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Apple Dives Deeper into Virtual Reality with Purchase of Broadcaster NextVR

Apple Dives Deeper into Virtual Reality with Purchase of Broadcaster NextVR

August 12, 2020

The news of Apple purchasing NextVR is a major change in the VR market. While they are not revealing their exact plans for the platform, it is a strong indication that something big is coming. As of last year, NextVR was heading towards 100 employees and secured some major brand-named partnerships in the sports world. As a startup in 2009, it had gained significant traction and support in the VR industry. The niche focus of this company was not simply on headsets or gaming experiences. They wanted to deliver better at-home virtual reality entertainment experiences, especially to sports fans. Sports weren’t all that they covered though, as everything from concerts to paranormal investigations was provided in full VR. Using special cameras at the events, NextVR was able to provide people at home with a realistic experience of major events that were being hosted hundreds of miles away. However, since the acquisition by Apple, their website currently displays a message that “NextVR is Heading in a New Direction” – which hints at some major changes being in the pipeline, although nothing has yet been announced as to what these changes could be. WHY SHOULD APPLE BE INTERESTED IN VR/AR? Apple has already been working on their headset for a while. Although there is no official launch date at this time, many expect the launch to happen in the next 18 months. There are rumors that this headset is going to provide both AR and VR in one device. The purchase of NextVR by Apple shows a strong commitment to this technology. THE FUTURE OF VR VR is not only about entertainment, such as concerts and games, but can be used in so many other ways. People can virtually experience almost anything through VR, making it a great tool for sales, useful for training, and even for helping to improve the lives of those with physical challenges. This technology can be used for virtual travel, distance education, online shopping, or even shopping for a new car virtually without the need for visiting a showroom. The full range of opportunities isn’t yet known, as new innovations are constantly being unveiled. VR IN ONLINE SHOPPING When it comes to online shopping, instead of viewing a 2D image on a website, your shopping experience could actually be in a virtual shop or showroom where you can interact with the items. You can view items from all angles, and even hear them in a totally virtual environment from within your own home. VR IN THE MEDICAL SECTOR In the medical sector, potential uses being explored are amazing. Not only can students study and practice virtually, but doctors can also consult and assist with treatments and patient diagnosis from anywhere in the world. VR IN ROBOTICS 5G is also coming into the picture, offering data transfer rates that were previously not possible, especially wirelessly. This then allows for VR and AR to become ‘live’ and wireless, with the content being streamed remotely and allowing for almost instant real-time interactions. As robotics progress, VR and 5G could become a human connection technology. As COVID-19 spreads, the need for at-home meetings, training, and more has been growing exponentially in demand. VR and AR can allow people to do incredible things from home without needing to risk physical contact or exposure. Whatever is coming is almost sure to be market challenging, especially when combining the entertainment systems of NextVR with the likely high-end VR/AR tech of Apple’s new headset. WHAT LIKELY MOTIVATED THE MOVE TO PURCHASE NEXTVR? While there are rumors about Apple soon launching a new device in this sector, this particular purchase was more likely connected with entertainment and some of the technologies that NextVR used in production. VR and AR content and uses are expanding. It is important for any company that breaks into this industry to have both effective technology and quality content. NextVR had the technology and partnerships to provide great content, but we will have to wait and see what Apple does with it. While NextVR is, of course, focused on VR content, there are already ideas in the pipeline for AR glasses that allow the experience of VR content in various ways. If the details provided by MacRumors are correct, then the way we currently experience AR and VR might be changing. MacRumors claims that, “Apple is working on two AR projects, including an augmented reality headset set to be released in 2022 followed by a sleeker pair of augmented reality glasses coming in 2023.” MacRumors has deduced from the patents filed and the help of an insider that Apple not only plans to provide glasses in this field but also new and inventive ways for which users will be able to interact with augmented worlds. Most VR or AR setups today require interaction through devices like gloves or other sensor fitted devices. However, Apple seems to be working towards a way in which people could virtually interact with surfaces and augmented environments through natural movement and touch – with no other devices needed. HOW MUCH WAS APPLE’S PURCHASE OF BROADCASTER NEXTVR? NextVR was a startup company with a strong focus on providing the next level in at-home sporting entertainment. Considering the initial investment raised $115.5 million (tracked by Crunchbase), the purchase should be a considerable amount. However, we will not know the exact figure until it is made public. The initial rounds of investments, VR streaming technology, and high-end partnerships with major sports entities like Wimbledon and the NBA make it likely this takeover involved a significant purchase price. The exact price is unknown. Although the purchase was confirmed to 9to5Mac by Apple, the full details were not disclosed. 9to5Mac estimated the purchase price was likely around $100 million. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/ApplebuysNextVR.jpg] WHERE IS APPLE VR/AR GOING NEXT? There are signs that a high-end spec VR and AR device will be released soon. It is likely to be a single device that can perform both functions, with wireless freedom for the user. It will be powered by Apple’s state of the art technology, which has long held a reputation for its graphics processing capabilities. This will be a challenge to Microsoft’s and Facebook’s current grip on the market. In order to crack the market, Apple needs to launch something that is beyond what is currently available and popular. Apple has already released ARKit to developers, sparking the development of AR apps for iPhones and iPads. Facebook acquired Oculus in March of 2014, which prompted rapid growth from developers to create content and take a leap into VR products. Many are currently predicting that computers and phones themselves could even be replaced with AR glasses that project what we need and allow us to interact with the image via motion tracking or compact sensor devices. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/ApplebuysNextVR-1.jpg] How many of the ‘things’ we use today could become augmented objects of the future? For an indication, just look at the number of objects and functions a mobile phone has replaced over the last 10-20 years. This market is going to explode, with some current projections showing ten-fold growth in the next 4-5 years. As of 2019, the current AR market was worth about $33 billion, and the VR market was worth $13.5 billion according to Consultancy.org. They then project this to expand to $338.1 billion and $138.3 respectively. LEFTRONIC also predicts rapid growth, showing that as soon as 2025, there is a significant chance that “the AR market will reach $198 billion” and that “68.7 million users are expected to use augmented reality at least once monthly”. No wonder Apple is making some major moves.

Categories: Virtual Reality
How Augmented Reality is Changing the Driving Experience in 2020

