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A Car Visualizer Helps Buyers Imagine the Possibilities

A Car Visualizer Helps Buyers Imagine the Possibilities

July 7, 2021

Cox Automotives 2019 Car Buyer Journey Study revealed that utilizing smartphones for car shopping increased “…11 percentage points year over year.” As Cox points out, this boost in the use of smartphones means that the shopping experience needs to be accessible via all types of devices. Computers are now handheld, thanks to tablets and phones.Shopping and research methodologies available online also have evolved, and they continue to become more unique, interactive and immersive to meet the ever changing demands of the consumer. A car visualizer tool, for example, may integrate technology like augmented reality or virtual reality to help shoppers preview different makes and models and even swap out paint hues. A car visualizer helps buyers imagine the possibilities of their dream car when shopping or researching online. But how does this unique tool actually benefit the shopper? And what are the costs of using this type of technology? Car shopping might begin at home…and online. Cars are an expensive purchase, so buyers might be hesitant to spend money on just the research aspect of their hunt. Check out many different vehicles online, and make a list of favorites before heading to the dealerships! There also aren’t a maximum number of cars that can be previewed or visualized via RelayCars. Have fun looking at all of them! Car Visualizer [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/What-Can-Shoppers-Visualize.jpg] WHAT CAN SHOPPERS VISUALIZE WITH A CAR VISUALIZER? Consumers can choose from a long list of makes and models to preview online. Images are shown to scale in 3D. The virtual reality showroom lets shoppers view the car from different angles or vantage points to get a better idea of the design of the vehicle. Shoppers also can look inside the car to see the interior features or check out the space in the backseat. Use the mouse to navigate around the vehicle and see images of specific details. The car visualizer tool also lets shoppers change the paint colors of the automobile. Some buyers have a color preference, but others might not care about those hues. This option lets shoppers preview many different paint colors, and this could lead to shoppers finding a personal preference among those options. For pre-owned cars, buyers might not be able to choose their favorite hue. Previewing different colors can help buyers see what each option looks like. When they begin their in-person hunt, they can be better prepared for all the color options they might come across on the lots.   HOW CAN A CAR VISUALIZER SAVE TIME? Cox Automotive also notes that almost two-thirds of consumers (65 percent) visit third-party sites first during their shopping journey. And while Cox’s survey notes that buyers will visit an average of 2.5 dealerships, “…41% of car buyers only visit one dealership.” When buyers can research vehicles online, perhaps they have more knowledge going into a dealership regarding what they really want and need. For this reason, a car visualizer might save buyers time during those in-person visits. Viewing cars online allows buyers to get up close with different makes and models. They may be able to rule out certain vehicles, and may even create a list of the models that they want to focus on during their visit to the dealership. A CAR VISUALIZER: A VIRTUAL SHOWROOM…AND A VIRTUAL CAR LOT! RelayCars’ online virtual car visualizer is technically a virtual showroom. Using this online tool, shoppers can choose one model to explore at a time. However, this tool also can serve as a virtual car lot, too. When shoppers have a specific preference regarding the make of the car—e.g. Ford, Subaru, Toyota, Nissan, etc.—they can use the car showroom to preview all the different models from that manufacturer. Maybe the consumer is trying to decide between a few different models of a brand. A virtual car visualizer lets the shopper explore all the different models both inside and out! Look at the model in different colors, too! The visit to the car dealership may then just focus on test drives, paperwork and negotiations. When the buyer already knows the details of their favorite models, they can focus on the purchase…and finalizing the deal! Car Visualizer [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Is-a-Car-Visualizer-Compatible-with-all-Devices.jpg] IS A CAR VISUALIZER COMPATIBLE WITH ALL DEVICES? RelayCars’ virtual reality showroom can be viewed online using a high-speed internet connection. The speed of the connection, however, can affect how quickly photos and images load on the tool. Consumers can use RelayCars on their personal computer, laptop or handheld device (phone or tablet). Don’t worry about downloading any apps or data; just visit the site to preview all the different vehicles. Navigating the car visualizer (or virtual car showroom) is easy! Just use the mouse to move around the vehicle and see the car from different perspectives. The showroom offers viewing options, which can be found at the bottom of the web page. Users can choose to view the car’s exterior, interior or click through different paint colors to change the look of the car. Most models offer numerous paint color options. DOES VIRTUAL REALITY REQUIRE A HEADSET? RelayCars offers a virtual showroom to preview different vehicles. While some virtual reality experiences can only be accessed via a headset, RelayCars is accessible by anyone with a fast internet connection. No headset required. The ‘virtual’ aspect of the showroom is that it exists in an online or virtual space. The cars are represented in scaled models and images are 3D. All aspects of the experience are immersive. Users can explore all different aspects of a vehicle, and, in this way, can enjoy a virtual reality showroom without investing in any extra technology or equipment. HOW MANY CARS ARE AVAILABLE VIA A CAR VISUALIZER? Using RelayCars’ virtual reality showroom allows shoppers to access new and older cars from almost every manufacturer.   Most makes include earlier models dating from 2015 (depending on the vehicle model) and go up to current models. Shoppers looking for a pre-owned car can explore these earlier models to help them during their hunt.  While the cars via RelayCars are not pre-owned depictions, they are model representations of those particular vehicles. Buyers should keep in mind that pre-owned models could vary regarding their features, condition and/or other details. While virtual car visualizers can help those looking for a pre-owned vehicle see a particular year’s model, a visit to the dealership allows buyers to get up close to pre-owned vehicles…and to test the vehicle on the road. Car Visualizer [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/The-dealership.jpg] When consumers have researched an estimated price and have determined that this is the car for their budget and lifestyle, it might be time for a trip to the dealership. Online resources might have armed the consumer with all the information they need to negotiate or just finalize the deal. The dealership is also the place to take those dream vehicles for a test drive. While online tools can help shoppers visualize the car and even find pricing, driving the car might be what makes…or breaks…the deal. Sometimes even the most perfect car might not be what the shopper is looking for on the road. But even if the test drive ends on a low note, research from the car visualizer might allow the consumer to have a few back-up options to take for a spin. Consumers beginning their car shopping journey can visit RelayCars to check out all the different vehicle options and find their favorites. Make a list of a few options, price them out via other websites or sources and then head to the dealership to find the best car for the budget.

