. It’s too early to tell whether these predictions will come true, but it’s safe to say that virtual reality technology will continue to have a major impact on the world in the future.
Augmented Reality in the Car Buying Process
The car buying process has changed drastically over the years. In the past, the average consumer visited five dealerships before making a purchase decision, but now, 41% of automotive consumers only visit one dealership. Instead of traveling from dealership to dealership, automotive consumers now make more decisions online ahead of time. In fact, many consumers are ready to purchase a specific vehicle once they arrive at a dealership. This shift in the automotive consumer’s car buying process was made possible in large part due to augmented reality technology. Over the last several years, a growing number of automotive companies have started to use augmented reality to digitize the process of buying a car. How is augmented reality used in the car buying process? How can using this technology benefit automotive companies and consumers? Here’s what you should know: Augmented Reality in the Car Buying Process [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/What-is-Augmented-Reality.jpg] WHAT IS AUGMENTED REALITY? Augmented reality is a technology that allows users to superimpose elements from the digital world into their real world environment. Using this technology, users can project digital images, sounds, videos, and other elements directly onto their surroundings. In other words, it blends the digital world and real world together. Users may need to wear a special headset or pair of glasses in order to experience augmented reality technology. However, in some cases, an augmented reality experience can be accessed using just a smartphone or tablet. Perhaps the most famous use of augmented reality is Pokemon Go, which is an app that launched in 2016. The app superimposes Pokemon characters directly onto the user’s real world environment so they can “catch” as many characters as possible. HOW IS AUGMENTED REALITY USED IN THE CAR BUYING PROCESS? The automotive industry is currently using augmented reality in several different steps of the car buying process. Some of its many uses include: * Explore Cars * Access Important Information * Post-Purchase Support EXPLORE CARS Before the introduction of augmented reality technology, consumers used to have to travel to multiple dealerships to see cars in person, explore their features, compare different models, and decide which car was right for them before making a purchase. These were all important steps in the car buying process. But now, consumers can complete all of these steps from the comfort of their home thanks to augmented reality technology. Many automotive companies now offer consumers the opportunity to explore vehicles with augmented reality technology. Using this technology, consumers can project different vehicles into their real world environment. This gives consumers a chance to get up close and personal with different vehicles so they can learn more about their features and tour their interiors and exteriors. They can explore vehicles just like they would inside a real showroom, except they won’t need to step foot inside a dealer. Consumers can also use this technology to see how a specific vehicle would look in their driveway or garage. This feature is especially useful for consumers who aren’t sure whether a specific vehicle will fit in a tight space in their garage. Because of this technology, consumers can research all of their options from home so they won’t need to spend as much time at the dealership once they’re ready to make a purchase. Augmented Reality in the Car Buying Process [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Access-Important-Information.jpg] ACCESS IMPORTANT INFORMATION Sometimes, a consumer’s car buying journey may begin when they spot a car that they like in a parking lot or driving on the street. In cases like these, augmented reality technology is used to help consumers quickly access important information on the vehicle they have their eye on. One company that is using augmented reality in this manner is USAA. In 2019, USAA launched an app that allows users to point their smartphone at any vehicle located nearby in order to pull up information on the car. The app will provide the user with important information such as the average purchase price and cost of insurance. It will also provide the user with a list of local dealerships that currently have the vehicle in stock. All of this information will be superimposed onto the user’s real world environment using augmented reality technology. This app makes it easy for consumers to quickly get information on vehicles they are interested in purchasing. It also provides them with the information they need to determine if they can afford the car and if so, where they should go to purchase it. As a result, consumers won’t need to conduct this research on their own, which speeds up their car buying journey. POST-PURCHASE SUPPORT The car buying journey is not over once the consumer purchases a vehicle. The last stage in the car buying journey is the post-purchase experience, which is the stage where automotive companies try to convert consumers into loyal customers. A number of automotive companies are using augmented reality to transform the post-purchase experience for consumers. For example, some automotive companies use augmented reality to educate consumers on how to care for and maintain their vehicles. Automotive consumers can use their smartphone to scan their vehicles, which will launch virtual animations projected onto their real world environment that walk them through the steps of checking their oil, changing their tire, or diagnosing a fluid leak. The animations will be projected directly onto their vehicle so they can easily reference the information. After-market car parts suppliers are also using augmented reality to appeal to consumers in the post-purchase stage of their car buying journey. One company, Delphi, uses