How Augmented Reality is Changing the Driving Experience in 2020

August 10, 2020

What if you could view your car’s entire spec profile without looking down at the dash? Augmented reality is sweeping across the tech sphere in 2020, specifically within the auto industry. The growth of this innovative technology has made it possible for manufacturers to ensure a safer and smoother ride, every time you get behind the wheel. A quick glance to the dash or side mirror can put any driver (and anyone else on the road) at risk. Augmented reality technology has the potential to improve safety, efficiency, and overall ease-of-use in vehicles from a variety of car brands. Take a look at some of the ways AR is transforming the auto industry in 2020. WHAT IS AUGMENTED REALITY? To really understand how AR is changing the automotive scene, it’s important to understand what falls under the Augmented Reality umbrella. AR is more than a way to immerse yourself into a video game or piece of media. Augmented Reality is a technological development that is completely changing the way we interact with the world around us. Essentially, AR superimposes digital information in the form of graphics, images or text over our standard first-person view. This is made possible through wearable tech, such as glasses or goggles, or via projection. While some wearable tech gives us more access to our digital lives, AR provides the user with full immersion that isn’t accessible from a phone or smartwatch. This way, you’re accessing your digital and organic information simultaneously in real time. However, unlike Virtual Reality, the purpose of Augmented Reality isn’t to replace the information that’s being processed by the user. Instead of creating a completely separate digital world, AR allows people to merge both worlds. AUGMENTED REALITY BENEFITS FOR DRIVERS Instead of glancing at their phone or around the car for important information, the driver can have a full view of everything they need without even turning their head. This has the potential to improve safety and innovation across an entire industry. For example, augmented reality can allow drivers to get better blind-spot visibility by actively showing a video feed of any obstructions in the rearview mirror In addition, AR and VR are helping buyers make more informed decisions about their auto purchase. Some benefits include: Improved showroom shopping experience Increased safety systems Stronger performance Simplified maintenance updates and Not only is AR helping car brands create better products for a lower cost, but it’s making every ride safer for those behind the wheel. Some basic features that are making cars safer include: Projected dashboard stats within the driver’s natural line of sight Immersive, safe navigation and clearly visible driving directions Improved focus and visibility Real-time localization Peripheral text and updates out of main view Defensive driving is even more effective when the driver is able to see warnings for road hazards and collisions ahead of time. By viewing driving updates and directions in their unobstructed line of sight, drivers are able to multitask without even realizing it. While most states prohibit the use of handsets while driving, even popular hands-free devices can be cumbersome and distracting. This makes the most basic tasks, like using a GPS app, dangerous. Anything that takes a driver’s attention off the road can be the cause of a life-changing (or life-ending) crash. With standard technology, the driver is required to take their attention off the road to effectively use the device. A handheld GPS or mobile phone can only provide so much information with audio, but heads up displays (HUD) allow drivers to look at directions, maps, or even traffic updates without taking their eyes off the road. Eliminating extra distractions by giving drivers a full view of everything they need for the drive can save countless lives on the road. AR is becoming an industry standard, and safety is one the primary benefits. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AugmentedRealityisChangingtheDrivingExperiencein2020.jpg] HOW IS AR AFFECTING THE AUTO MARKET? Augmented Reality has been utilized by a few well-known auto brands for years, but it’s a growing staple in the industry. Think about how much smoother your next road trip would be if you had as much control as your co-pilot? AR improves the entire experience for both drivers and passengers by allowing everyone to see vital information such as MPH, directions, nearby services, audio settings, and auto performance stats via an integrated HUD visual display. This trend began in the luxury market, but AR is becoming a standard feature for popular mainstream manufacturers like Mazda, Toyota and MINI. Not only is it being incorporated in the vehicles themselves, but car companies are using AR to improve the entire manufacturing process. Buyers no longer need to magically envision themselves in the car of their dreams. Now, they can literally “try on” a potential purchase without even leaving the showroom. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AugmentedRealityisChangingtheDrivingExperiencein2020-1.jpg] HOW WILL AUGMENTED REALITY AFFECT THE SELF-DRIVING INDUSTRY? Self-driving cars are another product that technology has brought to the mainstream market, but AR is adding another layer of safety and functionality to this already innovative industry. Autonomous vehicles use AI, sensors, and other technological developments to safely drive without human intervention. By responding to visual and tactile stimulus, these cars are able to navigate through lanes of traffic in real time. AR creates the perfect testing environment for these vehicles before they hit the market. Using visual media, testing specialists can create a completely digital virtual environment that mimics actual roads and city infrastructure. Augmented Reality also creates the perfect environment to test how these vehicles could interact with other cars and traffic elements in real time. Using digitally superimposed objects, AR testing specialists can test vehicles without always relying on practical props and collision units. They can also create more realistic scenarios without operating on public roads, adding another layer of protection before each model hits the mass market. As more and more models are popping up on the road, this increases each “driver’s” ability to accurately respond to anything that’s thrown their way. By building a virtual world to test out real-world scenarios, AR is making self-driving cars safer before they’re even released to the public. AUGMENTED REALITY IN THE MAINSTREAM AUTO MARKET How is AR transforming cars on nearly every car lot across the country? No matter your budget or lifestyle, Augmented Reality is becoming a standard feature for more manufacturers than ever in 2020. AR is quickly replacing standard GPS and audio systems in even standard base models, improving in-vehicle navigation AND entertainment for everyone in the car. Projecting the navigation details in clear, unobstructed view takes the stress out of getting from Point A to Point B. Drivers no longer need to rely on their co-pilot to signal every turn in time, and they don’t have to deal with the safety risk of using a handheld system. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving a compact coup or a luxury full-size vehicle, AR can create a fully immersive experience that will improve every trip – no matter how many miles. Additionally, AR is making road trips a breeze for families and large groups. Any length of time in the car is much more enjoyable when everyone can enjoy some extra comfort and peace of mind. In addition to reduced road rage, passengers and drivers can enjoy a wide range of benefits in AR-equipped vehicles that include: Smarter, more responsive navigation systems Accessible driver support Truly hands-free calling, digital controls, and roadside assistance support Improved driving tactics as a result of improve metric visibility Reduced in-vehicle and external distractions Increased peripheral visibility and depth of range 360-degree view of all driving data and road information Never worry about missing a speed limit posting or local traffic sign when you can access real-time, location-specific info on your windshield. Or, forget about relying on your passengers to choose your driving music when you can change stations without taking your hands off the wheel. DEVELOPMENT OF AUGMENTED REALITY AUTOMOTIVE TECHNOLOGY Innovative companies are continuously developing new ways to enhance the driving experience for all corners of the automotive consumer market. WayRay is one of the most notable companies that are developing AR tech for consumer drivers. Using an AR Rendering Engine, these products are able to siphon useful data from: Computer vision and mapping Relative vehicle positioning Virtual object rendering Sensor data acquisition Other popular AR manufacturers include Gotham and Samsung, but brands are continuously jumping onto this fast-moving train. However, many auto brands are coming up with their own proprietary software to give their inventory an added edge. Jaguar, Prosche, and Audi are all developing their own AR systems, each boasting uniquely clever ways to entice potential buyers. However you’re using it, Augmented Reality in mass market vehicles has the potential to improve your ride every time you get behind the wheel. It’s undeniable that we can expect to see this feature on all of our dashboards soon enough. Augmented Reality is taking over a variety of industries and sectors, from education to entertrainment. The automotive sphere is using this adaptive technology to improve the overall experience for everyone involved, while increasing the safety and profitability of the cars they’re produciting. If you want to dive into a (mostly) immersive environment whenever you need to get from Point A to Point B, AR is the transformative technology you need to incorporate in your vehicle. Click here to learn more about how Augmented Reality is transforming the driving experience in 2020.

Categories: Augmented Reality
The Future of Augmented Reality in Your Day-to-Day Life