Augmented Reality Auto Showroom

Augmented Reality Auto Showroom

July 7, 2021

The days of traveling from showroom to showroom to find the perfect vehicle are over. The automotive showroom experience is now available at your fingertips. RelayCars gives you the power to explore vehicles inside a virtual or augmented reality showroom without ever stepping foot inside a dealership. EXPLORE A CURATED SELECTION OF VEHICLES The RelayCars augmented reality showroom app highlights a curated selection of vehicles from our extensive automotive library. See some of the latest models from a wide range of automotive manufacturers, including Lexus, BMW, Audi, Ford, Mercedes, and Toyota.  You can choose which vehicles you want to explore. The best part? You won’t have a sales representative pressuring you to make a decision. You are in control of your experience inside the augmented reality showroom. Simply select the vehicle category, year, make, and model to get started. Are you looking for a specific make or model? If it’s not already in our inventory, check back later. Our inventory within the augmented reality app is updated with new vehicles throughout the year, so you can continue to explore the latest models inside your personal showroom. SEE YOUR DREAM CAR IN YOUR DRIVEWAY Have you ever wondered what your dream car would look like sitting in your driveway? Or whether a specific make or model would fit comfortably inside your garage? The answers to these questions are just a few clicks away thanks to the power of augmented reality. Here’s how it works: 1. Open the RelayCars app and use your mobile device to scan your surroundings. 2. Select the make, model, and year you would like to explore inside the augmented reality showroom. You can customize your selection even further by choosing a specific color.  3. Place your selected vehicle in your driveway, garage, or anywhere else in your surroundings. To increase or decrease the size of the vehicle, use your fingers to adjust the scale on your mobile device. 4. Start exploring the vehicle. All you need is your mobile device and the RelayCars app to bring a vehicle into your home.  Augmented Reality Auto Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Get-In-the-Drivers-Seat.jpg] GET IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT You can see vehicles from every angle inside your personal augmented reality showroom. To explore the vehicle’s exterior, use your fingers to rotate the vehicle on your mobile device. You can adjust the size of the vehicle to get a closer look at any angle. No showroom experience is complete without a look inside the vehicle. Use the RelayCars app to sit in the driver’s seat and take a look around the interior of the vehicle. You will get to see the same interior amenities and features you would if you were looking at the car in person. But thanks to augmented reality technology, you can see what it’s like to get behind the wheel of a vehicle without ever leaving home.  SHARE PICTURES WITH FRIENDS There are no limits on how many vehicles you can see in your personal augmented reality showroom, so explore as many as you would like.  If you find a car you love–or if you want a second opinion–use the “Share” feature to send pictures of the vehicle to family members or friends. Share pictures of multiple vehicles if you need help narrowing down your options. It’s just like sending your loved ones photos of a car from a dealership, but from the comfort of your home. EXPLORE AN EXTENSIVE LIBRARY OF VIRTUAL VEHICLES Step inside the virtual lobby within the RelayCars virtual reality showroom app to start exploring vehicles. Choose from our extensive vehicle inventory, which contains over one thousand different makes and models starting with model year 2015.  You will have access to vehicles from a wide range of categories, including exotics, sedans, hybrids, full-size trucks, SUVs, and more. Once you select the year, make, and model, you can customize your vehicle selection even further by choosing a specific color. Our inventory is updated year-round to ensure you always have access to the latest models. Augmented Reality Auto Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Take-A-Virtual-Tour-of-the-Vehicles-Interior-and-Exterior.jpg] TAKE A VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE VEHICLE’S INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR Once inside your virtual showroom, follow these steps to take a virtual tour of any vehicle: * Choose the make, model, and year of the vehicle you want to explore. * View high-resolution, realistic, 360-degree interior and exterior images of every vehicle in our inventory. The images are presented in a large-screen format to make it feel as if you are actually next to or inside of the vehicle rather than viewing it from your mobile device. * Move your mobile device around to explore different parts of the vehicle. The images will move along with the motions of your mobile device, which is part of what makes it such a truly immersive experience. You don’t need a virtual reality headset to enjoy this experience. All you need is your mobile device.  LEARN MORE ABOUT EACH VEHICLE IN THE SHOWROOM There may not be an automotive sales representative inside your virtual showroom, but you can still learn everything you need to know about a vehicle within the RelayCars app. Use the app to learn more about each vehicle inside the showroom, including its trim detail, drivetrain, and other features.  SAVE AND COMPARE YOUR FAVORITE VEHICLES  If you find a vehicle you love, save it to your personal collection so you can quickly pull it up again in the future. The next time you step into your virtual showroom, you won’t have to start a new search to find the vehicle you had your eye on. All you need to do is visit your collection of saved vehicles to see it again. This feature allows you to keep track of which vehicles you like the most. Car shoppers can use this feature to compare different makes and models, narrow down their options, and choose the right vehicle for their lifestyle. Augmented Reality Auto Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Step-Into-A-Virtual-Showroom-From-Your-Computer.jpg] STEP INTO A VIRTUAL SHOWROOM FROM YOUR COMPUTER Now you have the option of exploring the RelayCars virtual showroom from a mobile device, tablet, or computer. This provides a more flexible experience and allows car shoppers and enthusiasts to visit their virtual showroom from whatever device is most convenient to them. ACCESS ALL OF YOUR FAVORITE FEATURES FROM THE RELAYCARS APP You can access all of your favorite features inside your virtual reality showroom regardless of whether you are visiting it from a mobile device or computer.  The same extensive inventory of vehicles, customization options, views, and immersive experience. The same virtual reality automotive showroom–just on a different device.  Ready to experience the new car shopping experience? Visit https://vr.relaycars.com.

Categories: Augmented Reality
Will Remote Work Become the New Norm?

Will Remote Work Become the New Norm?

July 5, 2021

In 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that only 5.3% of the workforce was working remotely full-time. But that number has increased significantly over the years, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Last year, many offices and workplaces had to temporarily close their doors to comply with local stay-at-home or lockdown orders. Most of the U.S. workforce had to start working remotely in response to this sudden, unexpected change. In fact, right before the COVID-19 pandemic, only 20% of the workforce was working remotely, but this number grew to 70% during the pandemic.  Even though the stay-at-home and lockdown orders were lifted last year, most workers still have not returned to the office. This has led many experts to question whether working from home will continue even after the pandemic is over. What are the pros and cons of working remotely? What will the future of remote work look like? Here’s what you should know: WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF WORKING FROM HOME? Remote work has the potential to benefit both employers and employees. Some of the many advantages of working from include: * Increased job satisfaction. Research shows that employees who work from home are more satisfied with their jobs than employees that must commute to work.  * More flexibility. Working from home allows employees to work more flexible hours, which can help them achieve a better work/life balance. * Lower operating costs. By allowing employees to work from home, employers can avoid the cost of renting or buying office space. The U.S. Patent Office, for example, saved $38 million on office space by switching to remote work. * Larger job applicant pool. If employees work from home, employers are free to hire job candidates located all around the country. They are no longer limited to local candidates. * Increased productivity. Numerous studies have shown that productivity tends to increase when employees work remotely. * More control over the work environment. Employees who work from home can create their own work environment, which is something they cannot do in the office. This allows them to create whatever type of environment works best for them.  Will Remote Work Become the New Norm? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/What-Are-the-Drawbacks-of-Working-From-Home.jpg] WHAT ARE THE DRAWBACKS OF WORKING FROM HOME? There are drawbacks to working from home, too. Some of the disadvantages of remote work include: * Enforced isolation. Working from home means spending a lot of time alone, which may not appeal to some employees. * Noisy environment. Employees with kids or employees who share their at-home work space with a spouse or roommate may have to work in a noisy, distracting environment. * Longer hours. Studies show that employees who work from home tend to work longer hours than employees who commute to work. This could be because it’s harder to separate work from your personal life when you are working from home. * Privacy concerns. Employers often keep tabs on their remote workers with monitoring software, which some employees may consider an invasion of their privacy. * Limited to certain professions. It’s impossible for people who work in health care, service, public transportation, and other fields to work from home.  * Child care. During the pandemic, many remote employees had no other choice but to juggle child care and work, which was a constant struggle. HOW REMOTE WORK HAS CHANGED HOW PEOPLE WORK Regardless of the future of remote work, working from home has already led to several major changes to the way people work. Some of these changes are positive, whereas others are not. These major changes include: * Shift to New Technologies * Rethink Meetings * Lack of Communication With “Weak Ties” SHIFT TO NEW TECHNOLOGIES Remote workers had to quickly adopt several new technologies in order to successfully complete their work from home.  For example, Accenture, which employs over 500,000 people around the world, had to send nearly all of its employees home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, less than 10% of employees worked remotely, so this represented a major shift for the company.  To adapt to this change, Accenture relied heavily on Microsoft Teams, which is a business communication platform. Because employees were no longer able to meet face-to-face, they used this platform to conduct audio and video calls with their co-workers. According to Accenture, the volume of video calls increased sixfold and audio calls tripled to 900 million minutes. Thanks in part to these technologies, Accenture employees were able to seamlessly switch to remote work. Employee productivity also increased across several metrics, including developer productivity. Will Remote Work Become the New Norm? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Rethink-Meetings.jpg] RETHINK MEETINGS It’s no secret that employees don’t enjoy meetings. Multiple studies have shown that employees want to reduce the number of meetings they must attend in the workplace. In fact, one study conducted by researchers at Boston University found that 71% of employees think most meetings are unproductive and inefficient. Fortunately, the shift to remote work has forced many employers to rethink common office practices, including meetings.  Employers now schedule video conferences with employees who are working remotely. But video conferencing technology is far from perfect. The signal is often delayed, which leads to attendees awkwardly talking over one another. Furthermore, many employees find it unnatural and unsettling to stare at their co-workers on a video conference for hours.  Problems like these have made employers more mindful of when they are scheduling meetings and who needs to attend. To avoid issues with video conferencing, employers are now only scheduling meetings when it is absolutely necessary, and they’re only inviting those who could benefit from attending. As a result, there are fewer formal video conference meetings with remote workers, although co-workers still stay in constant contact via instant messaging. LACK OF COMMUNICATION WITH “WEAK TIES” In an office setting, conversations often start when two or more employees bump into one another in a common area. But this isn’t possible in a remote setting, and the lack of small talk like this has changed the way remote employees communicate with one another. Humanyze software is designed to evaluate internal communication within organizations. It classifies each contact as a “strong tie” or “weak tie.” A strong tie is a contact an employee talks to frequently, whereas a weak tie is a contact an employee rarely talks to.  Prior to COVID-19, about 45% of an employee’s time was spent communicating with their five strongest ties within their organization. During the pandemic, this number increased to 60%. In other words, working remotely made strong ties even stronger.  On the other hand, communication with contacts classified as weak ties decreased by over 30%. Research has shown that communication between weak ties within a company often leads to innovative new ideas. Because of this, the drop in weak tie communication could affect a company’s ability to innovate.  Will Remote Work Become the New Norm? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/The-Future-of-Remote-Work.jpg] THE FUTURE OF REMOTE WORK There’s no doubt that the pandemic completely disrupted the way people work. But after the pandemic is over, will employees return to the workplace and go back to business as usual? Here are three predictions about the future of remote work: * Emergence of New Technologies * Permanent Shift to Remote Work * Hybrid Remote/Office Model EMERGENCE OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES Experts believe that countless new technologies will emerge to support remote work. Some experts predict that employers will use augmented reality and virtual reality to conduct meetings with remote workers in the future. These technologies may create a more personal, intimate meeting experience and eventually replace video conferencing and audio calls. Several communication platforms designed specifically for remote workers are already in development. Pragli is an instant messaging platform that allows remote workers to make their conversations public, which would give their co-workers an opportunity to join their conversation. The platform’s developers believe that this feature will help remote workers engage in small talk and banter that occurs frequently in an office setting. There’s also Loom.ai, which is a video conferencing platform that lets remote workers use avatars instead of showing their faces. Switching to an avatar helps remote workers avoid the awkwardness of staring at their co-workers during a video conference. It also gives remote workers the freedom to get up from their seats and move around so they don’t need to sit in the same position staring at their screen for the duration of the meeting. PERMANENT SHIFT TO REMOTE WORK Some experts predict that a number of companies will allow their employees to work remotely forever. Several companies have already hinted that this is a very real possibility. Facebook, for example, expects half of their workforce to shift to remote work within the next five years. Other companies have already moved forward with plans to permanently shift to remote work. Twitter has announced that its employees will not be required to return to the office at any point in the future. Nationwide Insurance permanently closed six of its offices after announcing that one-third of employees will now permanently work from home. These are just several examples of companies that are making the switch to remote work permanent, but experts predict that many others will follow suit in the near future. Will Remote Work Become the New Norm? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Hybrid-Remote.jpg] HYBRID REMOTE/OFFICE MODEL Experts also predict that companies will adopt a hybrid model that allows employees to split their time between home and the office.  This is partly due to the fact that research shows that employees find it challenging to build trust with co-workers online. To solve this problem, experts believe that employers will give employees both face-to-face time and remote work time.  One scholar, Timothy Golden, found that there is a correlation between a worker’s happiness and the amount of time they spend working remotely. The more someone works from home, the happier they are. However, the worker’s happiness tends to plateau once they reach 15 hours of remote work per week. At this point, their happiness will not increase regardless of how many more hours they work from home. This study supports the idea of adopting a hybrid home/office approach in the future.

