Disruption in the Automotive Industry – Part 1
December 11, 2020
Disruption in the Automotive Industry – Part 2 Disruption in the Automotive Industry – Part 3 The Covid pandemic has changed the way consumers shop for goods and services. When businesses closed to ensure the safety of workers, survival required an alternate sales methodology. The logical solution involved digital sales; the savviest companies already had a prominent internet sales presence, and the online shift created less of a disruption. Auto dealerships, however, thrived on in-person transactions. Seeing and test driving the vehicle were all seemingly essential to the buying process. Yet, closed dealerships needed to thrive and survive, too. Digital sales cruised into the fast lane of the auto industry, because, like the retail sector, dealerships were forced to evolve and embrace the digital sales revolution to stay afloat. The biggest unknown for dealerships, however, was the uncertainty of how consumers would react or respond to the idea of purchasing a vehicle in a digital realm. With no other option than buying online, consumers who needed a new car did adopt this new digital normalcy. As the pandemic continued to disrupt daily life, digital auto sales have seemingly become a new buying standard. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-181.jpeg] THE RISE OF E-COMMERCE AUTO SALES Covid has been a worldwide threat. The pandemic left few countries unaffected, so the pivot to digital sales was a global trend. Many companies likely began to tailor their online sites to meet their customer’s shopping experience demands; digital experiences had to now be extraordinarily competitive to convert browsing to sales. Retail businesses might have benefitted from additional online features that simplified the buying process; stores that offered virtual fitting rooms or ‘try on’ features gave customers a new way to preview products before buying. In many ways, businesses had to adapt their online presence to better mimic an in-person experience. While not all businesses might have revamped their site—or could revamp their site—those who could expand virtual experiences or who already offered such features were likely in a better position than their competitors. Before Covid, most dealership websites offered basic features online. Buyers could see the inventory on the dealership’s lot and maybe preview current sales. Some dealerships might have offered virtual showrooms that allowed customers to see inside the vehicles. During Covid, dealerships were in a position where their online presence needed to be comprehensive and offer similar shopping experiences as an in-person dealership visit. The challenge? Most car shoppers took advantage of test drives to gain a better feel for the car’s mechanics. And buyers were accustomed to being able to open doors, sit in the car and check out all the features. Duplicating these experiences was a challenge but not impossible. Dealerships included virtual showrooms to their sites. These showrooms allowed the dealership to showcase their full inventory. Virtual showrooms often captured the car in 360 degrees. Many virtual experiences allowed shoppers to peek inside the car to view the interior and features. Shoppers could rotate the vehicle, seeing it from all angles. Dealerships that couldn’t offer their own digital showrooms used apps like RelayCars, which offers digital experiences for many makes/models. Shoppers could change the vehicle’s paint hue and even switch out other features. But what about test drives? This part of the car shopping experience was likely the hardest for dealerships to replicate in the digital realm. Some offered videos of test drives, and the shopper was given the vantage point of the driver. Other dealerships or manufacturers offered virtual test drives via mobile devices; these experiences were a bit like a game, with shoppers tilting the device to navigate the car. Dealerships also allowed potential buyers to book a test drive virtually. The car was delivered to the home, and the test drive could be personalized. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-182.jpeg] HITTING BUY! WOULD BUYERS COMPLETE THE TRANSACTION ONLINE? There is a huge difference between a consumer previewing cars online or even test driving a car via a device and completing a large financial transaction online. Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles for the industry was the financial transaction…or, rather, the completion of the transaction. Retail purchases online are nothing new, and these purchases tend to be nominal when compared to purchasing a vehicle. During Covid, dealerships had to bank on a buyer feeling comfortable with applying for financing and completing a five-figure (or more!) transaction online. However, many dealerships made these transactions as easy—and, of course, safe—as possible. Buyers likely had access to customer sales associates or loan officers who could answer questions or concerns either online or via phone. Some buyers also probably shopped around for a loan. Maybe they secured financing at their local bank or credit union. One problem with online financial dealings, according to a report by Deloitte (in the UK) is that “…getting the balance right between ensuring point-of-sale compliance and creating an engaging customer experience has been difficult to achieve.” While online sales and financing helped many dealerships survive, the blunt impact of Covid couldn’t be ignored. In a report, McKinsey noted that sales dropped nearly 50 percent in April. Europe, meanwhile, saw an 80 percent hit. Interestingly, though, McKinsey’s report noted that the majority of younger people preferred buying cars online. Specifically, the report stated that “…less than a third of younger consumers prefer conducting car sales & aftersales in person at a dealership….” This statistic shouldn’t be surprising as younger generations may be more comfortable with the online buying process. Gen Z has never known a time without the internet, and familiarity often brings comfort. The younger generations also likely prefer online to in-person as it removes the sales pressure and allows them to conduct their own research related to purchase decisions. IS ONLINE CAR BUYING HERE TO STAY? While the limitations on businesses related to capacity or other mandates during Covid may continue to push consumers to focus their shopping online, the post-Covid digital sales predictions may be an unknown….especially for car shopping. After Covid, will in-person shopping dominate once again? Or will consumers simply be in the habit of buying everything online? Convenience may be a key factor. Online purchases also may be higher among the younger generations, who are already comfortable with this type of transaction. Digital sales in the automotive sector may be a big question mark. Many consumers like seeing the car in person, they want to test drive the vehicle. They want that physical experience. While a virtual reality platform can come close to duplicating in-person shopping, it can’t fully replicate it. Virtual platforms and showrooms cannot fully incorporate that tactile experience. Buyers can’t feel the upholstery on the seats. They don’t smell the newness of the car online. Colors of paint may appear different because of the screen view. The experience online can come close to the dealership experience, but will ‘close’ be enough for consumers to keep buying online? Statista reported that post-Covid 19, about a third of respondents in the UK would head online for a car purchase. Almost half of those surveyed in China reported the same. The flexibility of online sales is part of its allure. Perhaps the issue of convenience could drive online sales after pandemic. With online buying, consumers can take as much time as they need before a purchase, whether that purchase is a lipstick hue, a shirt, or a car. Sales pressure, again, is nonexistent. When a buyer is online, it’s easy to ignore that pesky little digital customer service rep that pops onto the screen. Just click the ‘x,’ and you’re back in control. But if you need assistance, that screen—that assistant—is accessible on demand. Buyers also don’t have to drive from dealership to dealership to hunt down the best deals. Researching prices and financing requires a mere click to access another dealership site. Consumers don’t have to carve out an entire Saturday to hunt for a car. They can browse, at their leisure, over the course of a few days, a few weeks, or maybe a couple of months. CNBC’s story on digital sales in the auto industry quoted stats from Group 1 Automotive, which has groups of dealerships across the country. The company’s director of retail strategy told CNBC that, in April, “online-generated sales” tripled. While experts can only speculate what will happen with online car sales in the future after Covid, right now, many dealerships may be faced with a situation that was all too familiar in the spring of 2020. In some parts of the world, lockdowns are happening yet again. In the U.S., Covid is surging, and states and cities are reacting with various restrictions. Of course, the holidays also are around the corner. Digital sales across industries may be surging, too, as consumers flock online to purchase presents for friends and loved ones. Those in the market for a new car may take the opportunity to check out dealership offers and peruse inventory. Dealerships may be positioning their online presence to be more competitive in an online-buying world. The future may be digital. Covid and the restrictions that are set to keep the public safe may change buying forever…and online sales may hold the keys to the ignition of dealership’s survival. Then again, the old ways could creep in. Older generations who are used to shopping in the dealership may continue to shop in-person. The younger generations, though, could pivot to online experiences. The future of auto sales may be an interesting hybrid of in-person and online interactions and transactions. Of course, no one will know for sure until the pandemic clears and a new normal emerges yet again.