The Future of Augmented Reality in Your Day-to-Day Life

August 7, 2020

Once limited to elite tech purposes, now more and more industries are looking to use Augmented Reality technology — and for good reason, too! The chances are high that you have already interacted with augmented reality in one way or another, especially if you’re a fan of video games. One popular game that launched AR into the public eye was none other than Pokemon Go. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/FutureofAugmentedReality.jpg] Augmented reality works by combining your real world environment with simulated overlays. You will typically see your immediately-surrounding environment with images projected around on your phone, or through a headset. From there, you’ll interact or receive input information from the projected images. For the sake of examples, in Pokemon Go, the characters would appear in your backyard or around the street, making it seem like the characters were actually there with you. The projected images, sounds, and interactions overlaid over our world have many functions, and are becoming increasingly popular. WHAT IS AUGMENTED REALITY USED FOR? Augmented reality isn’t limited to just video games. There are far more applications that may surprise you, as the use of AR technology is virtually unlimited. There are seven major applications of augmented reality that will soon influence your everyday life as augmented reality continues to rise. The seven primary applications include: * Education * Healthcare * Retail * Entertainment * Communication * Security * Navigation HOW AR IS USED IN EDUCATION The rise of augmented reality in your everyday life will include applications in education. This is sure to increase both the way we teach and how we learn. For primary school students, any subject — even physical education! — can be aided by the rising improvements in augmented reality. According to education researcher Fleming, there are three recognized methods of learning — by sound, by sight, and by touch. Especially for early learners, combining all three methods is the best way to guarantee positive results. AR can serve as the bridge that links them together. For example: a child can hold an educational material, and have their augmenting device recite the name and explanation, while also displaying facts and associations related to it. As they handle and manipulate the material in the real world, their virtual world updates with more interesting trivia and knowledge, enabling them to absorb more information. Introducing AR technology at a young age also helps it to become familiar to these students, allowing them early mastery of this technology. Children’s minds are incredibly flexible and adaptable — at one point it was believed that they’d never be able to understand the intricacies of smartphones, and yet here we are today! And just as smart devices have been proven to help in the classroom, the benefits of augmented reality may be truly significant. By interacting with their virtual and real environments simultaneously, kids retain the information more meaningfully compared to just a conventional textbook or lecture. For higher learning, augmented reality could potentially have a huge impact on how students retain information. For example, augmented reality can help theater students visualize potential organizations of theater-sets or lightings. For engineering students, running simulations of real-world infrastructure problems can make their studies more affordable and less labor-intensive. There may even be cross-discipline benefits. Part of the so-called “boring” nature of programming is the disconnect between bland lines of machine script and the final product. Perhaps being able to see and hear their code run in real time even as they made design changes would lead to more visually pleasing computer programs? AR is vastly better than simply following simple, non-interactive computer models. Take students undertaking extreme, high risk training for future careers: future doctors, pilots, and police officers, for example. For them, simulated emergency scenarios with immediate feedback can help them develop “virtual real-world” experience dealing with both the common and rare events that’ll crop up in their chosen path. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/FutureofAugmentedReality-1.jpg] HOW IS AUGMENTED REALITY USED IN HEALTHCARE? Augmented reality applications in healthcare will become more popular and helpful as AR technology grows in useage. Some examples might include procedures like surgeries, where visual assistance can help with the delicate and precise mechanics involved. Nurses finding veins can be made easier with real-time vein mapping to ensure no misses the first time. Patients will be sure to appreciate this aspect of AR! Augmented reality can even be used in dental healthcare. Orthodontic augmented reality can help model where braces brackets should go, or what the final result will look like mapped out inside the mouth. AR technology isn’t just limited to doctors and healthcare providers, either. Patients can also benefit from its use. Through AR, they can communicate more clearly with their doctors. For instance, instead of trying to point with their fingers at the painful spot, AR technology can help facilitate their treatment. This can allow them to describe what they’re feeling, while also providing a visual example to their provider through an AR rendering. Providers can also use AR to teach patients about how medications work inside their body, or how to properly use medical equipment at home. This can be extremely helpful for nervous patients who may wonder what sort of side effects might follow their treatment. Or, conversely, it can help motivate them to follow their course of treatment, knowing what positive outcome awaits them. It can be challenging for doctors to properly explain how to use medical equipment, especially for visual learners. Having the opportunity to see the medical equipment that they’ve been prescribed (and seeing it used on their own bodies!) can take the guesswork out of its use, reducing both user error and potential discomfort. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/FutureofAugmentedReality-2.jpg] HOW IS AUGMENTED REALITY USED IN RETAIL? As AR grows in popularity, you can expect to see it used in retail more often. Using augmented reality in retail isn’t just for sellers, either; it can also help buyers secure better deals and feel more confident about their purchases. The uses of AR in retail include making life easier by assisting with pricing visualized throughout the store (without having to walk up to the product!), or showing homeowners how furniture would look assembled in their homes. Another practical use for retail is visually overlaying yourself with an article of clothing you like. Augmented reality would allow you to save time in the dressing room by allowing you to virtually try them on, making it easier to know if the item is right for your style. Likewise, makeup and beauty products can also be simulated, saving you from having to try it on, or wondering how something looks with your skin tone if there are no samples available. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/FutureofAugmentedReality-3.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY AND IMMERSIVE ENTERTAINMENT AR isn’t just useful in more serious applications, either. The rise of augmented reality will also mean more entertainment options for your everyday life, too! If you’ve ever watched television, a sporting event, or played a video game, and wondered what it would be like up close and personal, then you’ll be excited to know that augmented reality can make that a reality. Sports augmented reality can make a sporting event feel so much more personal and immersive. At a stadium, you can see virtual projections of the star quarterback or goalie. Or you can use it to find concessions and link up with other fans of the same team. At home, you can use AR to project live replays in 3-D to see if that really was a foul ball, or to really feel what it was like to play through a run. You can even use augmented reality to snap a photo with your favorite athlete. General entertainment is also going to be quite the adventure for kids and adults alike through AR. Even watching movies will become more enjoyable. With augmented reality, you may be able to interact with fictional characters, or step directly into your favorite film. WHAT DOES AR MEAN IN GAMING? Gaming with augmented reality is also a lot more fun when you get to let your creativity run wild. As a kid, you could mentally conjure up new worlds in your home, but with AR? Now you can visually interact with those same creative ventures. Through augmented reality, you can let your imagination run amok without actually having to build pillow forts or buy expensive tools and equipment. For the kiddos, toys can be scanned to create an immersive experience through interactive animation. This can allow children to really explore their creativity with a toy and the stories they invent. WHAT IS AUGMENTED REALITY IN COMMUNICATION? The way people communicate can be made more accessible through the use of augmented reality, too. Communication and augmented reality really do go hand in hand by allowing us to connect from places far away. By using an AR service that creates a holographic projection of a person, two people can meet up — despite living in different countries. This allows for people who might not have the opportunity to travel to meet up for a business interview, or catch up with an old friend. For business, travel expenses can be saved. Even better, you may not need to go to the office for that important meeting. Bosses can deliver speeches or provide charts and figures without a tedious powerpoint slideshow. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/FutureofAugmentedReality-4.jpg] USING AUGMENTED REALITY IN SECURITY While security may seem like an unlikely everyday use of augmented reality, it can prove very beneficial. One example of security and augmented reality in your everyday life right now is using facial recognition to unlock a phone. Augmented reality and security go beyond just those features, however. Indeed, it can even be lifesaving. Floor plans and locks around your house could become quickly accessible in the case that you or a loved one get locked out of your home. It can also help you quickly and safely find your way out in a fire or other emergency. While out shopping or at work, augmented reality can help keep you safe by providing trained professionals with necessary skills and training. It can also be used to access gates, locate electrical lines and pipes, and act as a sort of “x-ray vision” in a crisis. AUGMENTED REALITY IN CITY NAVIGATION Augmented reality can help those who don’t know every square inch of their city by heart, too. More often than not, you may find yourself in new areas, and GPS has come a long way to help. Augmented reality in navigation could help you get to where you are going, but oh-so-much quicker and more precisely (and without getting lost!). You can find stores nearby, or find any place you may be looking for, with real-time street view assistance. Tired of choosing a dud restaurant when hungry? AR can help you explore an area with real-time reviews, all but guaranteeing you never suffer through a mediocre meal again. WHAT COMPANIES USE AUGMENTED REALITY? Augmented reality is present in many of the companies you already use today. From established companies like Amazon using AR to make sure your packages arrive on time, to new companies like Snap which uses augmentation to cue taking perfect photos of your events. Unexpectedly, even sports companies are pushing to the next level: the Dallas Cowboys are an industry leader in developing the practices behind merging this technology with how fans enjoy sports. Someday soon, you may be able to watch and interact with “augmented professional football” from home! Augmented reality in day-to-day life is surging at an unprecedented rate, growing more popular every single day. There are so many ways in which you may find yourself being assisted or entertained through innovations in augmented reality. Whether you are learning something new, seeing an old friend, are lost in the city, or looking for somewhere to shop or eat, augmented reality is designed to make life easier. And that is definitely something to look forward to in the near future!

Categories: Augmented Reality
Virtual Reality in Automotive Market: What will be the Short-term Impact of
Coronavirus?

Virtual Reality in Automotive Market: What will be the Short-term Impact of Coronavirus?