How Virtual Reality is Used for Car Design

How Virtual Reality is Used for Car Design

July 2, 2021

Virtual reality is a unique technology that transports users to a simulated environment. It creates a fully immersive experience by shutting out the user’s real world, so everything that the user sees, hears, and senses is part of the simulated environment. Many people associate virtual reality technology with the gaming industry. It’s true that virtual reality has been used to develop a wide range of fun games for consumers, but it has also been used in a multitude of ways outside of the gaming industry.  In the automotive industry, for example, virtual reality technology has been used to completely revolutionize the process of designing new vehicles. How can automotive manufacturers use virtual reality for car design? What are the benefits of using this technology in this manner? Here’s what you should know: WHAT INSPIRED AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURERS TO DESIGN CARS WITH VIRTUAL REALITY? A few automotive manufacturers have been experimenting with using virtual reality to design vehicles for the last several years. But the COVID-19 global pandemic was the main factor that led to the widespread adoption of using virtual reality technology in this way. Stay-at-home orders and lockdown restrictions forced many companies, including automotive manufacturers, to temporarily close their offices for months in 2020. Automotive design teams were temporarily unable to work together under the same roof, so they were forced to find new ways to collaborate on future designs. As a result, many automotive manufacturers turned to virtual reality technology to design new vehicles. Even though COVID-19 lockdowns and stay-at-home orders have now been lifted, many automotive manufacturers are still using this technology to simplify the design process.  How Virtual Reality is Used for Car Design [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/How-Are-Cars-Designed-With-Virtual-Reality.jpg] HOW ARE CARS DESIGNED WITH VIRTUAL REALITY? Before learning how virtual reality is used to design new vehicles, it’s important to understand how automotive manufacturers designed vehicles in the past. The design process typically starts out the same regardless of whether or not virtual reality is used. It generally begins with several meetings where designers can share ideas and get feedback. After these meetings are over, the designers will create concept sketches to present to the company’s decision makers.  The next steps will vary depending on whether the design team is using virtual reality technology. If the team is not using virtual reality technology, they will create a clay prototype of the design once the concept sketch has been approved by the decision makers. The design will then go through multiple rounds of edits based on the team’s input. Each time the design is revised, the team must create a new clay prototype to reflect the changes. This process continues until the design has been finalized.  However, if the team is using virtual reality technology, they will not need to go through the trouble of creating multiple clay prototypes. Instead, the design team can use virtual reality technology to create a virtual model of the vehicle once the concept sketch has been approved.  Design teams must use virtual reality technology to create these virtual models. Designers can put on a virtual reality headset to instantly transport to a three-dimensional work environment. They use handheld controls to sketch lines, make edits, and manipulate the design of the vehicle. Using these controllers, they can rotate the model so they can view it from any angle. Designers can even place a virtual driver behind the wheel or step inside the virtual model to view the interior.  The design will still go through multiple rounds of edits, but all changes will be made directly to the virtual model rather than a clay prototype. How Virtual Reality is Used for Car Design [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/What-Are-the-Benefits-of-Using-Virtual-Reality-for-Car-Design.jpg] WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING VIRTUAL REALITY FOR CAR DESIGN? There are many benefits to using virtual reality for car design. First, the use of virtual reality can speed up the design process. According to Ford, the process of creating a model or prototype used to take weeks. But using this technology, an experienced designer can create a virtual model in under an hour. In other words, virtual reality technology can help automotive manufacturers quickly finalize new designs so they can start production on new vehicles right away.  Virtual reality saves automotive manufacturers money, too. It eliminates the need to create multiple clay prototypes, which are costly and time-consuming to produce. Eliminating this step in the process leads to significant savings for automotive manufacturers.  Virtually designing also gives designers the chance to get up close to a life-size model of the vehicle. This makes it easier for designers to spot design issues so they can be addressed earlier on in the process.  For example, virtual reality software allows designers to adjust their perspective so they can put themselves in the driver’s seat of the vehicle. This gives them the opportunity to identify and address issues with the driver’s visibility in the early stages of the design process.  It doesn’t take long to train designers on how to use this technology, either. Ford’s Design Manager, Michael Smith, has stated that it only takes about eight hours of training. Plus, many younger designers are already being taught how to use this technology in school. These are some of the many reasons why virtual design has become increasingly popular among automotive manufacturers. THE MANY APPLICATIONS OF VIRTUAL REALITY IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY The automotive industry uses virtual reality technology outside of the design process, too. Some of its many applications in the automotive industry include: * Employee Training * Market Research * Virtual Showrooms * Virtual Test Drives EMPLOYEE TRAINING Many automotive companies now use virtual reality technology to provide training to manufacturing and maintenance employees. Using this technology gives these employees the chance to get hands-on experience in a simulated environment where mistakes don’t have consequences.  Automotive companies also use virtual reality technology to train sales employees. Using this technology helps sales employees get familiar with the different features and selling points on a wide range of vehicles so they are prepared to interact with customers. It can also put sales employees in simulated environments where they learn how to respond to different circumstances that may occur during the sales process. This extensive training could help sales employees improve their sales techniques and close more deals. MARKET RESEARCH Automotive manufacturers often conduct market research by hosting car clinics, which give consumers a chance to review and provide feedback on different models. Manufacturers receive invaluable feedback on what consumers like and don’t like during these car clinics, but they are expensive to host. However, virtual reality technology allows automotive manufacturers to host these clinics at a fraction of the cost.  Hosting a virtual car clinic allows a manufacturer to avoid the cost of booking a venue and transporting consumers and vehicles to the event. Eliminating these costs makes conducting market research far more affordable for manufacturers of all sizes.  VIRTUAL SHOWROOMS Ten years ago, automotive consumers used to visit an average of five dealerships before deciding which vehicle to purchase. But the days of visiting multiple dealerships to learn more about different vehicles are over. Thanks to virtual reality technology, automotive consumers can now step inside virtual showrooms to explore countless vehicles using only their smartphones or computers. A virtual showroom is just like a real showroom, except it exists in a simulated environment created by virtual reality technology. Automotive consumers can still walk around each vehicle, inspect the interior and exterior, and see it from different viewpoints and angles. Consumers can even see what the vehicle looks like in every color option available. This gives consumers the power to conduct extensive research on their options from home, so they only need to visit a dealership once they’re ready to purchase a vehicle. This is one of the reasons why the average consumer now only visits one or two dealerships before making a purchase. How Virtual Reality is Used for Car Design [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Virtual-Test-Drives-1.jpg] VIRTUAL TEST DRIVES Surveys reveal that the vast majority of consumers are open to purchasing a vehicle online. However, one of the main issues that consumers identified with buying a car online is the inability to take a test drive. Fortunately, there is a way to move the car buying process online without forcing consumers to sacrifice the test drive. Many automotive manufacturers now offer consumers the option to take virtual test drives of vehicles they are interested in purchasing. This gives consumers the opportunity to test out different vehicles without ever stepping foot inside a dealership. They can see what it’s like to sit behind the wheel and take the vehicle for a virtual spin from the comfort of their home.  Taking a virtual test drive is easy, especially because it doesn’t require the use of a virtual reality headset. Instead, consumers can take advantage of this test drive option using just their smartphone or computer. Using virtual reality in this manner makes it easier for consumers to research and compare different vehicles, narrow down their options, and choose a vehicle that’s right for them. These are some of the many ways in which virtual reality technology is used in the automotive industry. The COVID-19 pandemic may have sparked the widespread adoption of virtual design, but there’s no doubt that this technology is here to stay in the automotive industry.