augmented reality technology to show consumers a full list of products that are available for the specific make and model of their vehicle. Augmented Reality in the Car Buying Process [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/What-Are-the-Benefits-of-Using-Augmented-Reality-in-the-Car-Buying-Process.jpg] WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING AUGMENTED REALITY IN THE CAR BUYING PROCESS? There are many benefits to using augmented reality to change the car buying process, including: * Enhanced Shopping Experience * Convenience * Realistic Assets ENHANCED SHOPPING EXPERIENCE Augmented reality technology has taken the automotive shopping experience to a whole new level for consumers. Today’s consumers expect a high quality, unforgettable shopping experience regardless of whether they are shopping in person or online. By using augmented reality, automotive companies can provide a unique experience that fulfills this need. Using augmented reality to research vehicles early on in the car buying process helps automotive consumers save time at the dealership, too. Research shows that automotive consumers are unhappy with the current process of buying a new car. Their least favorite part of the process is the amount of time they are forced to spend at the dealership to complete the transaction. In fact, research shows that the less time a consumer spends at a dealership to purchase a car, the higher the consumer will rate the car buying process as a whole. To improve the consumer’s shopping experience, automotive companies must focus on helping them complete as many steps of the car buying process online as possible. This is where augmented reality technology comes in. Now, consumers can use this technology to narrow down their options and make a purchase decision at home. They don’t need to visit a dealer until they are actually ready to make a purchase, so they won’t need to spend as much time inside. Furthermore, using augmented reality technology allows consumers to take their time when it comes to researching vehicles. They won’t feel pressured by the presence of a sales representative since they can conduct this research on their own at home. For these reasons, augmented reality has led to significant improvements in the car buying process. Augmented Reality in the Car Buying Process [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Convenience.jpg] CONVENIENCE The use of augmented reality technology has made the process of buying a car far more convenient for consumers. Automotive consumers no longer need to spend hours or days visiting different dealerships to explore their options. They also don’t have to wait until a dealership opens in order to start conducting research. Now, they can get the showroom experience from the comfort of their home at any time. Using augmented reality in this manner makes the car buying process more convenient for auto dealers, too. Because consumers can use this technology to virtually tour a wide range of vehicles, auto dealers won’t need to keep as many vehicles on their lots. This can reduce the cost of transporting, storing, and maintaining dozens of vehicles on a dealer’s lot. REALISTIC ASSETS The vast majority of automotive consumers start the car buying process online. During these early stages of the buying cycle, automotive consumers expect to find a wealth of information on their options. This includes detailed information on each vehicle’s features in addition to high quality, realistic photos and videos. Automotive companies can no longer get by with standard still photographs of their inventory. Now, consumers expect to see realistic, three-dimensional assets of each vehicle they are thinking about purchasing. The use of augmented reality technology helps automotive companies exceed these consumers’ expectations. Augmented reality technology gives automotive consumers the chance to take 360-degree tours of different vehicles. They can walk around a car and see it from every angle just like they would if they were standing inside a dealership. Because augmented reality assets are so realistic, they allow consumers to get a real sense of what the vehicle looks like without ever seeing it in person. Augmented reality has helped the automotive industry enter a new age of car buying. As more companies begin to adopt this technology, it’s safe to say that the industry will continue to find new and exciting ways to use augmented reality to gain a competitive edge.
Car Shopping: Virtual Reality Tips
Shopping at the car dealership might be so 20th century! Car shopping virtual reality-style might be the new trend in hunting for a new vehicle. Don’t go shutting the door to the dealership yet, though. Dealership trips can still be part of the process! If shopping for a car via virtual reality sounds a bit futuristic, well, this is the future! Get ready to step into a new reality! Here’s how to go car shopping in virtual reality. Buckle up and take a virtual ride! DOES A VIRTUAL REALITY CAR DEALERSHIP EXIST? While it’s possible to go car shopping using virtual reality, consumers may wonder if car dealerships have gone virtual. Does a virtual car dealership exist? While it might not be possible to put on a virtual reality headset and step into a local car dealership, there are virtual reality car showrooms that allow shoppers to preview and check out a huge inventory of vehicles. Local dealerships could offer their own virtual reality experiences. They also could offer a virtual tour of their own showroom online. Or they might even post a tour of their showroom via YouTube, and this experience also could be ‘virtual’…even if it isn’t virtual reality. Virtual experiences can take the place of the in-person experience, saving the shopper time and allowing them to browse at their leisure. Using a virtual showroom could be one of the first steps in the buying research process for consumers who might not know what type of vehicle they want. Or maybe a virtual showroom could be used to browse through many different vehicles just to virtually window