August 5, 2020

In March, businesses across the country shut down in an effort to flatten the curve of coronavirus infection rates as the virus threatened to spread out of control. Life as usual stopped suddenly, and businesses were forced to adjust to the closures in a fight for financial survival. Many industries learned to evolve to stay afloat and keep sales from tanking. Customers could no longer shop or patronize businesses and shops in person; in many states, shelter-in-place mandates kept many from leaving their home for anything but the essentials. In response, the evolution of business and retail went virtual…and online. The automotive industry may have seen sales and consumer traffic drop significantly during the height of the pandemic, and, even now, some states may still limit businesses to a minimum number of patrons. BCG reports that 2020 sales (in the US, Europe and China) are forecasted to be 14 to 22 percent lower. However, the pain of the industry is more complicated than just the noticeable drop in foot traffic at dealerships. In a report titled “Understanding the impact of Covid-19 automotive industry,” Deloitte explains that plant closures also played a role in the issues faced by executives in the industry. Closed plants meant the halt of production, and perhaps a limited amount of models hitting the showrooms and dealer lots. CNBC reported that because of coronavirus plant closures, global auto production was expected to drop by 1.4 million vehicles. While the halt in factory production might have forced major automotive manufacturers and the executives in the industry to brace for a decreased supply, dealerships still needed to find ways to sell the inventory on lots. Sales couldn’t simply stand at zero, survival meant adjusting to the quarantine and finding ways to reach consumers. The solution? Many embraced virtual reality technology to bring the car buying process to life when in-person sales and laid-back visits to dealer lots simply were not a viable–or safe–option for consumers. However, virtual reality showrooms aren’t simply a short-term solution to an economy that has faced limitations on shopping and sales that have been complicated by constantly evolving safety guidelines. Instead, the use of VR might be the new pivot of the industry, an advancement that was waiting on the sidelines and was already prepared to jump into the driver’s seat. Virtual driver’s seat, that is. As Covid forced employers and schools to adopt a virtual environment, many businesses and educators have embraced virtual methods as users have adapted to their high-tech features. Businesses began to understand that conducting business at home was cheaper and, in many ways, more convenient and much safer than pushing employees to come into the office. The normal business as usual became virtual offices, conferences, interviews and lectures. The automotive industry has realized that offering a virtual showroom that allows the buyer to browse cars at their leisure may be here to stay. In fact, virtual reality in the automotive market may be a long-term solution to what was perceived as a short-term impact of a pandemic. VR IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY: VIRTUAL SHOWROOMS, MARKETING PIZZAZZ & TRAINING TOOLS Fortune Business Insights released a comprehensive report that detailed predictions and data about virtual reality’s use within the industry. The use of virtual reality in the automotive industry is far-reaching and is used beyond the concept of virtual showrooms Fortune Business Insights notes that virtual reality can–and likely will–be used in marketing campaigns for manufacturers. However, VR already is used in training; the report noted that in 2019 both Rolls Royce and Qatar Airways announced that VR would be used to train engineers. For consumers–and perhaps even other audiences, too–Fortune discussed scenarios that could integrate virtual reality to boost sales or marketing efforts. Fortune posited using VR to navigate a vehicle on a different planet! Imagine allowing a buyer to somehow interact with the vehicle as viewed on Mars…or even on a beach. This digital experience allows companies to create any image they wish for their product. Take a ride in a luxury vehicle along the coast of Monaco! The scenery and the backdrop for the VR showroom or virtual test drive could elevate a brand’s reputation and create a memorable experience for the consumer. The savvier the experience, the deeper the impact it could create for the future buyer. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/VirtualRealityinAutomotiveMarket.jpg] THE VIRTUAL TEST DRIVE ISN’T NEW… BUT IT MAY BE GAINING MORE TRACTION THANKS TO COVID Exotic locales for test drives might be a future possibility, but manufacturers are already offering some type of virtual reality simulated driving experiences. Fortune Business Insights’ report noted that Volvo offered this experience to buyers for its XC90 model. Given that the report was released before Covid, Volvo was ahead of the game. Audi also steered ahead of the curve; back in 2018, The Drum reported that Audi offered a virtual reality test drive of its Q5 model… except Audi conducted the test drive in a sandbox (a virtual sandbox, that is!). Now, in a world that is still adjusting amid the pandemic, dealerships also are offering the virtual test drive experience to their buyers. Krieger Ford offers virtual test drives on numerous models so consumers can feel out different car models. The VR works on phones–operating almost like a game!–and consumers can tilt the screen to maneuver their vehicle. THE VIRTUAL SHOWROOM In the current health climate, businesses across the country may still be limiting the number of patrons within their stores. Dealerships also could be restricting the number of potential buyers within their showroom to follow local and state health mandates during the Covid pandemic. As some states continue to be hot spots, the effect of these restrictions could have more of an impact within certain geographic locations. Yet, Coronavirus and the health restrictions (especially the weeks of shelter-in-place mandates required in many states) have forced many dealerships to seek out other ways to reach buyers. The solution has gone virtual… and online. As conferencing platforms have taken over the boardroom, virtual reality apps and platforms have become the new normal for previewing a new car at a dealership. Virtual showrooms are a different form of virtual reality. These unique online experiences give consumers the ability to shop for a new car at home, in private and without pressure. Yet, the experience is still quite similar to a real-life dealership showroom. HOW CAN BUYERS ACCESS A VIRTUAL REALITY SHOWROOM? Here’s how the virtual showroom works: Choose the Make, Model, Year and Trim from the available vehicle options Hit the ‘Explore’ button Use the navigation options to view the vehicle’s interior and exterior Select the ‘color’ icon to view the different color choices for the vehicle The virtual showroom allows potential buyers to see different features of each vehicle to help simplify the shopping process. Using the virtual showroom is especially beneficial for those who are comparing newer models of vehicles or who are simply researching options. VIRTUAL REALITY SHOWROOMS & USED VEHICLES Virtual reality showroom sites may provide consumers with older model vehicles on certain makes/models. However, for consumers on the hunt for a used vehicle, the research process may require a bit more due diligence. The VR showroom shows older models, but these models are simply models of the cars. They don’t show any potential flaws or damage that a used model on the lot could exhibit. For this reason, buyers on the hunt for older cars can use VR sites and platforms for guidance, but they also should send an inquiry to the dealership to ask about any specific flaws or issues. Most dealerships offer photo slideshows of inventory, but never hesitate to ask for more information. CORONAVIRUS: THE SHORT-TERM IMPACT MIGHT NOT BE SHORT-TERM AT ALL Virtual reality technology and offerings were wired into the automotive industry before Coronavirus wreaked its havoc. While the impact of Covid has probably boosted the need for virtual reality showrooms and test drives for dealerships and manufacturers, it will evolve with the technology that guides and directs its design. Virtual reality will be a key feature in the automotive industry for the long haul. For many consumers, virtual reality in the automotive industry may simply mean that they can go online or download an app and take a virtual test drive or shop for models via a virtual showroom. Executives in the industry, though, may understand that this technology will penetrate the automotive market in other ways; training has already integrated virtual reality technology for some companies. Virtual reality has the potential to take the shopping experience into the fast lane; as Fortune Business Insights theorized, buyers could soon take virtual test drives on other planets… or somewhere exotic. Companies could let buyers into the driver’s seat in virtual race simulations to feel out the strength of the engine. The possibilities for how VR could be used in the automotive industry could be limited only by the imagination of the designers and engineers. For the automotive industry, virtual reality could be the beginning of an amazing evolution in the buying process. As VR simulations advance and become even more true to life, there may be no need to ever visit a brick and mortar dealership. The right car could be just a click away, and virtual car shopping may become the new normal.