The Ghost Pacer is the Augmented Reality Running Partner You Need to Outrun the Competition
December 9, 2020
Running with a partner doesn’t just make the run a bit less monotonous, but that sidekick also can push a training runner to step up their pace and help them hit personal fitness goals. Some runners, though, may prefer running solo while still wanting that push for accountability and competition that a partner provides. For these runners—those who pound the pavement solo—a virtual competitor may help them step up their pace and push them to their full potential. The Ghost Pacer, an augmented reality holographic running partner, is a latest development in augmented reality/virtual reality technology that may help athletes outrun their competition. GHOST PACER: RUNNING WITH A GHOST PARTNER Ghost Pacer is a “mixed reality” hologram that runs against users, but this holographic image doesn’t just pop up alongside runners. To activate the Ghost Pacer, users wear glasses that are designed to mix the real with the virtual world—in this case a virtual competitor. Runners can see and visualize all their natural surroundings, but they also see a three-dimensional hologram of a competing runner as they train. The image is a bit futuristic, but very detailed. According to the company’s website, Ghost Pacer features “30 degree AR field of view” with a holographic resolution of nearly 4,000 pixels per inch. The glasses also are noted—per the company—to be “three-times lighter than a pair of Beats headphones.” The tech isn’t going to weigh down a runner! CONTROLLING THE COMPETITION For runners who are pushing to beat their time, creating an individualized training protocol is important. Every runner has a different goal, and there are many individualized aspects that the runner must consider to meet their goals. Endurance, experience and any physical limitations may be part of the goal setting approach. Beginning runners may simply want to hit a mile goal, with no focus on how long it takes them to get there. More experienced runners may zero in on beating a specific time. Ghost Pacer is designed to meet the individualized needs and goals of each individual. Runners can program Ghost Pacer to be ahead of them, at a set speed or even push the virtual competitor to be a tougher competitor; the company’s site states that users can make the avatar more competitive with each run. Ghost Racer also includes data from Strava so runners can find recommended routes for their run. RACE YOUR FRIENDS While Ghost Pacer creates an image of a competitor, runners also can challenge their friends via the device. How does this work? According to the company, users can use their friends’ Strava data and incorporate it via their own run. If a friend ran a specific route in 20 minutes, a user can set this as the baseline for their own race. The holographic runner would then run the pace of their friend. This creates an interesting competitive setup. If an individual raced against a friend who set a difficult goal for a route, the user could use this to help them meet, exceed or just come close to this tough baseline. For runners who may lack the experience of their friends, the technology also removes the not-so-fun issues of running with a faster and more experienced friend; there is no pressure for the better runner to slow down to keep the pace of their friend, and, for the less experienced runner, the fear of not being able to keep up becomes less of an issue. The race, then, becomes all about pushing personal goals and trying to maximize individual speed and endurance. HEART & HEALTH Running boosts the heart rate; pounding the pavement gets the blood flowing and is serious aerobic exercise. Runners with access to a smartphone can download the Ghost Pacer app via their phone to help determine the best run, as the tech “analyzes your workout history to build customized workouts for you.” What isn’t clear about Ghost Pacer, though, is if it also keys into health data from an iPhone or other device. Since running is a serious workout, not only would heart rate analysis be crucial (in fairness, the app does seem to track this) but more specific data like calories consumed/burned or other individualized health parameters could also be helpful in providing runners with better tailored workouts. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-179.jpeg] THE FUTURE OF RUNNING? Is Ghost Pacer’s tech the future of running? Many runners team up with friends, colleagues or other runners to increase their stamina, improve their time and, ultimately, give them some visual accountability during their run. The technology from Ghost Pacer now can provide all runners with a partner to help maximize their competitive edge. This type of technology could be utilized in the future as a training tool in school athletic programs or maybe even professional athletic programs. With a holographic competitor pushing the individual, teams could see increases in speed and endurance. In the time of social distancing, a technology like the virtual hologram also could keep athletes safer while still pushing them to hit their personal goals. BEHIND THE GLASSES The high-tech offerings of Ghost Pacer could be the future of athletic training, but one of the most interesting takeaways of the technology is what lies behind the glasses…or, rather, who is behind the glasses. Ghost Pacer wasn’t designed by some twenty-something athletic trainer with ties to Silicon Valley. The glasses—the technology—were developed by two high school students from Lakeside High School. Lakeside might be a hidden pool of tech talent, though, as Gadget Gram pointed out that Bill Gates also was a grad. Ghost Pacer’s CEO—high schooler AbdurRahman Bhatti—also happened to be a cross-country runner, which likely fueled the development of the tech. The high school duo of AR Bhatti and Jensen Turner (who is the CTO) pulled in fellow students in designing the glasses, and, of course, also consulted with tech and fitness experts. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-180.jpeg] BEYOND AUGMENTED REALITY: HOW GHOST PACER MAY SET THE PACE Ghost Pacer is a perfect example of how augmented reality can help challenge our physical reality. While this technology sets a virtual runner into the natural world, the future could create a more dynamic competitive reality. Many runners are limited by their surroundings. A runner in the Midwest isn’t going to run past palm trees or run on a beach—these landscapes simply don’t exist in the middle of the U.S. However, future tech offerings may provide even more options for those who wish for a more dynamic route. In the future, glasses could place runners in a virtual world of their choosing. Someone in the Midwest could run along the beach, through trails in a jungle or maybe in the Serengeti. Runners could choose their own scenic pathways and enjoy parts of the world that might never have been known to them. Perhaps the race includes challenges to outrun Olympians or professional athletes. This would allow even high school competitors to feel the thrill of racing against the best, and in pushing these boundaries, also work to improve their own abilities. Future tech also may utilize the basis of Ghost Pacer in other sports. Imagine swimming goggles that project a competitor in the next lane. Or hockey players practicing against a virtual goalie. Virtual and augmented reality could enable athletes to train in unique ways and improve their abilities without the physical presence of another competitor. In a world dramatically changed by Covid, there may be a greater acceptance in the future related to virtual interaction. For so many individuals, the virtual has become integrated into our social norm. While face-to-face interaction may be the human preference, the virtual pull has become much more accepted. And, in many ways, could be the preference in many aspects of daily necessity—like online shopping. The shift to augmented and virtual reality may have happened whether we like it or not. This technology has simplified many of our most mundane habits; we now have apps that allow us to virtually preview new hairstyles and makeup. We have virtual assistants on our phones that can send texts and, with the Internet of Things, control the gadgets in our home. Now we can have virtual companions that help us train. Technology is always one step ahead of us. With Ghost Pacer, technology can outpace us or run beside us. Regardless of the programs we choose, the gadgets we use, our reliance on technology only becomes stronger, and while these virtual aids were once perceived as novelties, they are very quickly evolving into daily necessities. Ghost Pacer is the latest in new technological innovations, but it also could be a turning point. Goggles that project virtual competitors may give way to more complex holographic images. Who knows, we could cook beside professional chefs in our kitchen. Or receive soothing words of comfort from virtual wellness holograms. The creation of the virtual companion—the virtual competition—paves the way for a road of virtual and augmented reality that could transform every aspect of our lives…one step at a time.
How Fiat Chrysler is using Augmentative & Virtual Reality
December 7, 2020
Using augmentative and virtual reality is now integral to a major automaker’s success. These new and innovative technologies are being embraced and being used in many aspects of the industry. The auto industry has changed vastly since its conception. Buyers no longer look to vehicles to get to experiences but instead look for vehicles that provide an encompassing experience during the drive. Augmentative and virtual reality was once all about creating virtual worlds that seemed to be exclusive to industries such as gaming. However, today, gaming is not the only one seeing a wide range of potential for this technology. As argumentative and virtual reality continues to advance, industries that have incorporated the technology into their processes have shaped the way augmentative and virtual reality are being utilized. The auto industry has completely embraced using augmentative and virtual reality in various sectors. Major automakers such as Ford and BMW are using augmentative and virtual reality to streamline and expand many of their processes from designing and manufacturing vehicles to sales. Fiat Chrysler in particular is focusing their augmentative and virtual reality uses towards the designing and creation of their vehicles as well as introducing a much more immersive and engaging buying experience for their customers. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-176.jpeg] CREATING EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE WORKING ENVIRONMENTS Fiat Chrysler is using augmentative and virtual reality from the very beginning of their automobile process. This means not just integrating the technology into the process of creating a vehicle itself, but also using it to design its factories and plants. At the Fiat Chrysler facility in Turin, Italy, the ImMErsive Technology room is a highly-evolved virtual laboratory that has become a truly innovative haven for designing and testing new manufacturing and product development processes. This has been able to bring about a streamlined manufacturing process, reduced costs, and increases in quality and safety. Engineering and manufacturing leads can interact and manipulate a virtual version of a plant and manipulate the layout and functionality of the various work settings within the plant. This added layer of control helps to make manufacturing for Fiat even quicker and allows various teams to collaborate with one another. Teamwork and collaborative creating is a key benefit to using augmentative and virtual reality for the Fiat Chrysler teams that are working in the ImMErsive Technology room. Sessions can take place using two different systems. Using tools such as virtual reality headsets and controllers, workers can be paired together to work on the layout of a factory and virtually move around equipment as well as take measurements of the layout. Another way workers can collaborate is through the “Power Wall” which is a six-meter-wide screen that pairs with stereo glasses and a controller that allows workers and teams to collaborate and discuss plant or factory layouts, issues, design modifications, enhancements, etc. Teams can connect remotely using this technology to create a truly immersive virtual meeting that brings a more hands-on and collaborative experience. Often communication between teams can take up a big chunk of the design process. As one team makes modifications, the other has changes that will need to also be implemented. Instead of creating a neverending back and forth, this technology helps teams to collaborate in real-time on a model which helps to create a quicker line of communication and a clearer form of context. The ImMErsive Technology room is especially useful for software engineers who can use it to program and simulate robotics before actually utilizing them in plants. Fine-tuning the systems and software needed in development and production is often one of the most expensive and intensive parts of the automotive development and manufacturing process. Allowing software engineers to test out and work on these robotics using augmented and virtual reality can allow for a cheaper and more efficient process. The use of augmented and virtual reality in the ImMErsive Technology room has helped Fiat Chrysler to significantly cut costs and create a more effective and efficient manufacturing process without sacrificing their high-quality standards. By using augmentative and virtual reality to help design the actual manufacturing process, Fiat is among the first to use such advanced technology in such a way. While many other major automakers are integrating augmentative and virtual reality in areas after production, such as with repair technicians or dealerships, Fiat has focused on implementing the technology at an often overlooked but pivotal area in manufacturing automobiles, the plants themselves. In using this technology at the primary level, Fiat has been able to create a production line that detects issues earlier on and is able to fix them before a vehicle is even sent into production. This has cut down costs in manufacturing and has elevated their standards of quality as well as overall safety. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-177.jpeg] CREATING EXPERIENCES FOR BUYERS Along with innovation at the manufacturing level, Fiat Chrysler is bringing new forms of augmentative and virtual reality to their dealerships and showrooms. Bringing the immersive experience of purchasing a vehicle to their buyers in a much more hands-on approach. Roadshows are often the primary way consumers and the market, in general, can view upcoming vehicles and models. Roadshows are often a way to showcase new and innovative tech that major automakers are adopting in order to one-up their competition. Fiat Chrysler drummed up interest in its new vehicle in 2014 by creating an immersive experience for their audiences. In order to attract and mesmerize viewers, Fiat created a driving sequence that goes above and beyond the rest. Featuring the magician Dynamo, the film integrated virtual reality headsets that allowed viewers to feel as if they are sitting in the car as Dynamo controls the ride. This gives the viewer a feel for what it might be like to actually sit in the vehicle. Fiat also made the film available to view on phones using Google’s mobile virtual reality service, Cardboard. This marketing strategy helped to build excitement and interest around the 500X which was released at the time. The experience since then has become a staple at roadshows and many other major automakers now incorporate a similar experience to their roadshow displays. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-178.jpeg] CREATING CUSTOM VEHICLES VIRTUALLY Fiat Chrysler has introduced a new way to shop for vehicles. Built by tech company Accenture Digital using Google’s Project Tango, Fiat Chrysler is introducing a more customizable and interactive shopping experience for consumers. “It’s the future of the dealership,” said Matteo Albberti, digital innovation lead for Accenture Interactive, in an interview with cNet, “We can give the perfect experience to the customer.” The future of dealerships will eventually rely heavily on [virtual showrooms] that buyers can access from the comfort of their homes. Startup companies like RelayCars are banking on the trend that more and more consumers are buying online and the shift to buying cars online will be inevitable. Consumers are also looking for ways to get more customization for their vehicles and a great way to see this before purchasing is by using a virtual showroom or apps that are using augmentative and virtual reality to project a model of a vehicle that can be modified. Many major automakers are already using virtual showrooms to allow greater access for their potential buyers to view vehicles that are available for purchase. However, Fiat Chrysler takes it one step further with their new augmented reality shopping experience. Using the Project Tango based device, shoppers are able to view a full-scale Fiat 500 on the screen as if the vehicle is right in front of them. The device uses motion and location sensors to help users view the car at different angles. The device even allows for users to “ go into” a car to view the interior of the vehicle with highly detailed 3D images. The experience becomes multi-sensory as users are even able to tap on the radio to play music and honk the horn. Users can also modify and customize their vehicle on the program, both the interior and exterior. This gives consumers so many more options than ever before and allows them to view versions that might not even be available at the dealership. In fact, most major automakers are using these advanced technologies in various ways. However, few seem to be taking the approach that Fiat Chrysler is with the technology. Most automakers are seemingly using augmentative and virtual reality in very similar ways to the point that its usage is almost cliched in the field. Fiat Chrysler has decided to use these innovative forms of technology not just to be a top player in the game, but to use it to create meaningful and creative connections and solutions for their workers and consumers.