Categories: Virtual Reality
What You Should Know About Using A Car Customizer App

What You Should Know About Using A Car Customizer App

June 30, 2021

Last year, it was reported that there were nearly 9 million apps available in app stores globally. Even though it’s only been a year, there’s no doubt that this number has grown exponentially since then. With so many apps available, the expression “there’s an app for that” has never been more spot on.  This is especially true when it comes to the automotive industry, which offers a wide range of apps to meet all automotive consumers’ unique needs. One of the most popular types of automotive apps is the car customizer app, which gives consumers the power to create custom vehicles using their smartphones or tablets.  What can you do with a car customizer app? Which car customizer apps should you download? Here’s what you need to know about these innovative apps: WHAT ARE CAR CUSTOMIZER APPS? There are many different types of car customizer apps. Some apps allow you to see what different customization options such as tinted windows, spoilers, or paint colors would look like on a specific vehicle, whereas others let you select different wheels, rims, and other car parts to build a custom car from scratch.  Although the features may differ, all of these apps are designed to give consumers the opportunity to explore car customization options in the palm of their hand. Car Customizer App [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/How-Do-Car-Customizer-Apps-Work.jpg] HOW DO CAR CUSTOMIZER APPS WORK? Most car customizer apps are powered by innovative technologies, including 3D, virtual reality, and augmented reality technology. 3D technology is used to make objects within the app appear three-dimensional, which makes them look more real and life-like. This technology allows an app’s user to feel like they are actually customizing a real car. Virtual reality is a technology that transports users to a simulated environment. This technology creates a fully immersive experience, so everything users see, hear, and sense is part of the simulation. Virtual reality has the power to make users feel like they are standing right in front of the vehicle they are looking at on their app. Augmented reality is a technology that blends the user’s digital world and real world together. This technology allows users to superimpose digital elements such as images or sounds onto their real world environment. For example, an app with this technology might allow users to project a life-size digital model of a vehicle into their driveway. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING A CAR CUSTOMIZER APP? There are many benefits to using a car customizer app, including: * Convenient * Visualize Different Customization Options * Discover New Customization Options * Simplify the Car Buying Process CONVENIENT Using a car customizer app is convenient for consumers. The apps can be downloaded directly onto their smartphones or tablets and accessed at any time with a tap of a finger. This gives consumers the option of playing around with their customization options on any day, at any time.  They don’t need to wait for a business to open or schedule an appointment to begin–they can start at whatever time is most convenient to them. They also won’t need to invest in any special equipment in order to access these apps. All they need is a smartphone or tablet and access to the app store. VISUALIZE DIFFERENT CUSTOMIZATION OPTIONS It can be hard for consumers to visualize what a specific customization option will look like on a vehicle.  For example, if you are thinking about painting your car a different color, you may wonder whether you will be happy with the final result. Even if you love the color, you never know how it will look once it’s on your car. In the past, you may have had to spend hours searching for an image of your vehicle in the specific color online. Or even worse, you may have had no other choice but to go through with the paint job, not knowing whether or not you would regret the decision in the end. But now, you can easily visualize different customization options using your smartphone or tablet. You can see what different options actually look like, which may help you avoid making a costly customization mistake.  Car Customizer App [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Discover-New-Customization-Options.jpg] DISCOVER NEW CUSTOMIZATION OPTIONS There are hundreds of ways to customize your car, but most consumers aren’t aware of the  endless options available to them. This is why consumers can use these apps to discover customization options that they never thought of or imagined were possible. You can use a car customizer app to explore the exciting world of car customization to learn more about your options before deciding which ones are right for you.  SIMPLIFY THE BUYING PROCESS Many consumers use car customizer apps to see what different options will look like on vehicles they already own. However, consumers who are interested in purchasing a new vehicle can also benefit from these apps. If you are shopping for a new car, use a car customizer app to explore the car up close, see it in different colors, and learn more about its features. This makes it easy to research and compare different vehicles, narrow down your options, and choose a vehicle that’s right for you.  This can streamline the process of buying a new vehicle and save you time once you arrive at the dealer. By the time you go to the dealer, you will already know exactly what car you want to purchase, so you won’t need to spend hours on the showroom floor.  WHAT ARE THE BEST CAR CUSTOMIZER APPS? The app store is filled with countless car customizer apps, which can make it hard to determine which one you should download. If you’re ready to explore the world of car customization, here are some of the best apps to download on your smartphone or tablet: * RelayCars * Fix My Car: Custom Mods LITE * Car Mechanic Simulator 18 * Car Wrapper * Paint My Ride FIX MY CAR: CUSTOM MODS LITE Have you ever wondered what a specific vehicle would look like as a street racing car? If so, this is the app for you. Fix My Car: Custom Mods LITE allows you to customize your favorite vehicle to upgrade it into a street racing car.  Not only is this app entertaining, but it’s educational as well. You can use this app to learn more about the custom modifications, features of a race car, and how to install different parts. There is a free version of this app, but it is filled with ads. If you want an ad-free experience, you have to upgrade to the paid version.  CAR MECHANIC SIMULATOR 18 Whereas Fix My Car: Custom Mods LITE is designed for race car enthusiasts, Car Mechanic Simulator 18 is designed for classic car lovers. The app allows you to choose from a wide range of classic cars. Once you make a selection, you can start making customizations and upgrades to breathe new life into your classic vehicle. You can use the app to repair old car parts, remove rust, add special features, and repaint the exterior of the car. Flex your creative muscle to build a one-of-a-kind classic car. The app is built with incredible graphics, which makes the entire experience feel more real.  CAR WRAPPER The term “car wrap” refers to a vinyl wrap that partially or completely covers the exterior of a vehicle. A car wrap can feature different colors, finishes, and patterns. Many consumers get car wraps so they can drastically change the exterior of their vehicle without repainting it. If you’re thinking about getting this done to your car, make sure you choose the right car wrap by using the Car Wrapper app to see how it will look. Choose the make and model of your vehicle. Then, design a car wrap by selecting different colors, finishes, and other options. Once you’re satisfied with the design, apply it to the vehicle to see what it will look like. PAINT MY RIDE If you just want to see what a different color of paint will look like on your car, Paint My Ride is the app for you. All you need to do is take a picture of your vehicle and upload it into the app. Then, choose a paint color and adjust the saturation and brightness to see what it will look like on your car. Car Customizer App [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/RelayCars.jpg] RELAYCARS There are many car customizer apps, but none that can compare to the RelayCars virtual reality and augmented reality apps. The RelayCars virtual reality app allows you to step inside a virtual showroom to explore the interior and exterior of over 1,000 different vehicles. You can adjust your selections to visualize different customization options for every vehicle in RelayCars’ extensive library. Because it is powered by virtual reality technology, it will feel like you’re actually inside an auto dealer’s showroom. Just like the RelayCars virtual reality app, the RelayCars augmented reality app allows you to view customized vehicles inside a digital showroom. But you can also use the RelayCars augmented reality app to see what various customized cars will look like in your real world environment. Project digital models of your custom creations into your driveway, garage, or even onto the street around you. Visit the Apple App Store or Google Play Store to download these apps today.