Categories: Virtual Reality
Impact of Covid-19 Outbreak on Automotive Augmented Reality Market

Impact of Covid-19 Outbreak on Automotive Augmented Reality Market

August 3, 2020

In the United States alone, over 100,000 businesses have permanently closed due to the pandemic, which has left millions of people unemployed and looking for work. Nearly every industry has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the automotive industry. Mandatory stay-at-home and lockdown orders, concerns over employees’ safety in the workplace, and a decline in demand for new vehicles have created turbulent times for automotive manufacturers. In fact, it is estimated that there will be a 14-22% decline in automotive sales in the United States, Europe, and China this year as a result of the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated many markets, but others, including the automotive augmented reality market, have thrived during the coronavirus crisis. WHAT IS THE FORECAST FOR THE AUTOMOTIVE AUGMENTED REALITY MARKET? In 2016, the augmented reality and virtual reality global market was valued at $6.1 billion. Just four years later, the augmented reality and virtual reality global market tripled, reaching $18.8 billion. But augmented reality is still considered a relatively new technology, so experts believe that the market as a whole will continue to grow even more as a larger number of companies begin to embrace it. Much of the growth in the global augmented reality market has been driven by the automotive industry, so it’s not surprising that this segment of the market is also expected to grow in the years ahead. Experts predict that the global automotive augmented reality market will reach $9 billion by the year 2025, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 30%. OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE AUTOMOTIVE AUGMENTED REALITY MARKET DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS These predictions show that the automotive augmented reality market is expected to continue to grow despite the challenges faced by the automotive industry due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is because the COVID-19 pandemic has actually created a number of new opportunities for the automotive augmented reality market. Here are some of the many ways that automotive manufacturers should use augmented reality technology during this unprecedented global crisis: IMPROVING THE BUYING EXPERIENCE FOR CONSUMERS Many consumers are hesitant to visit automotive dealerships in person due to the risk of contracting COVID-19. As a result, automotive manufacturers must use augmented reality technology to provide a safer buying experience for consumers. Thanks to augmented reality technology, consumers will no longer need to visit a dealership to shop for a new vehicle. Instead, they can complete every step of the car buying process from the comfort of their home. Using augmented reality, consumers can project images of vehicles onto their surroundings. This allows them to inspect and explore a virtual vehicle in the same way that they would inspect and explore a vehicle in a dealership showroom. The technology is so advanced that consumers can even open the car door and peek inside to check out the interior. This experience won’t be limited to consumers with augmented reality headsets. Dealerships can incorporate augmented reality elements on their website to give prospective buyers the chance to take a virtual tour of any vehicle in their inventory. Basically, this technology gives dealerships the power to create virtual showrooms so they can reach social distancing consumers. Now, consumers can compare, contrast, and research different vehicles without ever stepping foot into a dealership. Once they are ready to make a purchase, they can contact the dealership to complete the transaction. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AutomotiveAugmentedRealityMarket.jpg] INCREASING FOCUS ON SAFETY FEATURES As more people were ordered to shelter in place or stay at home, the number of vehicles on the roads in the U.S. drastically decreased. Many people initially believed that the roads were safer since there was less traffic, but that turned out not to be the case. In May, the National Safety Council released a report that revealed that the average number of miles driven in March 2020 decreased by 18% compared to March 2019. Despite this decrease in miles driven, the number of motor vehicle fatalities per mile driven increased by 14%. In other words, people in the U.S. weren’t driving as much, but they were still getting into fatal accidents at a much higher rate. This does not mean that traffic fatalities increased by 14%, but rather traffic fatalities per mile driven. But some states, such as Minnesota and Louisiana, recorded an increase in the total number of traffic fatalities during the coronavirus crisis. This means there were more traffic fatalities in these states even though there were fewer people on the roads. These shocking statistics have led to an increased focus on driver safety, which creates an opportunity for automotive manufacturers to use augmented reality technology. Automotive manufacturers can appeal to consumers who prioritize driving safety by offering vehicles with a wide range of safety features supported by augmented reality technology. This may include a head-up display that projects crucial information onto the driver’s windshield so they never need to take their eyes off of the road while behind the wheel. For example, the head-up display may provide them with navigational directions, pedestrian detection, collision detection, road hazard warnings, and more. The coronavirus pandemic has led many consumers to prioritize their safety, health, and wellness. Because of this, now is the perfect time for automotive manufacturers to utilize augmented reality to create a safer driving experience for their consumers. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AutomotiveAugmentedRealityMarket-1.jpg] CREATING AN OPPORTUNITY FOR VIRTUAL MAINTENANCE ASSISTANCE Some consumers may put off taking their vehicles into dealerships or auto repair shops for maintenance during the COVID-19 crisis in order to avoid potential exposure. However, putting off routine maintenance of a vehicle could lead to bigger issues and more costly repairs in the future. Fortunately, there is a way for automotive companies to help consumers who want to care for their vehicles without risking their health. Some industry experts suggest that augmented reality technology can be used to provide maintenance assistance to consumers who do not want to bring their vehicle in for maintenance or repairs due to health concerns. For example, a consumer could wear an augmented reality headset that projects instructions on how to change their vehicle’s oil. Images, graphics, and other digital elements could be projected directly onto their vehicle to guide them through each step in the process. This would give consumers the opportunity to perform simple, routine maintenance tasks at home until they feel comfortable enough to visit an auto repair shop or dealership in person. Consumers may even be able to use augmented reality headsets to get help from an experienced mechanic. The headset could connect to the mechanic’s headset, allowing them to see what’s in front of the consumer. This connectivity could help mechanics remotely and safely identify issues and guide consumers through the process of making simple repairs. ALLOWING MANUFACTURERS TO CONDUCT VIRTUAL TRAINING SESSIONS Many companies—inside and outside of the automotive industry—have used augmented reality technology to assist with employee training. But now, the opportunity to use augmented reality technology for training purposes is greater than ever before due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many employees of automotive companies will have no other choice but to work from home until the health crisis is over. These employees may be new to remote work, which means they may need additional training to help them adjust to this major change in their work environment. Augmented reality technology can help during this difficult transition period. For example, employees can use augmented reality headsets to project the text from a certain handbook or manual onto their environment. This way, they won’t have to bring stacks of manuals and books home with them in order to perform their job duties. Instead, they can access the text using their augmented reality headsets. Augmented reality headsets can also help these employees set up the devices they need to safely and securely work remotely. The headset can project instructions on setting up company-owned devices and equipment to make the process as simple as possible. Augmented reality could also be used to train workers on new production processes. The coronavirus pandemic could potentially disrupt the automotive supply chain. For this reason, experts have warned automotive manufacturers to be prepared to change the design of a vehicle or the materials used in its construction. If a manufacturer is forced to make either of these changes, the workers involved in the production process must be retrained. Automotive manufacturers who find themselves in this unenviable situation can rely on augmented reality headsets to quickly and efficiently update and train their workers on these changes. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AutomotiveAugmentedRealityMarket-2.jpg] ENABLING COLLABORATION FOR REMOTE WORKERS A growing number of automotive employees may be working remotely, but this doesn’t mean they are working completely independently. Collaboration plays an important role in the automotive industry, but it can be a challenge for remote workers. However, augmented reality technology can enable collaboration for automotive workers, especially those who work in automotive design. Automotive design teams can use augmented reality technology to collaborate on the design of new prototypes. This technology gives designers the opportunity to inspect, interact with, and make changes to a virtual prototype when working remotely. This can help automotive designers perform their job duties—and meet tight production deadlines—even when working remotely. At least one automotive manufacturer, Ford, already uses augmented reality headsets to create virtual prototypes during the design process. Now, other automotive manufacturers may need to follow Ford’s lead in order to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Forecasts for many markets are bleak as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that’s not the case for the automotive augmented reality market. Despite the global health and economic crisis, the automotive augmented reality market will continue to experience tremendous growth in the years ahead.