Five Ways Technology Is Transforming How The Real Estate Industry Works
December 4, 2020
According to the National Association of Realtors®, there are currently over two million licensed real estate agents in the United States. Realtors® are responsible for representing buyers and sellers and guiding them through the process of completing a real estate transaction. They can assist buyers and sellers with everything from touring homes and making offers to scheduling inspections and finalizing contracts. Even though Realtors® have been around for over 100 years, the real estate industry has drastically changed throughout the decades. One of the main driving forces of change within the real estate industry is technology. In fact, new technologies could lead to a complete transformation of how the real estate works. Here are five ways that technology is altering the real estate industry: [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-173.jpeg] VIRTUAL HOME TOURS It’s very rare for a buyer to fall in love with the first home that they see in person. In fact, the average homebuyer will tour about 10 different homes before finding the right one. This means scheduling 10 different listing appointments, traveling to 10 different properties, and touring 10 different homes. This can take up a significant amount of time for buyers and their real estate agents. It’s even more challenging for out-of-town buyers who have to travel a long distance to see a listing in person. But luckily, there is a more convenient and faster way to check out listings thanks to technology. Many real estate agents now use virtual reality technology to provide their clients with virtual tours of listings. Using this technology, prospective buyers can tour every inch of a property without ever leaving the comfort of their own home. The tours are incredibly detailed and lifelike, so buyers will feel like they’re actually walking through the home. During the tour, buyers can even view rooms from multiple angles or get the exact dimensions of a space. Virtual home tours give buyers the opportunity to see more homes than they normally would see in person. They are free to explore as many homes as they would like until they find one that meets their family’s unique needs. Buyers can also explore these homes on their own time, so there’s no longer a need to schedule a tour with a real estate agent. Essentially, a virtual tour is like hosting an open house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Virtual tours also make the process of finding a new home easier on buyers who don’t live in the area. This technology allows these buyers to find the home of their dreams from thousands of miles away. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-174.jpeg] AUGMENTED REALITY STAGED HOMES Many people move out of their homes before putting them on the market, which means real estate agents are tasked with the job of selling a vacant home to buyers. But buyers often have a hard time visualizing what furniture will look like in a vacant home, which is why these homes are often harder for real estate agents to sell. In the past, the only way to overcome this challenge was to invest in furniture staging, which can cost a real estate agent thousands of dollars. But real estate agents now have a far less expensive and more convenient option: augmented reality staging. Augmented reality is a type of technology that projects digital images onto a real world environment. In the real estate world, this technology is often used to project digital images of furniture onto various rooms of a vacant home. Augmented reality technology allows real estate agents to digitally stage vacant homes using digital images of a wide range of furniture. This way, buyers no longer need to make an effort to visualize how the home will look with furniture. This technology makes vacant homes more appealing to buyers and easier for real estate agents to sell. There are a number of tools that real estate agents can use to digitally stage listings. Some tools will only work with vacant homes, whereas others can be used to digitally replace unattractive furniture in listing photos. There are even tools that connect real estate agents with professional designers who will help them choose the right digital furniture to add to a room. PERSONALIZED SEARCHES FOR HOMEBUYERS Technology has completely changed the way that buyers search for homes. Buyers used to initiate the search for a new home by contacting a Realtor® for help. But now, the vast majority of buyers start the process by looking for properties online. This means that real estate agents may or may not play an important role in helping buyers find the home of their dreams. Instead, real estate agents may not even be contacted until a prospective buyer has found a home that they are interested in seeing in person. Artificial intelligence technology has also made it easier for buyers to quickly find homes that meet their unique needs. Artificial intelligence, or AI, is technology that allows machines to think like humans and emulate their actions. This type of technology is used to power algorithms utilized on real estate websites and mobile apps. AI-based algorithms are used to predict human behavior and customize the user experience on real estate websites and mobile apps. Real estate websites and apps use these algorithms to personalize search results for prospective buyers. In other words, this technology is used to ensure that buyers only see listings that they would be interested in when searching on a real estate website or app. The algorithm analyzes the buyer’s past behavior to determine the most relevant listings. This technology makes it easier than ever before for buyers to find their dream home without the help of a real estate agent. If the algorithm works the way it is intended to, buyers won’t need to browse through hundreds of different listings to find the perfect home. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-175.jpeg] REMOTE CLOSINGS A real estate transaction is not complete until it has closed. At a closing, the buyers and sellers sign paperwork that officially transfers ownership of the property. In the past, the parties that were involved in the real estate transaction had to meet in-person to complete this part of the process. But thanks to technology, many title companies now offer clients the option to close on a property remotely. The term “cloud computing” refers to the storage and delivery of data over the internet. A number of industries have relied heavily on cloud computing over the years. Now, the real estate industry is finally starting to utilize this technology to simplify the closing process for buyers and sellers. Cloud computing allows buyers and sellers to complete closing tasks remotely. This way, they can complete these tasks whenever it is most convenient for them. There’s no need to go through the hassle of working with the other parties to schedule a closing time or spend hours signing paperwork in a title agent’s office. Taking this process online benefits Realtors®, too. Real estate agents no longer need to spend huge chunks of their days at closing appointments. As a result, they will have more time to focus on generating new leads and helping other clients. This technology is also useful for record retention. Real estate agents are legally required to retain closing paperwork for a certain number of years. But few agents have enough space to store physical copies of these records. Fortunately, that’s not an issue anymore since agents can store paperwork on the cloud instead of in their filing cabinet. SMART HOMES Smart home technology refers to home devices that connect with one another via a shared network and offer some degree of automation or remote control. For example, homeowners with smart lighting systems can adjust the brightness of their lights or turn the lights off and on from an app on their smartphone or tablet. Homeowners with smart locks on their front door can remotely give a dog walker or house cleaner access to their home without having to hand out copies of their keys. These are just two examples of the many different smart devices that are used in homes today. The emergence of smart technology has impacted the real estate industry. Because smart technology makes daily life at home easier and more convenient, a growing number of buyers are looking for homes that are built with smart devices. Realtors® must understand the basics of smart home technology so they are capable of talking to buyers and sellers about it when listing or showing a home. They must also understand the impact that smart technology can have on a home that is for sale. In general, being equipped with smart technology will not drastically increase the value of a home. But smart homes tend to hold value longer and sell faster than homes that are not equipped with this technology. Realtors® can use this information when advising buyers who are looking for smart homes and sellers who are listing smart homes. Technology has already started to reshape the real estate industry. So far, technology has made it even easier for buyers and sellers to complete real estate transactions. As the industry continues to embrace new technologies, it’s safe to say that the way real estate works will keep evolving over time.