How Virtual Reality Will Impact Auto Sales

How Virtual Reality Will Impact Auto Sales

June 29, 2021

The automotive industry is known for its willingness to embrace new technologies. Over the last several decades, the industry has used GPS, bluetooth, electromagnetic sensors, on-board diagnostic systems, cruise control, and other technologies to create more advanced vehicles. Many major players in the automotive industry are now turning to another technology in an effort to boost their profits: virtual reality.  Virtual reality is not a new technology. In fact, it’s been used in gaming, shopping, and other industries for years. However, it is fairly new to the automotive industry, and many experts believe that it will help automotive companies boost their sales.  How are automotive companies using this technology? How will it impact automotive sales? Here’s what you should know: WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY TECHNOLOGY? Virtual reality is a type of technology that is used to generate a simulated environment with scenes and objects that feel real. The user is completely immersed in this simulated environment and is even able to interact with their virtual surroundings. Because virtual reality is fully immersive, everything the user sees, hears, and experiences is part of the simulated environment.  Users typically need a virtual reality headset in order to experience this technology. Some of the most popular virtual reality headsets include the Oculus and HTC Vive. However, sometimes it is possible to experience virtual reality using just a smartphone or computer.  Virtual reality is often confused with augmented reality, but these are two very distinct technologies. The main difference is while virtual reality completely immerses the user in their simulated environment, augmented reality combines elements of the digital world with the user’s real world.  How Virtual Reality Will Impact Auto Sales [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/How-the-Automotive-Industry-is-Using-Virtual-Reality.jpg] HOW THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY IS USING VIRTUAL REALITY  Automotive companies have found a number of different ways to use virtual reality technology. Some of its many applications in the automotive industry include: * Market Research * Automotive Design * Employee Training * Virtual Showrooms * Virtual Test Drives MARKET RESEARCH Before designing new models, automotive manufacturers often conduct market research by hosting car clinics. During these clinics, automotive consumers are asked to provide feedback on the latest models. This gives automotive manufacturers an opportunity to find out what consumers like and don’t like about the newest designs.  Hosting a car clinic is not cheap. Manufacturers must book a venue, pay for the consumers to travel to the selected location, and transport vehicles to the area as well. But now, manufacturers are drastically cutting costs by hosting virtual car clinics.  At these virtual car clinics, consumers can evaluate countless different makes and models of vehicles using a virtual reality headset. They can explore the interior and exterior just like they would if they were seeing the vehicle in person, but at a fraction of the cost.  In fact, using this technology allows manufacturers to solicit feedback on a wider range of vehicles since they are no longer limited by space or budget constraints.  Using virtual reality technology in this manner has significantly enhanced the market research process for automotive manufacturers.  How Virtual Reality Will Impact Auto Sales [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Automotive-Design.jpg] AUTOMOTIVE DESIGN Designing a new vehicle is not easy. Every design may go through dozens of rounds of edits and tests before it is finalized. Every time the design changes, the design team must take the time to create a new clay prototype that reflects the latest revisions. This is why designing a new vehicle is so time-consuming and expensive. But now, automotive manufacturers are streamlining the design process with virtual reality technology. The design may still go through dozens of rounds of edits, but the team doesn’t need to take the time to create new clay prototypes for each round of revisions. Instead, the design team can quickly create a new virtual model. This is far less expensive and much faster than building a new prototype, which allows manufacturers to speed up and save money on the design process.  Using virtual models also allows teams to collaborate on a design from thousands of miles away. This brings global design teams together in a way that was not possible before.  EMPLOYEE TRAINING Automotive manufacturers are also using virtual reality technology to improve employee training programs.  In the past, maintenance and manufacturing workers were trained under the supervision of more experienced employees. Because of the complex nature of the work, new employees often made costly errors even though they were supervised. But now, these employees can receive hands-on training in a simulated environment thanks to virtual reality technology. This gives them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes in a safe environment before they start working on vehicles in the real world. Maintenance and manufacturing workers aren’t the only ones who are being trained in virtual environments. Some automotive companies are also using virtual reality technology to provide training to sales employees.  In this virtual environment, sales employees are taught about each model’s different features and selling points. They are also trained on how to interact with customers, guide them through the sales process, and close the deal. This virtual training thoroughly prepares sales employees for the showroom sales floor.  VIRTUAL SHOWROOMS Before the introduction of virtual reality technology, automotive consumers had to visit multiple dealerships in-person to research different vehicles and narrow down their options. However, it’s no longer necessary for consumers to travel to different dealerships to explore vehicles they are considering purchasing. Now, they can use virtual reality technology to visit a virtual automotive showroom without ever leaving home.  Inside this virtual showroom, consumers can explore the interior and exterior of countless vehicles just like they would if they were in a dealership’s showroom. They can see what a vehicle looks like in different colors, from different angles, and even see what it’s like to sit in the driver’s seat.  This makes it far more convenient for consumers to research and compare vehicles when deciding which one is right for them. It also makes it easier for automotive dealerships to cater to consumers. Because of this technology, consumers can explore a wider range of vehicles, so dealers don’t need to pay the costs of keeping as many on-site. Virtual Test Drives [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Virtual-Test-Drives.jpg] VIRTUAL TEST DRIVES Automotive consumers can use virtual reality technology to do more than just explore the interior and exterior of the vehicle. This technology also gives automotive consumers the power to take a virtual test drive without ever stepping foot inside the actual vehicle. Because virtual reality technology creates a fully immersive experience, a virtual test drive feels just like a real test drive. Automotive consumers will still get the chance to see what it’s like to sit behind the wheel of a vehicle, but they won’t have to travel to the dealership to get this experience. They can also test drive as many vehicles as they want without spending hours in a dealership’s showroom.  Plus, consumers won’t need to invest in a virtual reality headset to take a virtual reality test drive. All they need is a smartphone or computer to hit the virtual road in a car of their choice.  Many automotive manufacturers are already using virtual reality technology in this manner to make the car buying journey more convenient for consumers.  WHAT CHALLENGES WILL VIRTUAL REALITY PRESENT TO THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY? There are always challenges associated with using new technologies, and virtual reality is no exception. Automotive companies must be willing to invest in virtual reality technology in order to experience its benefits. Even if the upfront costs are steep, using this technology could translate to higher sales, so companies could recoup the money they invested in the long run.  It could also be a challenge to get certain segments of consumers to adopt this technology. For example, researchers asked consumers of all ages to rate the usefulness of different information channels at automotive dealerships. Thirty-six percent of younger consumers were able to obtain useful information from an augmented or virtual reality headset provided by a dealer.  However, only 6% of Baby Boomers found this information channel useful. This could indicate that older consumers are less likely to adopt new technologies like virtual reality, which could present a challenge to automotive companies targeting this demographic.  How Virtual Reality Will Impact Auto Sales [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/How-Will-Virtual-Reality-Impact-Automotive-Sales.jpg] HOW WILL VIRTUAL REALITY IMPACT AUTOMOTIVE SALES? There’s no question that the automotive industry has warmly embraced virtual reality technology. Although utilizing a new technology is always risky, many experts believe that the decision to use virtual reality technology in so many different ways will pay off for the automotive industry.  Using virtual reality technology to streamline employee training, the design process, and market research will save automotive companies a significant amount of money. By reducing these operating costs, automotive companies can boost profits or allocate the money toward other areas of importance.   Other uses of virtual reality technology, including virtual showrooms and test drives, may have a direct impact on automotive sales. The idea of purchasing a vehicle online is becoming increasingly popular among automotive consumers. In fact, 60% of automotive consumers in the U.S. are at least interested in the concept. These consumers are interested in moving different parts of the sales process online in order to minimize the amount of time they spend at the dealership. By offering virtual showrooms and virtual test drives, automotive companies are giving consumers exactly what they want. Offering these virtual experiences may help automotive companies set themselves apart from their competitors, win new customers, and increase automotive sales.