Here’s How to Utilize Virtual Car Shopping During COVID-19

Here’s How to Utilize Virtual Car Shopping During COVID-19

April 18, 2020

As we all navigate through the current COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the closure of non-essential businesses, including car dealerships. This may have temporarily thrown a wrench in the plans of those whose lease was ending or those immediately due for a new vehicle. The act of social distancing is more important now than ever, and as we commit to staying home and safe, there are ways to use this time to still properly prepare for future vehicle purchases. In fact, the ability to use virtual and augmented reality to change the entire car shopping experience, right from home, is huge. The New Stay at Home Process The history of the car dealership goes back over 100 years, and despite the huge advancements we have seen in vehicle technology, the customer’s car buying journey has remained largely unchanged up until now. According to a recent study by Cox Automotive, 83% of consumers want to do one or more steps of the car purchase process online and 7 out of 10 are more likely to buy from a dealership if they could start the process online. As these shopping habits show just how significant the online process has become, utilizing new technologies will significantly help cater to the needs of us staying at home right now. During self-isolation, the way consumers are able to educate themselves on potential vehicles ahead of time is crucial to cutting down time spent on the dealer lot once they do open back up. These consumers are already using platforms like third-party automotive websites, and the likes of Google and YouTube to research their next car and begin the process online. These customers rely on the internet to keep them informed, and now, there is great opportunity to offer even more informative ways to shop for cars. The Wonders of a Virtual Showroom For those not as familiar with the difference between the two, virtual reality uses a headset or mobile device to create a fully immersive 3D experience. Augmented reality places digital images onto a user’s view of the real world, most often through a smartphone. Both VR and AR create digital worlds that take the user on a journey, whether they are playing a game or shopping. And when it comes to car shopping, simply just looking at images of cars online ahead of a dealership visit is no longer going to cut it. Consumers will want to view vehicles features up close, examine every angle, and truly experience a potential car before purchase. With virtual and augmented reality technologies, this process is entirely disrupted — for the better. By using virtual reality car shopping technology, consumers can view 360° views of any car they are interested in, right from their homes. These views include interior and exteriors shots, and can be accessed from mobile phones, tablets, or even simply through a website. With this simple step added, users are transported to that virtual car showroom, completely transforming how they view and interact with potential cars and turning research into a full experience, rather than just a basic process with standard imagery or video. Apps such as RelayCars are already offering these services, including thousands of stereoscopic vehicle views. In fact, a high-quality VR library of assets is essential to helping out customers who cannot go to the dealer right now, and ultimately changing the future of car shopping as we know it. And it doesn’t stop at VR. With augmented reality technology, users can project and view a potential car from their phone straight into their living room or driveway, viewing it in a real-life setting within moments. Even just 10 or 15 years ago, this type of research taking place before ever stepping foot on a dealership lot was unheard of. This process brings the dealership to the customer during a time when they cannot leave home. Think of how many steps there are once you arrive onsite at the dealership – there’s the initial viewing of vehicles, a test drive portion, paperwork, price negotiation, and even more. With the ability to use virtual and augmented reality to view vehicles right from home, customers are now entering a whole new world. These processes help customers to optimize time then spent on the dealer lot, and create a way to be respectful of not only their time, but the dealer’s time too. Once you are able to finally get behind the wheel of a car for a test drive, any questions you had during this research phase will immediately start to be answered, making this process truly come full circle. Researching your future car doesn’t have to take a back seat while physical dealer locations are closed. In fact, proper preparation through AR and VR is key to changing the future of the overall dealership experience as we know it. Once lots open back up, the days of spending hours upon hours at a car dealership will be behind us. RelayCars is available online and for download at the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. ### The potential of virtual and augmented reality car shopping is vast, whether a car shopper is exploring the latest models in their living room or being guided through a virtual tour of a vehicle’s features in the showroom. However, to fully harness the possibilities of virtual reality car shopping, it is essential to choose the best applications and assets to build flexible, functional virtual showrooms. By partnering with pioneers in automotive VR technology, such as RelayCars and EVOX, dealers can ensure they have the resources they need to create compelling VR experiences. EVOX® Images offers the largest automotive virtual reality library, available for consumers to view through the RelayCars app. Contact our team or call us at 310-605-1400 to learn more about our innovative imaging solutions.

Here’s How to Utilize Virtual Car Shopping During COVID-19

Here’s How to Utilize Virtual Car Shopping During COVID-19

April 17, 2020

As we all navigate through the current COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the closure of non-essential businesses, including car dealerships. This may have temporarily thrown a wrench in the plans of those whose lease was ending or those immediately due for a new vehicle. The act of social distancing is more important now than ever, and as we commit to staying home and safe, there are ways to use this time to still properly prepare for future vehicle purchases. In fact, the ability to use virtual and augmented reality to change the entire car shopping experience, right from home, is huge. The New Stay at Home Process The history of the car dealership goes back over 100 years, and despite the huge advancements we have seen in vehicle technology, the customer’s car buying journey has remained largely unchanged up until now. According to a recent study by Cox Automotive, 83% of consumers want to do one or more steps of the car purchase process online and 7 out of 10 are more likely to buy from a dealership if they could start the process online. As these shopping habits show just how significant the online process has become, utilizing new technologies will significantly help cater to the needs of us staying at home right now. During self-isolation, the way consumers are able to educate themselves on potential vehicles ahead of time is crucial to cutting down time spent on the dealer lot once they do open back up. These consumers are already using platforms like third-party automotive websites, and the likes of Google and YouTube to research their next car and begin the process online. These customers rely on the internet to keep them informed, and now, there is great opportunity to offer even more informative ways to shop for cars. The Wonders of a Virtual Showroom For those not as familiar with the difference between the two, virtual reality uses a headset or mobile device to create a fully immersive 3D experience. Augmented reality places digital images onto a user’s view of the real world, most often through a smartphone. Both VR and AR create digital worlds that take the user on a journey, whether they are playing a game or shopping. And when it comes to car shopping, simply just looking at images of cars online ahead of a dealership visit is no longer going to cut it. Consumers will want to view vehicles features up close, examine every angle, and truly experience a potential car before purchase. With virtual and augmented reality technologies, this process is entirely disrupted — for the better. By using virtual reality car shopping technology, consumers can view 360° views of any car they are interested in, right from their homes. These views include interior and exteriors shots, and can be accessed from mobile phones, tablets, or even simply through a website. With this simple step added, users are transported to that virtual car showroom, completely transforming how they view and interact with potential cars and turning research into a full experience, rather than just a basic process with standard imagery or video. Apps such as RelayCars are already offering these services, including thousands of stereoscopic vehicle views. In fact, a high-quality VR library of assets is essential to helping out customers who cannot go to the dealer right now, and ultimately changing the future of car shopping as we know it. And it doesn’t stop at VR. With augmented reality technology, users can project and view a potential car from their phone straight into their living room or driveway, viewing it in a real-life setting within moments. Even just 10 or 15 years ago, this type of research taking place before ever stepping foot on a dealership lot was unheard of. This process brings the dealership to the customer during a time when they cannot leave home. Think of how many steps there are once you arrive onsite at the dealership – there’s the initial viewing of vehicles, a test drive portion, paperwork, price negotiation, and even more. With the ability to use virtual and augmented reality to view vehicles right from home, customers are now entering a whole new world. These processes help customers to optimize time then spent on the dealer lot, and create a way to be respectful of not only their time, but the dealer’s time too. Once you are able to finally get behind the wheel of a car for a test drive, any questions you had during this research phase will immediately start to be answered, making this process truly come full circle. Researching your future car doesn’t have to take a back seat while physical dealer locations are closed. In fact, proper preparation through AR and VR is key to changing the future of the overall dealership experience as we know it. Once lots open back up, the days of spending hours upon hours at a car dealership will be behind us. RelayCars is available online and for download at the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. ### The potential of virtual and augmented reality car shopping is vast, whether a car shopper is exploring the latest models in their living room or being guided through a virtual tour of a vehicle’s features in the showroom. However, to fully harness the possibilities of virtual reality car shopping, it is essential to choose the best applications and assets to build flexible, functional virtual showrooms. By partnering with pioneers in automotive VR technology, such as RelayCars and EVOX, dealers can ensure they have the resources they need to create compelling VR experiences. EVOX® Images offers the largest automotive virtual reality library, available for consumers to view through the RelayCars app. Contact our team or call us at 310-605-1400 to learn more about our innovative imaging solutions.