11 Amazing Uses of Augmented Reality in the Classroom
December 2, 2020
One of the biggest challenges for any teacher is to keep classes updated and interesting. Children learn better when they are interested and fully focused on what is being taught. Teachers use a range of activities and approaches to try and make classes relatable and fun. However, new technology is now helping to bring classes to life in an ‘almost’ real way. Virtual reality and augmented reality can create shared experiences that are truly impressive. With augmented reality or virtual reality, teachers can show students things connected with their studies. This can range from a famous battle being recreated, to how microscopic particles work. Augmented reality is often great for training as it adds elements to the real world. The entire class can still see each other and the teacher, but they can also see and interact with virtual elements that are added to the real world to create a shared augmented experience. This is not to say that these devices are to replace teachers, but that they complement classes by modernizing learning and providing interactive and visual elements that would normally not be possible. Augmented reality can bring situations to life and give a different perspective to almost any subject taught in schools. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-168.jpeg] HOW AUGMENTED REALITY CAN BENEFIT THE CLASSROOM Augmented reality can change and improve the learning experience. It is a diverse tool that can be used in numerous ways. Here we look at some of the ways it can be added to education to bring learning to life and make it more interesting, if not exciting. * Engagement is one of the main benefits of augmented reality experiences. Many students can zone out (or even fall asleep) during traditional board work and bookwork. Whereas with augmented experiences things become real and modern. The interactivity of elements with mixed reality is taking things even further. Even history can become a modern and exciting experience via augmented representations. Many exercise apps can be used in physical education, turning normal gym experiences into jungle adventures or futuristic battles. * Explain concepts that many students would find challenging or simply not be able to understand. As augmented reality can render objects to appear real in the world around us, it can help to show students how a concept works. From maths to complex science, augmented reality can greatly assist learners, especially those who are visual learners. * Skill training is a particularly strong point of augmented reality apps. Many companies are already using augmented and virtual reality apps and goggles to get employees trained up with the skills they need and to provide them with virtual on the job experience before they begin to work on live projects. These systems can provide real ‘hands-on’ experience using both hands and virtual tools to interact with augmented or virtual elements. Almost anything is possible, from product design to learning complex processes of engine assembly. * Learning through doing is often considered the best way to learn something and remember it long term. While this might not apply to all subjects, many can be adapted to this augmented training approach. Students can learn through trying dangerous scientific experiments in virtual worlds, trying ancient machinery in the classroom, or even attempting surgery on virtual humans. * Add additional information and experiences that complement existing causes. Seeing a 3D model of something explained in a textbook can help students truly see how things work and why they are that way. It can show concepts such as evolution or the internal workings of machinery. The added ‘snippets’ can deepen understanding in almost all subjects. All of the above comes together to create learning experiences that are memorable and play to various learning approaches. It can help to involve the entire class and share moments that will be discussed after classes. Sparking interest and creating memorable learning experiences should be the aim of every teacher and augmented reality is making that easier. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-169.jpeg] OUR TOP AUGMENTED REALITY APPS FOR THE CLASSROOM Here we have tried to include a good mix to cover a range of typical school subjects. For teachers considering using these in the classroom, please check age ratings and content. Although most will be available in the normal Google or Apple app stores, the content may not be appropriate for all ages. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-170.jpeg] 1. AugThat – Is an educational app developed by an educator. It provides numerous augmented reality experiences of a huge range of topics. This is a good all-around app for making learning fun and interesting. 2. Math Alive – This is more for younger kids, but can help to bring a dynamic element to mathematics. It uses specially printed cards to trigger experiences, such as counting games and activities. There is no need for glasses, as this can work perfectly well on a mobile device. The package also includes a large number of materials that complement the kindergarten curriculum. 3. 3DBear – An app about 3D creation. Teachers can assign lessons through a control dashboard area and get their students to complete a range of tasks. The ap is creative and allows users to create scenes from the library of virtual objects. It can also scan objects or import objects into the app library. This app also comes with a range of lessons that are ready to go, making it easy for teachers to use as an additional educational tool. 4. HistoryView VR – This app allows students to explore historical places in virtual reality. While not an augmented reality app, it deserved a mention, as it is free and can help students to experience some amazing and interesting locations. It could work well as homework, where students can use any mobile device to experience famous museums, national parks, locations of historical events, and all sorts of other significant landmarks. Every tour is also loaded with interactive information to teach learners more about the place. 5. Catchy Words AR – This app is designed to be mainly used with young learners of the ‘elementary school’ age group. It is a free word game that combines learning vocabulary with actions. The idea is that students have to work out the word and to do that they have to run/walk around and catch the letters to solve the puzzles. It is a clever combination of exercise, spelling practice, and thought development. 6. Metaverse has a website where learners can create augmented reality experiences as well as play with a range of objects including background effects and characters. They can create entire scenes or movies by adding sound effects, speech bubbles, voice, text, and more. The system comes with full training and, while it may take some time to pick up, the training itself is a learning experience for students. The finished ‘creations’ can then be experienced by friends and other students via the app and scanning a QR code. 7. JigSpace – this app offers a shared knowledge library and the ability to develop prototypes, experiments, and demonstrations in an augmented environment. A “Jig” is a 3D demonstration of a topic or item that’s available in either augmented reality or virtual reality. It allows students to see and learn, such as exploring how inventions work or seeing a scaled version of the solar system. 8. Augment Education – This app is intended more for highschool students. It teaches students how to create an augmented reality presentation. Not only is this a useful skill as augmented reality training continues to expand, but it can also help to make any topic more interesting to all students. Users can also make virtual models of things to bring more learning experiences to the classroom. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-171.jpeg] 9. SkyMap – this is Google’s creation, the Google Sky Map and it is designed specifically for use in classrooms. The app allows students to explore and learn about our solar system, planets, and stars. It is fully responsive and interactive, which only adds to the experience and drawing in students to explore. When students point a mobile device at an area of the sky, the app can show the stars and planets of that part of space. The app also highlights interesting locations and has built-in challenges that are designed to further encourage students to learn through exploration. 10. Popar Toys – this app brings a range of posters, puzzles, board games, and books to life with augmented reality. It makes what would nowadays seem like a boring 2D experience jump to life with augmented reality. It helps to increase engagement and knowledge retention, while also adding a range of fun experiences to learning. 11. Story Spheres – has a website and virtual reality app to assist with creating and showing off digital stories. While virtual and not augmented, it is worth a mention as it brings 360-degree images to life by allowing users to add sounds or narrative. This can be used for projects for students or for teachers to explain and enhance the digital renderings of scenes and places. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-172.jpeg] The above list is in no particular order. All of the apps listed are great for the classroom, but there are certainly many more out there. One great aspect of augmented reality apps for the classroom is often the pricing. As these are for education, many are developed and provided free of charge for teachers and educated by larger companies, other educators, or kind-hearted developers. Google, Bing, and other major players are also developing huge ranges of educational augmented reality apps, most of which are free and available for all educators to take advantage of. Using this technology can transform boring topics into interactive fun learning experiences.
How Hyundai is Using Augmentative & Virtual Reality
November 30, 2020
In collaboration with Swiss-based augmented-reality brand WayRay, Hyundai is one of the leading auto manufacturers that is adding AR/VR tech into their merchandise. Augmented reality is giving drivers a safe way to access in-car features like navigation, Google search, and entertainment apps. Read on to see how Hyundai is using augmentative and virtual reality to drive innovation across the automobile marketplace. CONSUMER EDUCATION This might not seem like a critical component of car retail, but it’s a huge part of the car-buying process for virtually every consumer. Enhancing consumer education is proven to be effective for streamlining the purchase process every step of the way. By using augmentative reality apps, consumers can get a deeper understanding of new and used cars by working with an interactive image or video of the product. Users can view an image of a car online, and tap different parts of the photo to read more about key features and information pertaining to the product. The research phase makes up the majority of the car-buying process for most consumers. By having all the information they could need about their prospective purchase in one digital location, buyers can spend less time on the lot (or on the phone) with a Hyundai representative. Overall, enhancing consumer education is a creative way for both sides of the transaction to save time and money throughout the entire process. Plus, having more preliminary data regarding any purchase is proven to boost customer satisfaction – and reduce the chances of buyer’s remorse. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-164.jpeg] PROTOTYPE AND DEMO DEVELOPMENT While Hyundai hasn’t confirmed or denied exactly which future models will have this technology, their newest prototype shows promising results for the auto brand. But, using AR/VR in auto manufacturing is already changing the research and development process in a big way. In fact, the revolutionary technology is helping Hyundai to credit new prototypes and models in the first place. This cost-saving method has allowed the auto brand to continue operating under social distancing measuresduring the pandemic. Rather than being limited by space and physical resources, Hyundai uses VR headsets to give multiple users access to the same digital development situations. This means that up to 20 different team members can collaborate in the same digital environment, using the headsets 36 motion tracking sensors and secure online connectivity. Using these digital systems to create product demos and prototype models can save auto brand millions in just one step. In recent testing, Hyundai has been able to reduce development times by up to 20%, and annual development costs by 15%. This has made the manufacturing and sales processes cheaper and more efficient across the board. But, augmented and virtual reality systems are expected to permeate the mainstream market for drivers as well. Read on to learn how Hyundai is using this technology to enhance the in-car experience. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-165.jpeg] TESTING AND INNOVATION The testing process is critical for ensuring customer safety and satisfaction. Traditionally, this phase has been completed with actual working prototypes in a custom-built driving track. Technicians also use dummies and physical objects to measure the critical components that can determine the safety rating and performance of each vehicle. Since VR exists in a fully digital environment, this method can help technicians secure a 100% accuracy rate. Demos and test models aren’t subjected to any unpredictable environmental factors, and users have the option to repeat tests as needed without increasing the operational costs. Additionally, using digital test routes allows auto brands to test their vehicles in a variety of scenarios and terrains without increasing overhead. Test vehicles can perform on a mountaintop track, or through the desert to build an accurate simulation for each model. Improved testing measures and the availability of unlimited testing trials has been proven to streamline data management and reporting. This has bled into Hyundai’s trajectory toward developing autonomous vehicles and other cutting-edge systems. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-166.jpeg] SAFER DRIVING Augmented and virtual reality technology is making the manufacturing process easier and more secure for technicians, but it’s also drastically improving safety measures for new buyers. By removing the need to use handheld devices for common functions like navigation and traffic alerts, augmented reality in cars is making the road safer for drivers and passersby. From the time they leave the driveway to when they return back home, drivers can access information via strategic projections onto the dashboard and windshield. Keeping all of this information in the driver’s natural view can significantly improve their response and reaction time if an unexpected obstruction or pedestrians appears in the road. Projecting these details onto the driver’s direct line of sight is proven to be safer than using mobile apps through phones or other handheld devices. Even Bluetooth-connected devices require some attention from the road to operate while driving. COMPETITIVE MARKET ANALYSIS The AR startup has worked with other auto brands in the past, but they’ve been coursing through the digital landscape with Hyundai to become an even more influential player in the consumer vehicle market. Hyundai has been utilizing augmented reality technology since 2015, but WayRay is helping them cross over to a new dimension of driving safety and simplicity. Augmented and virtual reality systems are also being used by the auto manufacturer on the business side. This has made the purchasing experience faster, easier, and cheaper for buyers and authorized dealers. Hyundai has production and sales centers around the world, throughout Europe, China, and India as well as the U.S. Using VR headsets to boost inter-team communication has given representatives from any corporate office the ability to collaborate fluidly. Using AR-enabled shopping apps, users are able to find key information about any vehicle with the tap of their finger. Buyers can also use a virtual reality headset to perform a digital test drive that can mimic any type of landscape or terrain. Augmented and virtual reality accessories are the new equalizer in the mass automobile e-commerce market. These tools are setting apart industry leaders from those who will be left behind if they don’t jump on this fast-moving bandwagon. HOLOGRAPHIC PROJECTIONS AND IMPROVED GRAPHICS New Hyundai models might soon all include holographic navigation instead of traditional GPS systems. This new innovative development is another major factor that can change the driving experience as we know it. Previously, augmented reality apps used reflected LCD images to project a display onto the windshield. This method produces a lower level of visibility compared to holographic AR displays. By using holographic technology and dynamic AR sensors, WayRay’s updated system can create a digitally enhanced world that adapts to your practical surroundings, in real-time. Additionally, this makes it possible for Hyundai’s proprietary AR builds to incorporate advanced driver assistance systems. Standard ADAS features include: * Lane departure warnings * Forward collision warnings * Roadwork alerts * Weather updates Augmented reality is becoming more realistic than ever, and developers are striving to seamlessly blend both worlds. Hyundai is at the forefront of this movement, and this update has the potential to save lives on the road. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-167.jpeg] IMPROVEMENTS FOR FUTURE VEHICLES After collecting more than $50 million in donations from investors like General Motors Ventures, WayRay has developed revolutionary augmented reality technology to use in future Hyundai models. Most manufacturers in the auto market have been working on improving blindspot technology for years, but augmentative and virtual reality tools take that idea to the next level. These digital projections give drivers a sixth sense to protect them against: * Obstacles in the road * Upcoming construction * Rogue objects or pedestrians * Cyclists and smaller vehicles * Weather and acts of God Safety is the primary driver for automobile innovation, and it’s not surprising why. Vehicle collisions affect more than six million people every year. Augmented reality technology has the potential to reduce this number significantly, and can prevent road-based casualties over time. This tech startup has the potential to completely change the way drivers and passengers interact with the road and their vehicle, by simply creating images that appear to be right in front of the car. PLANS FOR MASS PRODUCTION Although Hyundai isn’t using driver-based AR/VR in current models, they plan on unveiling this in-vehicle system by 2025. Specifically, they’re expecting to incorporate a digital heads-up display (HUD) in all vehicles that reached their consumer base. Just like digital navigation systems are boilerplate in most new cars, AR-based HUD features are sure to become a staple in the future marketplace. Dynamic holography is a primary driver for this brand-shifting program. This element will be built into upcoming models using two main avenues: geometrical optics and digital holography. Furthermore, these practical applications eliminate the need for Hyundai to include external equipment for consumer use. These dynamic projection methods are freestanding and will be built into the car’s interface. Virtual reality and augmented reality systems have been taking over the gaming sphere, but this technology is becoming a mainstay in the auto industry. Hyundai is continuing to develop tools and features using AR/VR innovation to make the manufacturing process cheaper, save time along the supply chain, and improve vehicle safety for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. These are just a few explanations for how Hyundai is using augmentative and virtual reality to thrive in the current marketplace.
Turning Massive Challenges Into Meaningful Change
November 29, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented economic hardship and concern for consumers around the world. Nearly every industry has been negatively impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic, including the automotive industry. Automotive manufacturers faced a number of unique challenges as a result of the pandemic. Production slowdowns, decline in consumer demand, and local lockdown or stay-at-home orders caused significant disruptions in operations for most automotive manufacturers. The pandemic is still raging, so it’s too soon to measure the full impact that COVID-19 had on the automotive industry. However, Cox Automotive recently released a comprehensive mid-year review report that provides some insight as to how the automotive industry is faring in the face of this year’s unique challenges. Here are some key findings from this report: ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN THE U.S. The report provides a snapshot of the economic conditions in the U.S. that reveals the extent of the devastation caused by COVID-19. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-12.png] Experts typically assess the state of the economy by measuring the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, which is the value of all goods and services produced in the country during a specific timeframe. The GDP dropped by nearly 40% in the second quarter of 2020, which indicates that the economy suffered substantial losses due to the pandemic. The unemployment rate also increased to 13.3% during this timeframe. This is primarily due to. lockdowns and stay-at-home orders related to the coronavirus pandemic. A drastic drop in GDP combined with a rising unemployment rate has left consumers worried about the economic future. Between May 2019 and May 2020, buyer confidence dropped roughly 28 points. The higher this score, the more likely consumers are to spend money and stimulate the economy. So if consumer confidence is dropping, this could hurt the economy even further. CONSUMERS DELAYING VEHICLE PURCHASES The report revealed that consumers who want or need a new vehicle are in no hurry to make a purchase or sign a lease. In fact, over one-third of these consumers are putting off purchasing or leasing a vehicle. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-13.png] There are several different reasons why consumers are choosing to delay purchasing or leasing a vehicle. Some cite the general uncertainty in the market right now, whereas others are specifically concerned about unemployment and their own job stability. Consumers also cited the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 as a reason for delaying vehicle purchases and leases. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-14.png] Automotive companies shouldn’t expect these consumers to change their minds overnight. In June, 41% of these consumers predicted that they would delay purchasing or leasing a vehicle for up to two months. Another 43% predicted that the delay would last between three to six months. This means automotive companies should not expect consumers to return to their pre-pandemic purchasing habits right away. CONSUMERS DELAYING VEHICLE MAINTENANCE & REPAIRS Purchasing a vehicle isn’t the only thing that automotive consumers are putting off during the pandemic. Many consumers are also putting off visiting a dealership or auto repair shop for routine maintenance and repairs. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-15.png] In early March, only 5% of consumers reported that they were delaying vehicle maintenance and repairs. This number peaked at 40% in early April, but holds steady at 25% in June. Out of these consumers, 95% are delaying routine vehicle maintenance and 52% are delaying vehicle repairs. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-16.png] Maintenance and repair delays could affect foot traffic at automotive dealerships, which could in turn affect sales. CORRELATION BETWEEN COVID-19 INFECTION RATE & AUTOMOTIVE SALES DROP There are countless factors that could impact the health of the automotive industry, so some people may wonder whether COVID-19 really is solely to blame for this year’s challenges. The report answers this question by showing a clear correlation between the COVID-19 infection rate and automotive sales. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-17.png] According to the report, automotive sales suffered the most in states that were hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the state of New York was considered the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in March and April of this year. During these two months, automotive sales in New York dropped by 63% compared to the same time period last year. Automotive sales drastically declined in other states with high COVID-19 infection rates, such as Pennsylvania and California. However, automotive sales did not suffer as much in states that had low COVID-19 infection rates at the time. Automotive sales in Arkansas, for example, only dropped by 12% compared to last year. SALES REBOUND AS STATES RECOVER FROM COVID-19 The report shows that state-level automotive sales declined as the state’s infection rate increased. But it also shows the opposite—state-level automotive sales start to rebound as the state begins to recover from COVID-19. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-18.png] As previously mentioned, automotive sales in New York dropped by 63% during March and April, which is when COVID-19 first began to take its toll on the state. But over the next month and a half, sales increased by 1.3%. This may not seem significant, but it indicates that getting the pandemic under control can help automotive companies recover. LOWER FINANCING AND OWNERSHIP COSTS Another bright spot in the Cox Automotive report is the data related to the cost of vehicle financing and ownership. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-19.png] The effective federal funds rate dropped from 2.39% in May 2019 to 0.05% in May 2020. This means that banks were able to borrow money at a lower interest rate and pass these savings onto consumers. Furthermore, the average new auto loan rate dropped from 6.30% in May 2019 to 4.56% in May 2020. This may persuade consumers who are on the fence to take action in order to take advantage of the lower interest rate. The lower the rate, the less the consumer will pay in interest on their vehicle loan. Mobility costs, which are the costs associated with using a vehicle, are also lower this year. The average retail price of unleaded gasoline dropped from $2.82 per gallon in May 2019 to $1.98 per gallon in May 2020. The lower the price of gasoline, the cheaper it is to own and use a vehicle. Promoting low interest rates and mobility costs could help automotive companies attract more customers and increase their sales. LOW SUPPLY COULD IMPACT THE INDUSTRY’S RECOVERY & LIMIT CONSUMER OPTIONS The report clearly shows that it is possible for the automotive industry to recover once COVID-19 is under control. But automotive companies may face another obstacle on their road to recovery: low inventory. Many production plants were closed due to lockdown or stay-at-home orders, which means automotive manufacturers were unable to produce new inventory. Then, sales started to slowly rebound at the same time the production plants were reopening. This led to a rapid drop in the available supply of vehicles. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-20.png] In March, there were about 3.5 million vehicles available for sale in the United States. But just three months later, this number dropped to roughly 2.6 million. The days’ supply also fell below 80, which indicates that the automotive inventory could have been depleted in less than three months. Inventory issues affected some manufacturers more than others. Toyota, Subaru, and GMC were three of the manufacturers that were low on inventory, whereas Nissan and Ford had the highest numbers of vehicles available. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-21.png] LUXURY AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURERS MAY SUFFER THE MOST Many consumers are experiencing financial hardship right now, so it’s not hard to understand why the pandemic may have the biggest impact on luxury automotive manufacturers. During times of economic uncertainty, consumers tend to gravitate towards lower-priced vehicles. This is why manufacturers such as Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, and Kia may not be as greatly affected by the pandemic as more high-end automotive manufacturers such as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and Jaguar. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-22.png] Lending requirements often change during economic uncertainty, which is another factor that could make it harder on luxury automotive manufacturers. Lenders are more hesitant to take on risk during periods of economic uncertainty. To avoid risk, they may only lend to borrowers with higher FICO scores. This means it could be harder for some buyers to get approved for a loan that they need to afford the purchase of a luxury vehicle. OPPORTUNITY FOR USED VEHICLE SALES GROWTH One of the silver linings included in the Cox Automotive report is the opportunity for used vehicle sales growth. The market for both new and used vehicle sales bottomed in mid-April, which is when most lockdowns and stay-at-home orders began to take effect. Both new and used sales started to slowly improve in the weeks that followed. But as of June 15th, new vehicle sales were still well below last year’s figures, whereas there was a positive gain in used vehicle sales compared to the same timeframe last year. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-23.png] This data indicates that automotive companies may need to focus more on selling used vehicles in order to boost sales and make a full recovery. SALES OF CERTIFIED PRE-OWNED VEHICLES ARE STABILIZING The sale of certified pre-owned vehicles could be another area of opportunity for automotive manufacturers. A certified pre-owned vehicle is a used vehicle that has passed certain inspections and met specific standards established by the manufacturer. Many manufacturers offer additional perks such as extended warranty coverage to consumers who purchase certified pre-owned vehicles. Just like standard used vehicles, certified pre-owned vehicles are more affordable than new vehicles. But certified pre-owned vehicles are typically viewed as more reliable than standard used vehicles since they have been thoroughly inspected. Sales of certified pre-owned vehicles declined in March and April at the start of coronavirus-related lockdowns. But in May, sales began to stabilize. In fact, sales of certified pre-owned vehicles in May were almost identical to pre-pandemic monthly sales of these vehicles. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-24.png] Automotive companies that are suffering due to the economic impact of the pandemic may want to allocate resources to the promotion of certified pre-owned vehicles. MANHEIM INDEX INDICATES INCREASE IN USED VEHICLE WHOLESALE PRICES The data in the report indicated that automotive manufacturers may be able to recover by shifting their focus to the sale of used or certified-pre owned vehicles. But the report also revealed that making this shift may be a challenge for some businesses. The Manheim Index is recognized as the most important indicator of wholesale used vehicle prices. In other words, the Manheim Index can be used to determine how much dealerships will have to pay for used vehicles that they can resell to consumers. The higher this number, the higher the average wholesale price of a used vehicle. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-25.png] The report reveals that the Manheim Index rose to 146.1 in mid-June, which is the highest it has been in over 25 years. Because used vehicle wholesale prices are so high, it may be harder for small dealerships to purchase used vehicles from wholesalers in order to resell them to consumers. Even if a dealership can afford these prices, they will have to raise the retail price so they can still make a profit on each vehicle. If the average price of a used vehicle significantly increases, consumer demand may start to decline. Based on this data, the opportunity for automotive companies to increase sales by focusing on used vehicles may not be as promising as it looks. INDEPENDENT DEALERSHIPS AREN’T PREPARED FOR SHIFT TO DIGITAL Most consumers are hesitant to visit dealerships in-person due to the threat of coronavirus. Based on this report, it seems that automotive companies are well aware of this fact. The report states that 81% of franchise dealerships and 78% of independent dealerships are going beyond conducting business just in their physical location. It would make sense for automotive companies to begin conducting business online, especially since research has shown that the process of buying a new vehicle typically starts online. But unfortunately, not all dealerships are prepared to offer consumers an online retail experience. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-26.png] The shift to the online vehicle shopping experience may benefit large dealerships. This is because over three-fourths of franchise dealerships—compared to 45% of independent dealerships—already have digital retailing solutions in place. This data shows that independent dealerships may need to invest heavily in digital retailing solutions to stay competitive. The Cox Automotive report confirms that companies in the automotive industry faced significant challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s no doubt that there is a long road ahead for automotive manufacturers hoping to rebound from a difficult year. But fortunately, the Cox Automotive report also revealed that there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Automotive companies can bounce back by focusing on the sale of certified pre-owned and used vehicles. Dealerships can also increase their sales by investing in digital retailing solutions that allow consumers to research and purchase vehicles without ever stepping foot in a showroom. Maximizing these opportunities can help the automotive industry make a full—and fast—recovery after a devastating and unpredictable year.
10 Most Influential Women to Follow in VR in 2020
November 27, 2020
While many women have carved a niche in the automotive industry, this sector still is, typically, dominated by men. Women in high-level positions within the automotive industry are rare; women hold less than 20 percent of executive/senior-level positions. However, in 2014, Mary Barra made history when she became the first woman to serve as the CEO of a major automotive manufacturer (General Motors). Other women also are paving the way in this industry and within the virtual reality sector, which is now infiltrating the automotive market. The organization Women in Virtual Reality (or WiVR) highlights the amazing work of women within this industry regularly; check out the site and the work of all members to see the impact and contributions of the women within the industry. Here’s our list of the 10 most influential women to follow in virtual reality, but this list is in no way comprehensive! [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-7.png] 1. Dr. Jacquelyn Morie -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dr. Morie is the founder and chief designer at All These Worlds, LLC. With more than two decades of experience within the virtual reality sector, Dr. Morie has contributed innovative concepts and designs that elevate the virtual space. She designed a scent collar that incorporates the sense of smell into the virtual reality realm. Dr. Morie was one of the founders of the University of Southern California (USC) Institute for Simulation and Training; at the institute “…she developed techniques to make VR environments more immersive and emotionally compelling, and helped lead a group of innovative students called The Toy Scouts.” [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-157.jpeg] 2. Crista Lopez -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Co-founder of Women in Virtual Reality (WiVR), Crista Lopez was the winner of the Pizzagatti Prize, from Tides Foundation for “software in the public interest.” Lopez designed OpenSim, which is used by many non-profit organizations. OpenSim is free to download, making it readily accessible to these organizations. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-8.png] 3. Sarah Hill -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hill tells stories in virtual reality with the company StoryUP and has won the National Edward R. Murrow award and also received numerous Mid-America Emmy Awards for her work. She also created Honor Everywhere, a virtual reality experience for ill or elderly veterans that allows them to see and experience the memorials honoring them. Hill talked about the project to WiVR, stating: “We were trying to find a solution for terminally ill and aging World War II veterans who were no longer able to physically travel to see their World War II memorial in Washington DC. We were doing live streams from Google Glass to laptops in nursing homes and the set up was not too comfortable and so when virtual reality came out, we knew that was a potential solution for some of the men and women who were unable to physically travel….” [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-158.jpeg] 4. Orchidee Stachelig -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stachelig is a communications manager for Abylight Studios. She manages relationships with the press and handles social media and other marketing initiatives. Stachelig also was a past editor for Gamesauce. In a profile piece for WiVR, Stachelig was asked about the small number of women in the game development sector, which has been largely dominated by men. Stachelig responded that she felt that “…it is changing.” She also noted that in the Ukraine, tech was mostly perceived as an industry for boys, not girls and this was understood in childhood. But she also acknowledged this was changing. Stachelig also gave some advice to women who might be interested in pursuing a career in game development. She told WiVR: “First of all, do not be scared to give new stuff a try. Secondly, you will eventually get where you want if you have genuine interest in what you are trying and others are doing. The third thing is to do a lot of networking. All the contacts that I have who help me go further, I got through networking and 90 percent of my friends are from the industry.” [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-159.jpeg] 5. Katie Goode -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Goode is the Creative Director (and one of the founders!) of Triangular Pixels, a game studio that created Unseen Diplomacy, Unseen Diplomacy 2 and Smash Hit Plunder. Unseen Diplomacy was the first HTC Vive game in history to be nominated for a BAFTA (for innovation). In a profile piece for WiVR, Goode also revealed that she also was the recipient of the Devon Venus Award in the category of PR Works Ltd Inspirational Woman in STEMM. 6. Claudia Backus -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Oracle, Facebook, Barnes & Noble…Backus has worked for major companies to design solutions in the digital space. At Facebook, she is the Head of the Portal Content Ecosystem. For Barnes & Noble, she took the standard store to the tablet and ereader and created the digital platform for content. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-160.jpeg] 7. Catherine Allen -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Allen has been hailed as a VR Hero of 2016 and is the founder of Limina Immersive. She served as the Head of Marketing for Disney Animated for the iPad, which won a BAFTA for Best Children’s Interactive Experience. Allen also served as the executive producer for No Small Talk 360 for the BBC, a VR experience geared to women. No Small Talk was especially groundbreaking, as it was “…the first time a major broadcaster has released VR aimed at a primarily female audience.” [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-161.jpeg] 8. Jannick Rolland -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jannick Rolland is the Brian J. Thompson Professor of Optical Engineering Professor of Optics and Biomedical Engineering and Professor in the Center for Visual Science at The Institute of Optics and Rochester University. She co founded LighTopTech and serves as the company’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO). In 2014, she was awarded the OSA David Richardson Medal. Her research primarily focuses on three areas: “…(1) optical system design for imaging and non-imaging optics with a current focus on freeform optics, (2) physics-based modeling, and (3) image quality assessment.” In February, Rolland received the Optical Society’s 2020 Joseph Fraunhofer Award/Robert M. Burley Prize, which “recognizes significant research accomplishments in the field of optical engineering.” [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-9.png] 9. Malia Probst -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Known as @TheMalia on Twitter, Probst is a founding partner at VRScout and a cofounder of the WXRFund. Probst hosts VRScout Report, which gives updates and provides the latest news about the virtual reality and augmented reality industry. She also was cited as one of the Top 20 Most Influential People in the VR/AR industry, is one of the Top 20 Women in VR in L.A. and also is among the Top 100 Digital Influencers in the world. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-10.png] 10. Christine Cattano -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As the Global Head of VR and an Executive Producer at Framestore, Cattano is one of the most influential women in the industry. Cattano was the co-founder of the company’s virtual reality studio, which released the augmented reality experience Game of Thrones “Ascend the Wall.” In 2015, she was named in Business Insider’s 30 most creative people in advertising. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-162.jpeg] A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE OF WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY Orchidee Stachelig mentioned in her profile piece to Women in Virtual Reality about the perception of women in the industry. There still exists in many countries a stereotype about women and the industries in which they might excel; these gender-specific stereotypes often dismiss any female interest in technology or STEM careers. As Stachelig mentioned, tech may be perceived—wrongly—as a sector for men. Schools have come to understand the low number of women pursuing STEM careers, and many have looked for ways to encourage young women’s interest in technology, sciences, math and engineering. While site after site and publication after publication will release a list regarding who they feel are among the most influential women in virtual reality, perhaps the true reality of this virtual tech sector is that any woman who crosses into this space, occupies it and leaves her mark is, in her own way, influencing the future. Not just the future of the industry, its creations and innovations, but the future of women in this industry, too. Young girls—young people, in general—need to see progress, they need to see leaders, and they need a mentor. There needs to be someone who goes first, someone who paves the way, who takes the lead. Those people, the individuals who blaze a new path, are the leaders who will help shape the generations that come after them. Girls in elementary school can look to Cattano, Probst, Allen, Goode and every woman on our list and every list of women of influence and see a story of someone who did what maybe they hope to do. The future of women in virtual and augmented reality is every girl sitting in a classroom, learning math, loving it. It’s the girl who is sketching, whose drawings may one day end up in 3D, as part of an explorative virtual adventure. The future is the girl who is gaming with her friends, beating every level, and wondering what could come next. It’s the young girl who is enamored with science, with exploration, with a curiosity that refuses to burn out. So this list, the list of 10 women chosen among so many (who need to be listed somewhere, too!) isn’t a comprehensive catch-all, but, quite simply, a reminder that women hold a place in this industry, that women have left a solid mark. They’ve all done it differently, perhaps even within different segments of the industry. But every woman has, in fact, left a legacy. The automotive sector is still male-dominated. But someone always has to come first to break the mold, to change the tide. General Motors realized that person was Mary Barra. When she became the first female CEO of a major automotive manufacturer, she shattered a glass ceiling into a million shards for girls and young women who were eyeing a place at that table. So the future in virtual reality, in the automotive industry, is a young girl, dreaming of her future. And, one day, that girl won’t just make a list…she will make history.
Virtual Reality Technology Transforms Several Major Industries
November 25, 2020
Virtual reality was once a technology and concept that was reserved for the tech elite and was likely more associated with gaming and enhancing gamers’ experience. Gaming brought virtual reality into our homes and is the start of the technology becoming part of our real-life experience. However, virtual reality technology is becoming more and more prevalent in other industries. Tools such as virtual reality headsets and virtual reality showrooms are being used in innovative ways in fields that you might not usually associate virtual reality with. In our ever online-connected world, virtual reality is helping to make remote work more accessible as well as bring a much more engaging online experience. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-153.jpeg] WHAT INDUSTRIES ARE USING VIRTUAL REALITY? For some time, the gaming industry has been mostly associated with virtual reality, and it has in fact taken to the technology’s tools rapidly and enthusiastically. Virtual reality headsets have helped propel the industry to innovative and engaging heights. However, other industries have taken notice of the potentials of virtual reality. Here are some industries that are using virtual reality technology to transform and enhance their fields: 1. Automotive – The automotive industry has truly embraced virtual reality technology in almost every sector. From design to sales, virtual reality technology has permeated throughout the industry to streamline the process from production to sales. Major automakers are using virtual reality at the beginning of the process to help designers and engineers make creative innovative updates to their vehicles. They are also utilizing virtual reality in their dealerships. Virtual showrooms are fast becoming a necessity for dealerships. They allow for the buyer to view a dealership’s inventory and modify vehicles with specific features to their liking, and all before they even step foot at the dealership. These virtual showrooms benefit the dealers as well as buyers come in more informed and more committed to making a purchase. This makes for quicker and easier sales for salesmen. 2. Retail – Online retail continues to grow and grow each year. This growth has become so significant that many retail stores have closed as consumers continue to prefer online shopping over in-person shopping. Because of this preference, virtual reality technology is merging the convenience of online shopping with the interactive and engaging experience of in-person retail stores. Just like virtual showrooms, shoppers can browse store inventory but also “try-on” clothing and other items. Retailers like Target and Ikea are using augmented reality and virtual reality to allow shoppers to see how home furnishings will look in their home before even purchasing them. Using virtual reality headsets or smart glasses, users can shop virtually as if they are actually entering a storefront. Virtual reality technology can help retailers reach customers in a more engaging way than just simply browsing a website. 3. Marketing and Advertising – The appeal of augmented reality and virtual reality technology comes from its ability to immerse users in an actual experience and environment that might not otherwise be possible. Marketers and advertising agencies are seeing how this appeal can bring big potential to their advertising campaigns. OmniVirt is an advertising platform for brands, companies, and publishers to monetize and distribute VR content that can be sent out to various platforms and viewed on smartphones, tablets, and websites. 4. Healthcare – Just like the automotive industry, the healthcare industry has been experimenting and embracing virtual reality technology in many different applications. Virtual reality has been a big platform for telemedicine and has been especially useful for behavioral and mental health treatments. Virtual reality technology can and has been used as a tool to educate new healthcare workers by creating safe virtual environments to practice the application of procedures they are learning. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-154.jpeg] 5. Education – Education is a field that is often trying to adapt the latest technology to make learning more engaging and interactive. Virtual reality technology can help educators bring concepts and information to their students that might otherwise be impossible. For example, Nearpod, an educational technology firm, is using Google Cardboard to help a number of public schools bring their students to “virtual field trips” to places such as Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef, and even Mars. Students can travel around the world and learn about new environments and cultures without ever leaving their classroom. 6. Tourism and Museums – It might seem counterintuitive for virtual reality and tourism to work with one another, but many travel companies are utilizing virtual reality technology to give potential travelers “samples” of their destination. This is a great marketing tool for travel companies to use as a way to entice more travelers. Museums are also jumping on the virtual reality bandwagon by providing exhibits that use virtual reality and VR tools such as headsets to help engage visitors with their exhibits and learn more. 7. Real Estate – Real estate professionals are starting to see the capabilities of VR in their field. Just like major automakers, virtual reality technology can help real estate agents reach clients that might usually be far from their reach as potential buyers can view properties from anywhere around the world. Virtual reality startup, Matterport, worked with the New York Times to showcase their luxury listings through virtual reality tours. 8. Military and Law Enforcement – The various branches of the military have been using virtual reality for several years now in different ways. It has long been a way to bring an immersive experience for training and also has helped to optimize operations. Whether through equipment repair or as a way to navigate landscapes, virtual reality technology has made military and law enforcement operations much more precise and safe. 9. Space Exploration – Thanks to virtual reality, we are able to visit different cities, countries, and even worlds from the comfort of our homes. Virtual reality has been especially useful for scientists and astronauts who want to further explore space. The International Space Station is utilizing Microsoft’s HoloLens to conduct research and explorations in space more accurately. NASA is using virtual reality headsets to create a virtual reconstruction of the surface of Mars in order to depict a more accurate rendering of the planet’s actual surface. 10. Engineering – Virtual reality and augmented reality are completely innovating the field of engineering and its many sectors. Engineers are using the technology to help with the designing phase to make it much more streamlined and cost effective. Virtual reality can allow engineers to make quick changes and edits to designs that are rendered in virtual reality. Instead of making a physical model and then making changes based on that model, the designs can be manipulated on a virtual reality model instead so that costs to make models are cut down. Engineers for automobiles seem to especially be keen on this technology when it comes to designing and updating new car models. Major automakers such as Ford and Honda are using virtual reality to help their engineers create a more streamlined and collaborative design process. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-155.jpeg] WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF VR? Virtual reality tools such as headsets are the primary way these companies are taking advantage of the technology for their industry. Virtual reality headsets can completely modify how a company runs and is a great way to reach audiences from all over the globe. Understanding the types of virtual reality can help companies know which type will work best for their needs. There are three types of virtual reality: * Non-immersive Virtual Reality – Non-immersive virtual reality is the most commonly used form in everyday life. Essentially, it provides a computer-generated environment but does not take over the space of the user and the environment is contained to a computer. Video games are the prime example of this type of virtual reality experience. A virtual showroom is another example of this type of virtual reality technology. * Semi-immersive Virtual reality – Semi-immersive takes users one step further by creating a partially virtual environment. It gives users the perception of being in a different reality while looking at a virtual image using 3D graphics. This type of virtual reality provides realism and depth that you would not get from the non-immersive. This is popular to use in education and museums are using this type of virtual reality technology to enhance their exhibits. * Fully immersive virtual reality – Fully immersive virtual reality creates a truly immersive experience for users as it also includes sights and sounds. This experience is the one most typically used with headsets. This helps transform a user’s entire environment to bring them into new worlds. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-156.jpeg] Virtual reality is fast becoming part of our everyday lives. While implementing virtual reality technology can be costly, the benefits of using virtual reality clearly show that an investment into these tools can help increase profits for many different industries. In our ever evolving online world, the experience of living life virtually is becoming easier and easier. This is all thanks to virtual reality startups like RelayCars who are enhancing the virtual experience for consumers. Virtual reality is becoming a big part of our real-life realities and it is clear that many industries are ready to embrace it.