Categories: Virtual Reality
Augmented Reality for Car Shopping

Augmented Reality for Car Shopping

June 28, 2021

Augmented reality and virtual reality are elevating the online experience and amplifying the mundane habits that were once not so exciting or even maybe a hit-or-miss experience. Like trying to find the perfect paint hue for a wall, the ideal lipstick for a complexion…or even the perfect car. Now all of these shopping experiences are augmented with excitement…thanks to augmented reality. Yes, consumers can shop for a new vehicle by previewing it anywhere. Drop a 3D augmented reality into the garden. Plop it on the table. Augmented reality for car shopping is easy to use and so much fun! Here’s how consumers can use augmented reality for car shopping, immerse in technology…and enjoy the augmented journey! ALL ABOUT AUGMENTED REALITY Some consumers might be unfamiliar with augmented reality. This technology is considered part of extended reality (or XR) along with virtual reality. However, while virtual reality is viewed in a virtual realm with or without a headset, augmented reality projects graphic elements over a real-life environment. Augmented reality is present in everyday life, and it’s included in newer cars via features like the backup camera. The camera projects the scene behind the car while graphic gridlines detail the turning radius of the vehicle. The grid is augmented reality. GPS devices may also use augmented reality. According to Statista, the mobile global augmented reality market hit nearly $9 billion in 2021.The site also reported that 410,000 augmented reality glasses were sold in 2021. However, glasses aren’t a necessary tool for augmented reality. Unlike many virtual reality games and platforms where headsets may be a requirement for stepping into the virtual space, augmented reality sometimes only requires a camera. How does it work? Many apps and augmented reality tools use the camera from a device like a smartphone or tablet to show the real environment and project a graphic element into that space. So while an expensive headset isn’t a necessity, some type of device is needed to enjoy augmented reality experiences. However, smartphones have now become the standard phone for many users; in fact, Pew Research reported back in 2018 that 95 percent of teens have access to one. This means that for many consumers augmented reality is quite accessible. And owning a phone can open up a unique and extremely entertaining way to shop online and preview many different products from the comfort of home. Augmented Reality for Car Shopping [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Navigating-Augmented-Reality.jpg] NAVIGATING AUGMENTED REALITY For consumers new to using augmented reality, the technology is fairly simple to navigate and explore. When using the technology to simplify shopping online, augmented reality experiences are usually downloaded either via the business’ web site or app. Not every store or business offers augmented reality experiences but many do. One of the easiest ways to find out if a business uses augmented reality for shopping is to search in either the App Store or Google Play. Just type in ‘augmented reality,’ and scroll through the options. Need a cheat sheet on augmented reality shopping experiences? Here’s a list of some stores/businesses that offer augmented reality apps or online experiences as well as a few details about those offerings: IKEA Use augmented reality to preview furniture or other products in a room. The app is called IKEA place and is available on both the App Store and Google Play! WARBY PARKER Try on those frames in augmented reality using Warby Parker’s app. This is available on Apple’s App Store (for iPhone X and newer models). SEPHORA Sephora’s Virtual Artist experience recognizes your face and lets users try on different products…virtually. Or maybe, more accurately, augmentedly! Unfortunately, this app feature might not be available across the globe. ULTA Ulta’s GlamLAB also lets users preview shade. And, yes, this feature works…at least in the U.S. Have fun trying out tons of products…including cheek tints, lipsticks, eyeshadow, eyeliner and even foundation. This is a great way to shop for cosmetics at home without the fear of buying the wrong shade. Thinking about that goth black lipstick? Shoppers can get an idea if that dark hue will flatter. SHERWIN-WILLIAMS ColorSnap Visualizer lets shoppers preview paint hues right on their own walls. Try out a rainbow of hues to find the one that looks best in any room. This experience can get addicting, though. Shoppers might try out all different hues, because, really, who doesn’t want to see what their walls will look like when painted neon green? RELAYCARS Yes, augmented reality can help shoppers preview different car models, too! Download RelayCars’ augmented reality app via the App Store or Google Play and drop different cars into any place! Augmented Reality for Car Shopping [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Use-Augmented-Reality-When-Shopping-for-a-Car.jpg] HOW TO USE AUGMENTED REALITY WHEN SHOPPING FOR A CAR Using augmented reality to try on makeup products or even paint hues on walls seems pretty self-explanatory. Using augmented reality, though, when trying to find that perfect vehicle might sound foreign to some shoppers. So how do you use augmented reality apps like RelayCars during the car shopping experience? Augmented reality can be incredibly helpful for shoppers who want to look at different cars without going to a dealership. The benefit that augmented reality has over virtual reality is that it allows users to place items onto or into a real environment. When shopping for cosmetics, this means that the shopper can apply a lipstick hue onto their image even at home. Car shopping with augmented reality allows the shopper to explore the car at home…or anywhere. With RelayCars and other augmented reality experiences, users place or drop the vehicle into a location. This can be the living room, garage, basement or maybe even the backyard. The camera shows the real environment but drops in the 3D image of the chosen vehicle. However, this vehicle can appear nearly full-size (depending on the app or the technology). Augmented reality images allow the user to hold their phone or device to view the image in their space and then walk around this seemingly holographic image, exploring the interior and exterior of the vehicle. RelayCars even lets users swap out paint hues. The ability to explore the vehicle—even digitally—might be able to help shoppers gain a better perspective of the vehicle and whether or not it’s a good choice for their lifestyle. While augmented reality doesn’t allow shoppers to physically touch or interact with the vehicle, the technology does let users get a close up view of their favorite models. From there, shoppers can visit dealerships to see if their favorite vehicle is in stock and check out the price of the vehicle as well as other info. Augmented reality also has an interesting edge over virtual reality apps for car shopping. With the augmented reality app, users can place the car in their garage or in their driveway. This can help the buyer really visualize the car as their own. Maybe the deciding factor over two vehicles comes down to how they look parked in the driveway! With virtual reality, though, previewing the car usually takes place in a virtual showroom. WILL AUGMENTED REALITY BE A MUST-HAVE TOOL FOR CAR SHOPPERS? Not all shoppers might be proficient in using augmented reality or virtual reality, but both types of technology are seemingly easy to navigate for shoppers willing to explore extended reality. Automotive News highlighted how some automotive companies are using Snapchat to deliver augmented reality experiences. Shane Dwyer, the head of automotive for Snap Inc., was interviewed for the story and envisioned the possibilities for this technology for car shopping.Interesting to note that Snapchat Spectacles allow Snapchat ‘creators’ to create unique augmented reality content. Augmented reality experiences could become more prominent if/when more buyers head online for their purchases. Maybe these experiences are deployed via social media sites like Snapchat or on the stores’ or business’ website or apps. When car shopping during Covid, consumers might have been forced online as dealerships might have been closed in their area. The hunt for a new car might have required shoppers to click through photo galleries to gather info about their favorite models. Or shoppers could have utilized sites like RelayCars to preview vehicles in augmented reality or virtual reality. Covid also might have helped more buyers understand the comfortable convenience of online tools. Why waste gas visiting dealerships when you can go online and research cars in virtual and augmented reality? Plus, virtual or augmented reality showrooms don’t require a sales force. For buyers, this means that they can shop at their leisure. Without pressure. Will augmented reality for car shopping be the future? Possibly. Of course, the preference could simply depend on the individual buyer. And popularity of extended reality experiences also might impact the tools offered by companies and dealerships. If buyers embrace the augmented and virtual experiences, then companies and dealerships might wish to increase these offerings. Whether or not more dealerships or auto makers jump on augmented reality, sites like RelayCars will continue to offer these unique tools and experiences to shoppers. And, as COO, Evox Images Gina Callari points out in an article for WardsAuto, “As consumers continue to expect this elevated, online shopping experience, standard images or basic videos are no longer going to cut it.”

Categories: Augmented Reality
Blockchain-Based VR and How It’s Taking Virtual Reality to its Next Level