Get behind the wheel of your dream car without going to the dealership

Get behind the wheel of your dream car without going to the dealership

January 31, 2020

Let’s face it – the thought of going to the dealership can be enough to dissuade you from looking at that shiny new car you’ve been eyeing. The car-buying process is traditionally overwhelming and unpleasant, with long hours and negotiations with tough salespeople on the show floor. The process is anything but ideal, and can be especially daunting to those who have never done it before. As time goes on, the in-dealership experience continues to be a point of contention for many car shoppers.  According to a 2019 Cox Automotive study, when asked to compare their most recent buying experience to previous ones, 61% of car buyers said their experience was not any better – and in some cases, worse – than the last time they bought a car. This information shows that the process is not getting any better and has remained largely unchanged – until now. The Future of Car Showrooms What if you could get behind the wheel of your next dream car without ever leaving the couch? Naturally, you’ve already Googled the car, read some reviews, and viewed various images of the vehicle. This online process is about to get way more immersive, way more convenient, and honestly – way cooler. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR ) are now allowing us to step into vehicles and view entire specifications and features in a complete realistic way, all from the comfort of home and through everyday devices like our smartphones and tablets. Wondering what the interior of that new Porsche or Tesla looks like? With a virtual reality car showroom and a high-quality VR library, a potential car can be viewed and even customized within seconds. This technology can allow for views of VR car interiors, exterior spins of the vehicle, detailed features, and even the ability to compare vehicles side by side and change the paint colors of cars. The car can be viewed at all angles, as well as directly from the driver’s seat, and the options are endless. For example, the RelayCars® car VR app is powered by the most expansive and high-quality VR library on the market. With this research process, it’s much easier to walk into the dealership more informed and confident in choosing a vehicle. Not only that, but you will cut down on the time spent at the dealership, already knowing where each feature and button is located in your new car. Additionally, with online shopping and at-home delivery more common than ever, these virtual and augmented reality car showrooms can also include a ‘buy now’ feature that helps consumers to make a direct purchase to avoid the dealership entirely. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/ManequinVR_for_Bannersite_SIZE_TEST_4.png] Experience a Virtual Car Showroom, Anytime, Anywhere While corresponding, VR headsets such as the Oculus Go are still continuing to become more mainstream, users can simply get right into the driver’s seats of potential vehicles by using a “Magic Window” application to view the technology straight from a mobile device or tablet. With no headset required, this process is accessible and easy to use. Wondering what your new car will look like in your driveway or garage? Using AR technology, users can also place cars physically into real-world environments and feel like they are even walking around the perimeter of the car. As this technology evolves, some platforms may also begin to include ‘test drive’ options in realistic settings. According to Cox Automotive, 83% of consumers want to do one or more steps of the purchase process online and 7 out of 10 are more likely to buy from a dealership if they could start the process online. And, of course, this modern car shopping experience isn’t limited to just the home. Set locations, such as mall kiosks or specific help centers in stores, can acquire headsets and help guide consumers through the research process. When conducted by a dealership, the process can be started in these more casual environments and help to alleviate the anxiety and surrounding the physical car showroom. Summarizing the Key Benefits Ultimately, avoiding the dealership entirely sounds perfect, but that’s only just one major benefit to utilizing AR and VR technology to shop for your next car. Many car enthusiasts and everyday shoppers may eventually still choose to visit a physical showroom to sit in the car and drive it as the final step before purchase. However, when it comes down to it, this new research process shows it is quickly becoming the go-to option, with key advantages including: ●      Accessibility – Once again, shoppers should not feel deterred by the fact that they don’t own a compatible AR or VR headset. Our standard devices are becoming more and more powerful and are able to display this advanced technology with no problem, right from home as well as on-the-go. As more and more locations adapt to this process, don’t be surprised if you begin seeing actual dealerships implementing onsite headsets and AR/VR experiences to help to finalize sales and save physical, inventory space on the lot. ●      Brand Loyalty – Many shoppers have been buying the same model car for years, and will always choose to continue such brand loyalty each time they are ready for a new vehicle. Oftentimes, these buyers do not need to be sold on various models, and just want to see what is new and improved in the latest model of their already existing car. Perhaps the consumer wants the exact same car, but only wants to see what it would look like in a different color interior or exterior. Having the ability to view these latest models from home, in a realistic way, is the perfect scenario for brand loyalists. They are able to quickly view exactly what they will be getting and then go straight to their usual dealership to pick it up. ●      Ease of Use – You don’t have to be the most tech-savvy person to get behind and utilize this trend. Just like using a typical phone app, cars can be viewed and customized with the simple swipe of a finger on a screen. ●      Pacing Your Research – No one likes to feel rushed when deciding on a vehicle onsite at the dealership. Choosing a new car is a huge commitment and it’s important to take your time in order to make the right decision. With access to this technology from home, users may research as often as they want to, and for as long as they want to. ●      Sharing the Decision-Making Process – Curious what your family or friends think about the car you’ve been eyeing? Don’t have time to bring them all to the dealership at the same time? This convenient process allows for users to easily involve others in decision-making, and set aside time at home to research and discuss together. ●      Time and Convenience – Car buyers are spending less time shopping and fewer days in market, meaning they are making decisions more quickly. They are also visiting fewer dealerships, while the number of car buyers visiting only one dealership has increased significantly to 41% (up from 30% two years ago). Using an at-home, AR and VR research tool, shoppers are guaranteed to only have to visit one dealership, as they are more than likely to know ahead of time what they are going to purchase. ●       Quality Information and Imagery – To reiterate, these vehicle views and panoramas are so much more than your standard, basic image. Having access to every angle of a car, inside and outside, is extremely valuable. Users will be surprised to see just how realistic, high-quality, and immersive this research process really is. ●      Quick Comparisons and Customizations – Sometimes, it can be hard to tell the true difference between similar models within the same car brand. Using this technology to view vehicles directly side-by-side creates an invaluable way to compare and contrast physical and technological features across cars. ●      Vast Selection – On the contrary, have you ever been deciding between two, different car brands and don’t have the time to visit two separate dealerships? With access to huge automotive, VR libraries, shoppers are not limited to a single manufacturer. They can easily research and compare vehicles within minutes and the simple click of a button. In a time when potential car shoppers are busier than ever, and services everywhere are becoming more convenient, automotive VR and AR technology is slated to transform the way we educate ourselves on vehicle choices. With this new wave of research options, your dream car is closer than you think. The potential of virtual reality car shopping is vast, whether a car shopper is exploring the latest models in their living room or being guided through a virtual tour of a vehicle’s features in the car showroom. However, to fully harness the possibilities of virtual reality car shopping, it is essential to choose the best applications and assets to build flexible, functional virtual showrooms. By partnering with pioneers in automotive VR technology, such as RelayCars® and Evox Images, dealers can ensure they have the resources they need to create compelling VR experiences. RelayCars® offers a truly immersive virtual automotive showroom experience. With unrivaled image quality and vehicle selection, RelayCars® is an indispensable tool for car shoppers and enthusiasts alike making it the next evolution for car research shopping.  Contact our team or call us at 310-605-1400 to learn more about our innovative imaging solutions.