shop. GO VIRTUAL FOR LESS PRESSURE While shoppers can still visit numerous different dealerships in their area or peruse their website, a virtual showroom can be useful for shopping without commitment or pressure. Do buyers love the high pressure of the dealership? Apparently…not so much. Edmonds.com conducted a survey of car buyers, and the results weren’t shocking. Ninety percent of those surveyed don’t want to negotiate, instead they’d rather just have the price set. More than 20 percent would go without sex for an entire month if they didn’t have to deal with all that negotiating! Meanwhile, Edmonds reported that 33 percent would choose that airplane middle seat, a visit to the DMV or handle their taxes instead of dealership negotiations. Millennials, though, disliked those negotiations more than Baby Boomers, according to the survey results. This could be because Boomers have more experience and the process of buying a car is more familiar to them. Or maybe their parents taught them a few tricks? Virtual shopping can help Millennials and all car shoppers delay those negotiations a bit. Instead of being pressured in the dealership, shoppers can take all the time they need trying to find the car that appeals to them. With the internet and virtual experiences, the computer can be shut down and shoppers can come back to the sites later. When researching online, shoppers can make notes about the cars and the features that they want and need. Then they can visit dealership sites to compare prices and prepare for their visit. Knowing what they want before the visit can help save time. However, shoppers still may have to negotiate at the actual dealership! Car Shopping: Virtual Reality Tips [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Navigating-Through-a-Virtual-Car-Showroom.jpg] NAVIGATING THROUGH A VIRTUAL CAR SHOWROOM RelayCars offers a virtual car showroom with a massive inventory of makes and models. Shoppers can visit the online virtual car showroom to explore all the virtual vehicles. When visiting RelayCars’ website, users can enter the virtual showroom on the site’s main page. They will see a form that allows them to select the make, model, year and trim. How far back do the model years run? That depends on the vehicle. When available, RelayCars may offer models as far back as five years…or maybe more. Once the user has selected their vehicle option, they can view it virtually. Using the mouse, the car can be viewed from different angles and turned around to view different vantage points. Users can even look inside the vehicle. RelayCars also lets users view the vehicle in different paint hues, however the paint options are based on the options for the make/model. WHAT ABOUT PRE-OWNED CARS? Many car buyers opt for preowned cars. While RelayCars allows users to look at past model years, the site does not provide images of a specific dealership’s pre-owned inventory. Shoppers that are interested in a specific model year can use RelayCars as a resource for reference purposes. When shoppers are looking at preowned options, they should contact their local dealer for more photos of their inventory. SHOPPERS DON’T NEED A HEADSET! Virtual reality might conjure up images of big bulky headsets and space-age environments. While headsets are used to access virtual environments, RelayCars’ online virtual reality car showroom does not require a headset or any special equipment. The virtual showroom is open 24/7 to anyone with access to the internet. However, a high-speed internet connection is recommended, and the user’s internet speed may affect the loading time of images. Car Shopping: Virtual Reality Tips [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Car-Shopping-in-Virtual-Reality.jpg] HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GO CAR SHOPPING IN VIRTUAL REALITY? Think of RelayCars as online, virtual window shopping. The experience is free, and users can check out virtual cars any time of the day or night. Shopping for a car virtually puts the buyer in the driver’s seat. Visit the virtual showroom when it’s convenient. RelayCars is meant to be a shopping resource. Research the look and design of different cars. Buyers can use the virtual showroom to weed out the cars that they don’t like so much and find the models of the cars that fit their needs. Sometimes shoppers may even discover new models that weren’t on their radar. Since RelayCars lets users decide what they want to view, the virtual experience can be fun and enjoyable. The site also offers many different luxury models; if visitors want to check out a Porsche, they are free to explore those models virtually. AFTER THE VIRTUAL VISIT During their visit to the site, though, car shoppers might want to make a list of the vehicles that they prefer. Then they can visit their local car dealership’s website to find out about any promotions and to research prices. Those who are looking for preowned models might need to search for that particular model year via local dealerships. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR RELAYCARS? Technology is always changing, and RelayCars is constantly adding new inventory to the virtual reality showroom. As new models roll out, these may be available in the virtual showroom. New experiences also may be added in the future. Augmented and virtual reality are part of extended reality. These experiences change how users interact with the world. And both augmented and virtual reality can provide unique car shopping experiences. Augmented reality showrooms allow users to actually place a graphic depiction of a vehicle in their own environment. Augmented reality uses the camera of a phone or tablet to showcase the real environment and overlay graphics within that space. This technology lets users preview cars in the backyard, the garage, the driveway or even on a bed! If the car fits, augmented reality can show it in any space! Check out RelayCars often to find updates about new virtual inventory as well as any new virtual or augmented reality experiences that will be available on the site.