How Volkswagen is Using Augmented and Virtual Reality
November 23, 2020
Experts have predicted that augmented and virtual reality technologies will completely transform the automotive industry in the future. But some companies aren’t waiting for the future. Instead, these companies are already starting to use augmented and virtual reality technology to gain a competitive edge. One of these companies is Volkswagen, which is one of the largest automotive manufacturers in the world. This German automotive manufacturer was founded over 80 years ago. Throughout its history, Volkswagen has been known for embracing new technologies and setting trends in the industry. Now, it is one of the first automotive companies to lead when it comes to using augmented and virtual reality. Here are some of the many ways Volkswagen is using these innovative technologies: DESIGN PRODUCTION LINES Earlier this year, Volkswagen began preparing for production of the new Atlas Cross Sport in its factory located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Part of this preparation process involved designing production lines within the factory. To complete this task, the Volkswagen Virtual Engineering Lab created innovative augmented reality software based on feedback submitted from technicians and other workers. The software allowed the factory’s team to plan where each piece of equipment would go so they could create the most efficient production line possible. How did it work? To use this software, the team simply had to put on an augmented reality headset. Then, the software used augmented reality technology to project each individual part of the production line onto their environment. This allowed the team to figure out the best way to arrange the individual parts within the factory to create an efficient and functional production line. It also helped the team identify and address potential safety issues. For example, the team was able to identify pinch points between machinery that would have otherwise not been visible. Identifying these areas in advance gave the team time to adjust the design and resolve these issues before production began. Using augmented reality technology in this manner helped Volkswagen create a safer, more productive workplace. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-151.jpeg] CREATE PROTOTYPES Virtual reality technology has simplified the design process for engineers at Volkswagen. In the past, these engineers built clay prototypes of new Volkswagen models. Then, the entire team would have a chance to explore the clay prototype, identify issues, and make necessary changes. If changes were needed, the team would have to build a new clay prototype that reflected these changes. This process would continue until the design of the new model was finalized. But now, the team relies on virtual reality technology to build digital prototypes of new models. The engineers can still explore the vehicle, identify issues, and make necessary changes just like they used to do. But they no longer need to waste time on building multiple clay prototypes. Instead, they can quickly make changes to the digital prototype until the design has been finalized. Using virtual reality in this manner allows Volkswagen to reduce the amount of time that it takes to design new vehicles. It also reduces the cost of designing a new vehicle since engineers no longer need to build expensive clay prototypes. Plus, since the process is virtual, designers from around the world can all collaborate on the same design with ease. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-75.jpeg] IMPROVE SAFETY FEATURES The ID.3 is Volkswagen’s first mass-produced electric car. It’s also the first Volkswagen vehicle that is designed with a heads-up display supported by augmented reality technology. This heads-up display has a number of different features that will keep drivers safe on the road. First, the heads-up display will help drivers stay focused on the road ahead by projecting navigational directions directly onto the driver’s windshield. Drivers will no longer need to look down at their smartphone or GPS device to see where they need to go to reach their final destination. For example, digital arrows may be projected onto the driver’s windshield to let the driver know when and where they need to turn to get to their final destination. They won’t need to glance at their phone to see these directions. As a result, this feature could prevent traffic accidents caused by distracted drivers. The system is also designed to project flags, warning signs, and other digital objects onto the driver’s windshield whenever potential hazards are detected on the road. This will alert drivers to pedestrians, bicyclists, sharp turns, and other potential dangers that they may encounter. Using augmented reality technology in this manner allows Volkswagen to create a safer, more enjoyable driving experience for their consumers. ALLOW CONSUMERS TO EXPLORE NEW MODELS The Volkswagen T-Cross was released in 2018 in select markets around the world, including Brazil. To get consumers excited about the T-Cross, Volkswagen partnered with a marketing firm to create a unique augmented reality app that would allow consumers to explore the vehicle before it arrived at dealerships. The app uses augmented reality technology to project a 3-D digital rendering of the T-Cross onto the consumer’s real world environment. Then, consumers can explore the vehicle in this virtual showroom just as they would if they were viewing it in a real showroom. Using the app, consumers can walk around the outside of the vehicle, open the doors, pull back the sunroof, and explore the interior of the T-Cross. They can also test out certain design features, including the vehicle’s park assist system. After exploring the vehicle, consumers could also snap a photo of the 3-D digital rendering of the T-Cross to save to their phone’s photos. This made it easy for consumers to share their augmented reality experience with their loved ones. Launching this augmented reality app was a great way to build excitement and ensure that consumers had the information they needed to make a purchase decision right at their fingertips. TRAIN NEW EMPLOYEES In 2018, Volkswagen announced plans to use virtual reality technology to simplify the process of training new employees. The company revealed that the technology would be used to train over 10,000 employees of Volkswagen, Audi, SKODA, and other brands owned by Volkswagen Group. The virtual training courses cover a wide range of topics, including vehicle assembly, general new employee training, and customer service. New content is uploaded on a regular basis, so employees can continue to participate in training courses as needed. There are several benefits to using virtual reality technology to train employees. First, employees can attend virtual training sessions from anywhere, so there’s no need to travel to an on-site location. This makes training employees far less expensive and more convenient for both the company and workers. If a new factory is being built, Volkswagen does not have to wait until it is complete to start training workers. Using virtual training, Volkswagen can make sure that all new employees are completely trained and ready to start working as soon as the factory is open. It also gives employees the opportunity to complete training courses at their own pace. If they want to spend more time on a certain topic, they have the option to do so. Thanks to virtual technology, Volkswagen has now found an easier and more efficient way to train employees. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-152.jpeg] GET ASSISTANCE WITH REPAIRS Volkswagen is one of the few automotive manufacturers that now uses virtual reality technology for maintenance and repair issues. The company sent virtual reality headsets to select dealerships around the world. If the dealership runs into a complex issue while performing maintenance or making repairs, they can use their headset to get help in real-time from experts at the company’s headquarters. For example, say a repairman is having trouble identifying the cause of an electrical issue on a Volkswagen vehicle. In this case, he can put on the virtual reality headset to get help from an expert. The expert can then project certain images, step-by-step instructions, or how-to videos onto the repairman’s field of view so they know how to identify the issue and make the necessary repairs. Using this technology can drastically reduce the amount of time that it takes to make complex repairs. However, Volkswagen is only using virtual reality technology for maintenance and repairs assistance for commercial vehicles. But if this test run is successful, it’s possible that Volkswagen may decide to roll this service out to maintenance and repairs assistance on all vehicles. HOST VIRTUAL AUTO SHOWS Many automotive manufacturers, including Volkswagen, introduce new makes and models at auto shows. These events typically attract thousands of consumers, but consumers who don’t live close to the location of the auto show may not be able to make the trip in order to attend. To expand its reach, Volkswagen now uses virtual reality technology to host virtual auto shows that take place at the same time as the in-person auto shows. In April, Volkswagen hosted one of its first virtual auto shows. Visitors were able to virtually walk into the Volkswagen exhibition booth, explore vehicles from every angle, and customize vehicles by changing the exterior color, wheels, and other features. Basically, these virtual guests were able to experience the auto show in the same way that they would have if they had attended the event in person. By hosting these virtual auto shows, Volkswagen is able to reach and engage with a wider audience. This is a great way to get consumers around the world excited about the release of new makes and models of Volkswagen vehicles. Volkswagen may be one of the first automotive manufacturers to embrace the use of augmented and virtual reality, but it certainly won’t be the last. In the years ahead, many other companies will follow Volkswagen’s lead and find new and exciting ways to use these technologies in the automotive industry.