Blockchain-Based VR and How It’s Taking Virtual Reality to its Next Level

June 25, 2021

If you’ve paid any amount of attention to the investment world, you’ve likely heard of cryptocurrency, which incorporates blockchain, which is a record-keeping technology made famous by the Bitcoin network. Blockchain might come off as a complicated concept, so much so that some people avoid the subject due to its perceived complexity. Although there are definitely complex aspects to blockchain, the core concept behind blockchain is actually pretty simple. WHAT IS BLOCKCHAIN? Think of blockchain as a kind of database, which is a collection of information stored electronically — on a computer or computer system. Blockchain is different from a traditional database in the way that the data is structured. Blockchain collects information in groups (also called blocks). Different blocks will have certain storage capacities. Once a block is filled it is added (or chained onto) the previous group of filled blocks, which ends up forming a chain of data. This chain of data (you guessed it) is known as “blockchain.” The normal databases we deal with structure data into tables while blockchain arranges its data into chunks/blocks that end up being chained together. As a result, all blockchains are databases, but not all databases are blockchains. Another result of this way of record keeping is that it creates a definite and unchangeable timeline of data when blockchain is implemented in a decentralized system. As each block gets filled it becomes set in stone, becoming a part of this living timeline. Not only that, but each individual block in a blockchain is given a digital timestamp the moment it is added to the chain. Blockchain-Based VR and How It’s Taking Virtual Reality to its Next Level [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/decentralized-systems.jpg] “DECENTRALIZED” SYSTEMS Since blockchain can be implemented into decentralized systems, this has users quite interested in its capabilities.  Let’s talk about Bitcoin a little more for a second before we get into virtual reality and more blockchain. Just like a company would need a computer system to store its data, Bitcoin needs a collection of computers in order to store its blockchain.  With a company, it’s likely that all of their computers are going to be located under one roof, while with Bitcoin (via blockchain), each computer (or multiple computers) holds its blockchain while being located in an entirely different geographic location, operated by separate individuals or even groups. Fun fact: computers that make Bitcoin’s network are referred to as nodes. Using this sort of model, Bitcoin blockchain ends up being utilized in a decentralized way while private, centralized blockchains are located on computer systems owned and operated by a single entity. Blockchain is not limited to cryptocurrency. Virtual reality companies are using blockchain to create full-fledged virtual worlds which can become populated by its users and its users’ creations, operating off of rules created by the users themselves. These virtual worlds can be experienced without intervention from platform developers, which many users find desirable. Blockchain is helping virtual reality developers create worlds that truly live on their own, allowing users to experience these worlds without risk. HOW DOES BLOCKCHAIN RELATE TO VIRTUAL REALITY There seems to be no limit to the ways we can benefit from blockchain applications. Recently, a project has been underway that links blockchain with virtual reality. Just like technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality can be incorporated into industries other than gaming (think medical, dental, advertising) just like blockchain can be used in areas other than cryptocurrency. This particular blockchain project claims to be taking virtual reality to an exciting next level via “3D internet” — a three-dimensional virtual world built, owned, and operated by the people who use it.  Victoria VR is set to offer its Massive Multiplayer Online Open World that features photorealistic graphics set in glorious VR. Victoria VR aims to be a universal platform which encompasses games and utilizes a decentralized application.  What results is a metaverse shared in a virtual realm where people can be free to do absolutely anything they like, everything from playing zombie shooters to selling or trading jewelry creations.  Just like in video games, certain objectives and quests can be completed that will help a user gain access to various rare rewards — sort of like Legend of Zelda.  Victoria VR gives its users the freedom to craft their very own avatars — as realistic as one likes. Obviously, with cutting-edge technology such as this, the user is able to create incredibly detailed customization. Billions of customizations are at Victoria VR user fingertips. Avatars can also express emotions, conveying emotions and reactions as well. Blockchain-Based VR and How It’s Taking Virtual Reality to its Next Level [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Not-Your-Average-Non-Fungible-Tokens.jpg] NOT YOUR AVERAGE NON-FUNGIBLE TOKENS Victoria VR also supports NFTs (non-fungible tokens), and not just in a way that serves as some sort of decoration. NFTs on Victoria VR and its platform can be used in a much more compelling way, delivering a variety of different, even giving certain players superpowers as well as additional values and resources. NFTs can also be modified, even combined or created from scratch. Victoria VR also provides a 3D marketplace for its users and its NFTs, enabling beautiful digital assets that can be viewed, interacted with, and traded. Victoria VR also converts 2D NFTs into 3D objects, which helps them take on a lifelike dimension. Artists can also publish works of art, which can be enjoyed by everyone (even those who do not have virtual reality hardware) via a special plugin. Blockchain-Based VR and How It’s Taking Virtual Reality to its Next Level [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Going-Where-No-One-Has-Gone-Before.jpg] GOING WHERE NO ONE HAS GONE BEFORE… VIRTUALLY! Game players and VR enthusiasts have been waiting for the day when life can be lived online and via a cooperative platform, which Victoria VR seems to be the latest answer to this consumer desire. Victoria VR users can do really cool things, like purchase VR land where users can stake their claim and create anything they like, monetizing it. Users do not have to experience limitations governed by the laws of physics and even space. Things like shops, boutiques, casinos, schools, and showrooms can be created in this new virtual horizon. VR tokens will be the way this multifaceted ecosystem runs — this will be the cryptocurrency of choice as far as settling user transactions goes. 3D INTERNET Victoria VR has stated that their pioneering portal system puts forth an ecosystem which can be connected to by all VR projects, games, and even worlds. This will end up creating a 3D internet that simply has not existed before. The platform itself is also decentralized  and autonomous, completely controlled by its own engaged and passionate community. But who can create this amazing VR content? Well, again, anyone! Victoria VR users will be able to create content without having a lick of prior programming experience or applicable skills.  Victoria VR personnel adds that “The gaming industry is booming, businesses, communication, education and processes are transferred online, and the next logical step is virtual reality and the 3D internet. The interest in VR is also going up because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, social isolation, and lockdown measures. There is no doubt that virtual reality will change everything in every field, and in every industry.” But where is this whole blockchain/VR relationship headed? Blockchain-Based VR and How It’s Taking Virtual Reality to its Next Level [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Blockchain-VR-Moving-Forward.jpg] BLOCKCHAIN VR MOVING FORWARD This whole blockchain and VR thing has some serious synergy. Not only are VR companies creating virtual communities and landscapes, but blockchain VR is also being used and incorporated into entertainment events, like concerts, where a person with a VR headset can gain access to private and secure content, paying for such content and services with virtual tokens. Token holders can often vote for acts they’d like to see with smart contract technology. Fund-curated content can also come from such a community without celebrities or famous musicians being involved at all. Blockchain helps create a unique model that encourages users to get and interact. Virtual venues utilizing blockchain will act like actual concerts with areas for users to hang out and even chat with others while they watch the show together. Virtual reality and blockchain seem to have few boundaries and those boundaries are continuously being tested and expanded. Innovators have stopped waiting for the next best thing and many are making moves to create it themselves. Each industry and contributor ends up taking a different approach to incorporating blockchain and VR technology, but this means that the possibilities for future development are endless. VR  and blockchain will continue to evolve as the technologies are made available to and embraced by the mainstream. New highly immersive virtual experiences and opportunities will continue to take shape as time goes on and innovation occurs.

Categories: Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality Car Simulator: How It Works

Virtual Reality Car Simulator: How It Works

June 23, 2021

Car sales exploded in April, but that run on the dealerships also put a crunch on inventory for May. According to Cox Automotive, the remaining supply after the April sales boom was 2.24 million vehicles—approximately 440,000 fewer vehicles than the available inventory at the end of March. Unfortunately, that lower inventory also may be further exacerbated by the microchip shortage. Looking for a new car might need to begin online for consumers looking for favorite models or backup models to add to their wish list. Consumers can test drive RelayCars’ virtual car simulator to preview vehicles online and find the models that fit their personal taste, budget and lifestyle needs. CAR SHOPPING WITH A VIRTUAL REALITY CAR SIMULATOR According to data from Cox Automotive’s 11th annual Car Buyer Journey Study,  third-party sites like Kelley Blue Book (a Cox Automotive site) were popular with shoppers with “…up to 79% of buyers noting they used a third-party site in 2020.” These sites might be popular research destinations for shoppers wanting to find out how much their car is worth or to browse data about other makes or models. Other third-party sites like RelayCars can be used during the research phase of the hunt to further explore vehicles beyond typical two-dimensional photos. Car shopping with a virtual reality car simulator offers shoppers a virtual showroom that displays the car in 3D and allows consumers to interact with the vehicle, too. Virtual Reality Car Simulator [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Exploring-the-VR-Car.jpg] EXPLORING THE VR CAR Exploring the car in virtual reality is fun…and easy! Using just the fingertips, consumers can enlarge the vehicle or even look inside. The VR car also can be viewed from different angles and vantage points so that users can get more insight about the car, its shape and its overall size. The VR cars and vehicles are all scaled model representations of the real vehicle. In the virtual reality car showroom, users also can swap out the paint hues of the vehicle. This can help shoppers decide what paint colors they prefer. THE PRE-OWNED VIRTUAL CAR RelayCars doesn’t just include new makes and models. The virtual car inventory also includes older models, which can help shoppers who might be on the hunt for pre-owned vehicles. An earlier model of the same vehicle could be an option for consumers who really want a specific car.   The virtual cars on RelayCars aren’t depictions of any single pre-owned model; they are simply a 3D replica of that specific model year. These virtual cars can provide insight about the interior and other features of earlier models. EXPLORING VIRTUAL CARS Looking for an SUV? Click through the offerings from different brands. Compare Volkswagen to Nissan or Infiniti. Look inside the different models and get an idea about the leg room and interior set-up. For some buyers, the color of the car might be a big deal. Right now, though, when some car models might face an inventory crunch, getting particular about color might not be an option. Use RelayCars to check out all the offered hues for a particular model. When heading to the dealership, shoppers will know in advance if they like the look of a certain color. Virtual Reality Car Simulator [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Augmented-Reality-Cars.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY CARS VS. VIRTUAL CARS The RelayCars app is offered in augmented reality and virtual reality. What’s the difference? The virtual reality showroom app displays cars in a virtual environment.   With RelayCars, users choose a vehicle from the inventory list. However, instead of the car being displayed in a virtual showroom on the phone, the user actually drops the car into their environment. How does this work exactly? The app accesses the device’s camera to show a 3D image of the chosen vehicle in whatever space the user chooses to place it. The vehicle can be dropped in the driveway, a garage, the backyard or even the living room. Users can then walk around the vehicle while viewing the augmented reality image with their phone. Yes, users can even look inside the car and change the paint color, too! WHY USE A VIRTUAL REALITY CAR SHOWROOM? In the past—before Covid—car shoppers might have researched options online and then visited dealerships for a test drive or to explore the car in person. Dealerships might have closed to foot traffic, which meant shoppers had to find other ways to preview vehicles. The virtual showrooms might have been a great option to simulate the in-person experience. An augmented reality showroom may save time and cut down the need for a lengthier visit to dealerships. With RelayCars, car shoppers can preview many popular makes and models and see these cars up close…albeit virtually. This can help buyers sort through cars they don’t like and find the models that best meet their needs. And their budgets. Visiting the dealership then can become more of a streamlined process. Shoppers enter the dealership with a list of top vehicle models—or maybe just one. Then they can explore the vehicle in person, take a test drive and pursue the deal. Or they may simply decide to move forward with a different model. EXPLORE VIRTUAL CARS Covid might have relaxed the shopping experience for consumers. It’s true that online shopping has been quite popular for some time, but car buying really wasn’t so virtual before the pandemic. Consumers researched online, but many visited the dealership for test drives and to iron out the paperwork. Staying at home, working virtually and shopping virtually might have led to more consumers feeling comfortable using online resources to go virtual with bigger purchases, too. Online resources like RelayCars might help decrease the time at the dealership, while dealer resources like virtual test drives delivered to the door could give the buyer a bit more control. Consumers can now find the ideal vehicle then research prices, promotions and other incentives at dealerships. If one SUV is out of the budget, explore other options virtually…then look up those prices. Exploring the virtual inventory is fun, but it’s also empowering. Preview those cars, then dig deeper. Find prices, promotions, and maybe even read reviews. Use RelayCars to begin the car-shopping journey and to take the driver’s seat of the buying process.