ALL THE OCULUS GO & GEAR VR APPS COMPATIBLE WITH OCULUS QUEST

ALL THE OCULUS GO & GEAR VR APPS COMPATIBLE WITH OCULUS QUEST

October 8, 2019

By Peter Graham As always Oculus Connect last week was a flurry of information with the sixth event featuring some rather tasty announcements, especially where Oculus Quest was concerned. One of those was the reveal that both Oculus Go and Gear VR videogames and apps would be coming to Quest, over 50 in total. The feature is due to arrive this week said Oculus Technical Program Manager Stephanie Lue on stage, with the first compatible apps now listed. To start with 66 apps will make their way onto Oculus Quest, with more being added in time. Once the feature goes live all you’ll need to do to access your Oculus Go or Gear VR content is select the Library tab on the bottom toolbar. Then select Go/Gear VR from the device drop-down menu, chose ‘Not-Installed’ and then install the relevant content. If you don’t own any Oculus Go or Gear VR content then head to the Oculus store online, or through the Oculus mobile app.  Browse the Oculus Go or Gear VR sections of the Oculus store and find compatible titles. Once downloaded you’ll be able to access the app on Oculus Quest. The full rundown of compatible titles is as follows: * A Night Sky – Coatsink * 3C Wonderland Coaster – Ojas VR Studios * ACE PHANTOM – VANGUARD CO LTD * Air Combat (WW2) – BabaVR * Angest – Black River Studios * Art Plunge – Space Plunge * Athens in VR – Lithodomos VR * Bathroom Shooting Games – ME-ZZ * Battle of Kings VR: Mobile – Wenkly Studio Sp. z o.o. * Coaster – Monster Paw * CubeRun.VR – MirrorVR * DRIFT – SharpSense * Daedalus – Vertical Robot * Darknet – E McNeill * Dead Body Falls – Black River Studios * Death Horizon – Dream Dev Studio LLP * Deepak Chopra Finding Your True Self – WEVR * Don’t Look Away – Made in Brooklyn Games * Escape Now: The Icons – Captivision * FREE FLIGHTER – FancyTechVR * Fear Incarnate – Miles Godspeed * Fears Nightmare Roller Coaster – NetDinamica * Forest of Serenity – St Giles Hospice * Gamers Generations – 360Vision * Hidden Fortune – Archiact Interactive * House of Terror – Lakento * Human Anatomy VR – Virtual Medicine * In Our Boots – Army Game Studio * Innocent Forest: The Bird of Light – MyDearest Inc. * Introduction to Virtual Reality – Felix and Paul Studios * Land’s End – ustwo games * MEL Chemistry VR Lessons – MEL Science * MasterWorks: Journey Through History – CyArk * MetaTable Poker – Tinycontent * My Virtual Pet VR – Immersive Magic * Our Solar System – Crenovator Lab Corporation * PAINT VR – Coskami * Pirate Shooter – Florian Bernard * Play With Me – C6H8O7 * Power Hitter – Zgame Studios * Pyramids Roller Coaster – AZAMOKA * RelayCars – RelayCars * Rilix VR – Rilix * RollerCoaster Legends – WarDucks LTD * SONAR – Sonar360 * Salvo GO – Focus VR Ltd * Sea Hero Quest – Glitchers Ltd * Sisters: A VR Ghost Story – Otherworld Interactive * Sky Fighter: Training Day – 3D Scenica * Solar System – Fuero Games Sp. z o.o. * Space Dodge2 – Chesstar Studios * Sphere Toon – VR Comic – Studio HORANG * Tactera – E McNeill * The Missed Spaceflight – Samsung Electronics Polska Sp. z o.o. * They Suspect Nothing – Coatsink * Thrill Rollercoasters – VDimension * Toy Clash – 5minlab Co., Ltd. * Track Slash – Inverse Games * Turkey Hunt – Lucid Sight, Inc. * USAF Special Ops – GSD&M Idea City LLC * Underworld Overlord – OtherSide Entertainment * VR Basketball – CygnisMedia * VR Rally – FIBRUM * Welcome to Virtual Reality – TREYTECH SOFTWARE LLC * Wheel Rush – 3DiVi Company * Wonders of the World – MATTERvr, LLC. SOURCE: https://www.vrfocus.com/2019/10/all-the-oculus-go-gear-vr-apps-compatible-with-oculus-quest/

HOW VR AND AR ARE CHANGING THE CAR-BUYING EXPERIENCE

HOW VR AND AR ARE CHANGING THE CAR-BUYING EXPERIENCE

September 4, 2019

The car-buying experience is almost universally loathed. In-person negotiations are a hassle, and spending the day going from dealership to dealership to test drive cars is an experience that most consumers want to avoid at all costs. Those hassles are one of the reasons why it takes consumers an average of six months of research before settling on which car to buy. In a survey conducted by AutoTrader, just 17 out of the 4,002 consumers polled said they were satisfied with the current car-buying process. Dealers aren’t happy with the situation, either. Getting people into auto dealerships is becoming increasingly difficult, and millennial customers, in particular, are resisting taking part in traditional dealer/customer negotiations. Although research shows that baby boomers prefer to touch and feel vehicles, and they will go to multiple dealerships to look at cars, that’s not necessarily the case with younger buyers. Millennial shoppers are doing most of their car buying research online, using popular platforms like Google and YouTube. The problem is that new cars are incredibly expensive, and most people don’t feel comfortable picking a vehicle based exclusively on two-dimensional images and whatever data they can pull up on the Kelley Blue Book website. Consumers don’t want to go into dealerships, either, so they end up delaying their purchases for as long as possible. RelayCars thinks it has a solution. The company has put together a program that uses augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to help consumers research new cars and trucks. Getting a realistic view of a vehicle from their own homes helps users narrow down their selections and decreases the time shoppers need to spend test driving multiple cars. RelayCars’ app is powered by EVOX Images. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because EVOX Images isn’t a newcomer in the automotive space. The company has been working in automotive photography, by capturing HD car images for commercial use, for two decades. Its images are used on more than 20,000 dealership websites, which means most people who’ve shopped for a car have seen an image from EVOX. Using EVOX’s VR automotive asset library, RelayCars gives its users a way to place themselves into the driver’s seat of almost any vehicle. The company’s app is platform agnostic, and consumers who don’t have VR headsets can still get the full experience by downloading the app on iOS or Android. Although RelayCars is now used primarily by consumers, Chief Operating Officer Gina Callari says the app was originally designed for EVOX’s enterprise customers. “Once we put RelayCars on the app store for general consumers, we pulled in over 1.2 million downloads,” says Callari. Part of the magic behind RelayCars is its standardization of imagery. The company has a 40,000 square foot space where it shoots its vehicle, all with the same consistent lighting and angles. This means consumers are really able to understand and compare different cars. Although RelayCars is available in both VR and AR, Callari says there has been slower mainstream adoption for headsets, outside of the gaming industry, and because of that, growth has been slower for in app’s VR version. Callari says RelayCars is currently the only automotive app developed for Magic Leap, and the company is continuing to develop for headsets to stay ahead of the curve. On the dealer side, the biggest barrier to adoption for RelayCars has been a lack of actual inventory on dealer lots. A consumer might look through a headset and see different vehicle options and colors than what the local dealership has available to buy that day, and that can sometimes be a problem. In order for RelayCars to continue to expand and grow, the company will need to form more partnerships within the automotive industry. EVOX already provides images to more than 20,000 dealerships, and the company works closely with manufacturers like Kia and Subaru, but Callari says even more partnerships are in the works. “The entire car shopping experience is changing and is already much different than even five years ago … By 2020, millennials will be the largest car buyer demographic, which is why it’s so important that dealers understand their shopping and buying habits,” she says. “Our goal as a company is for RelayCars to become an integral step in the car research process. When someone is looking for a vehicle, and thinking of ways to research that vehicle, we hope they’ll go to sites like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.com for data and editorial, to YouTube for videos, and to RelayCars for the VR/AR visual aspects.” Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight. SOURCE: https://streetfightmag.com/2019/08/30/how-vr-and-ar-are-changing-the-car-buying-experience/