Categories: Virtual Reality
The Virtual Reality Workout

The Virtual Reality Workout

June 21, 2021

The pandemic changed daily habits, and, for some, it also decreased workouts or made them a bit less exciting. Gyms were closed, and, let’s be honest, most people during the height of the pandemic might not have been venturing outside to mingle. While walks and runs were still an option, not everyone had the space to social distance on the pavement. The world may be getting closer to the old normal, but workout options have broadened. During quarantine, some might have discovered virtual workouts. For those who own a virtual reality headset, virtual workouts could have brought joy back into fitness. Not familiar with virtual reality workouts? Here’s everything you need to know to go virtual with fitness. DO YOU NEED A HEADSET? To enter the virtual realm, users do need a headset. Virtual reality fitness apps might require this, especially if users are downloading apps from Steam. During the pandemic, the term ‘virtual’ was conflated to mean anything that wasn’t in-person. School was virtual. Work was virtual. Conferences? Yes…virtual. Platforms like Zoom aren’t virtual reality. They are simply video applications. The meeting or school session is ‘virtual’ because it isn’t in-person. Virtual reality is a different kind of virtual. Accessing virtual reality platforms typically—although not always—requires a headset. Using the headset, individuals enter virtual realms. This can be a fantasy realm or a replica of a gym, studio or some other destination. Virtual reality can really take users anywhere. Users can have a virtual workout or fitness routine with or without a headset. Both options will be highlighted, as not all consumers have access to a headset. FITNESS IN VIRTUAL REALITY: YOU NEED THE HEADSET Steam offers many fitness apps that users can access via a headset. Want to feel the burn in virtual reality? Try out these apps for a fun, virtual and heart-pumping workout: BOOT CAMP FITNESS Described as “a home cardio and bodyweight workout app/game,” Boot Camp Fitness offers a built-in playlist of more than 150 songs to keep users moving. The game offers 13 ranks and 18 different locations users can unlock. Select the length of the workout and fitness level (beginner, normal or advanced). The app offers workout tips, too! VR IMMERSIVE FITNESS GYM The app includes football, cycling, running and other games. A yoga option is ‘coming soon.’ REALFIT (VR FITNESS) Stick with standard fitness options or opt for a game to make the competition a bit more fun. Earn points for exercises, too! Do squats, jumping jacks and more! This game keeps fitness fun and provides a unique immersive environment to pull users from their home-bound rut. VR FITNESS This is a game that combines fitness with action. User’s participation will burn calories. Go after the enemies and then discover how many calories were burned during the mission. VIRTUAL YOGA RETREAT Namaste! Practice yoga virtually. Features tranquil scenery to add to the ambiance. Users can choose their appropriate level, and, yes, beginners can use the app, too (just choose ‘beginner!’). All the above apps require a headset to enter the virtual lesson. Some may require other equipment, too, like a stationary bike. Users can explore the different apps and choose the one they like best…or the app that fits their needs. Virtual Reality Workout [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Virtual-Fitness-Without-the-Headset.jpg] VIRTUAL FITNESS WITHOUT THE HEADSET Virtual workouts don’t always require a headset. Working out from home with the aid of a video or conferencing app also could be considered ‘virtual.’ The internet offers many virtual workout options, and many can be found on YouTube. Check out these workout videos to get moving at home: BEGINNERS YOGA SERIES: 10 MOST IMPORTANT YOGA POSES FOR BEGINNERS New to yoga? Beginners can start a routine by learning the easiest positions. This video shows 10 yoga poses for beginners and may be a nice introduction to the practice. The video is less than five minutes long, so this is very much just an introduction to a few poses. Yoga for Complete Beginners-20 Minute Home Yoga Workout! Looking for an actual yoga workout as a beginner? Try this video from Yoga with Adriene. Not only does the video provide a good introduction to the practice, but it also provides a full yoga workout. HULA HOOP HOP (A WORKOUT FOR EVERYONE) All you need for this brief workout is a hula hoop. And, yes, that hoop will get your body moving and your blood pumping. The video progresses in difficulty, so prepare for some challenges. DANCE OFF THE CALORIES PopSugar posted a 30-minute Cardio Latin Dance Workout. Have fun, move the body and get dancing for fitness! 10 MIN BEGINNER JUMP ROPE WORKOUT Jumping rope is actually great cardio. This video is for those new to jumping, and it’s not long. Although 10 minutes of jumping rope can get the heart pumping. Grab a jump rope and embrace this fitness routine. AUGMENTED REALITY WORKOUTS Virtual reality workouts may require the need for a headset while virtual at-home workouts are typically just a workout done at home via a video or other platform (no headset required). However, there are also augmented reality apps for fitness. The difference between augmented reality and virtual reality is that augmented reality features the real environment with graphic overlays while virtual reality is viewed in a separate virtual environment. Both of these technologies are part of extended reality (XR). Some apps let users race against augmented reality zombies or an augmented reality competitor. Want to get fit in augmented reality? Try these options: ZOMBIES, RUN! The app is a game combined with a fitness program. Users are running, jogging or walking away from zombies, which are shown via a device in augmented reality. There could be zombies behind the runner. So look out! During the game, users have to complete tasks (like getting supplies) while outrunning the zombies. THE GHOST PACER This isn’t an app but a headset that lets runners train against an augmented reality competitor. They also can race against friends. The headset also features Strava. AR RUNNER For less than $1, users can download the app and race against friends. The app takes users through various checkpoints. Try to beat the previous time! Virtual Reality Workout [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Why-Use-Technology-for-Workouts.jpg] WHY USE TECHNOLOGY FOR WORKOUTS? Covid restrictions are easing around the country and the globe. More people may be heading back to the gym and back outside for sports and other fitness routines. Yet, technology may still be a perfect fit for fitness enthusiasts. Not everyday is ideal for outdoor activities, and virtual and augmented reality fitness options provide indoor fitness routines that won’t get rained out. Those who are still working from home or whose employers have permanently pivoted to virtual offices might use these virtual platforms for a fitness break during the day. Virtual reality also breaks up the monotony of workouts. Fitness enthusiasts may enjoy a virtual day of workouts, as apps and games can offer something unique to the fitness journey. And those who are new to running might enjoy an augmented reality platform that transforms their surroundings into a game…or a zombie apocalypse! DOWNLOAD THE DATA BEFORE THE WORKOUT Before starting a workout, users should check with their doctor first. And before downloading that app, research what it offers. Not every workout is ideal for every individual, and some apps may provide advisories or warnings related to who should use the app. And while some apps are free, others are not. Ghost Pacer, for example, isn’t an app but a headset. So, in some cases, there is an investment cost. Going virtual via videos, though, might be a budget-friendly way to find a fun but free workout. Beyond yoga, hula hooping, dance and jumping rope, there are so many workout options on YouTube. Find belly dancing tutorials, running in place videos, weight training videos, ab workout videos and more. Yes, there are even surfing lessons on YouTube! BEGINNERS AND THE VIRTUAL WORKOUT While apps via Steam require a headset, virtual video workouts require nothing but an internet connection. Thanks to the internet anyone can workout virtually. Some studios or gyms may even offer virtual classes or fitness training. Videos and virtual tutorials are a great way to learn a new exercise without any awkwardness. Even one-on-one virtual classes can help a beginner grow confident with a new routine. While the gym or studio can be intimidating to those new to a practice, a home-based introduction can ease the beginner into the routine and help them become comfortable. IS VIRTUAL FITNESS THE FUTURE? While working out via video, augmented reality or via virtual reality is unique and convenient, is it the future of fitness? As Covid restrictions have eased, many people may be craving their old routine. This might mean heading back to the gym or pounding the pavement with friends. Virtual and augmented reality fitness apps and programs, though, may have a place for those who are new to a practice and want to grow confident without a crowd. And virtual videos and apps also may be a great option when the weather isn’t quite so great or when an individual just doesn’t have time for the gym. While many may crave the social interactions of the gym or just the experience of an outdoor environment, virtual and augmented reality can provide a unique element to add to the fun of a workout routine. After all, who doesn’t want to be chased by zombies!?

Categories: Virtual Reality