How Toyota is Using Augmentative & Virtual Reality
October 19, 2020
Toyota has long been one of the leaders in the mainstream auto industry, providing models that appeal to a variety of audiences. Now, they’re applying the newest technological trends to enhance their hybrid models like never before. By integrating the car’s computer interface and the driver’s mobile device, Toyota is bridging the gap between human and machine. IMPROVING ONLINE SHOPPING WITH AUGMENTED REALITY In general, car owners are holding on to their vehicles longer than in previous years. The average car buyer spends more than 6 years between purchases, which would seemingly be bad news for car brands. Toyota has discovered a way to entice buyers in an increasingly narrow market. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, online car shopping rose to more than 75% in 2020. In response to this uptick, Toyota has revamped their showroom experience to better accommodate home-based consumers. To improve the process even more, this AR tool will be accessible without needing to download an app or program. Users can instead just click on a social media post or banner ad to experience an immersive demo from their desktop or mobile device. This interactive digital media tool has the potential to change the way car brands advertise to their audience base, as well as the online shopping behaviors of their consumers. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-91.jpeg] 3D DIGITAL MODELING Since COVID-19 has reduced operations for car lots and dealerships, it’s difficult for a potential buyer to get an accurate walk around of their prospective purchase. Augmented reality imaging technology gives mainstream consumers the ability to see the exterior of a virtual floor model in unprecedented detail, without setting foot in a physical showroom. The majority of car shoppers prefer to conduct at least part of the process digitally in 2020, and ongoing COVID-19 restrictions drive more and more consumers online. AR provides each customer with an immersive virtual showroom and realistic test-drive experience. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-92.jpeg] ENHANCED PERSONALIZATION AND CUSTOMIZATION Traditionally, prospective auto buyers were shoe-horned into whatever generic, canned shopping experience the dealer was able to provide. With AR/VR displays and mobile networking capabilities, every user is able to personalize their shopping experience to their liking. If someone is shopping for a rugged off-roading vehicle they’ll probably be looking for different features than a soccer mom who wants a practical minivan with a low carbon footprint. From the color of the interior to the paint job and horsepower, Toyota is virtualizing the entire car-buying experience. Buyers with different lifestyles and goals are also typically willing to spend more or less time to handle the process. Someone looking for a niche, lifelong investment might require a higher level of customisation compared to someone looking for a baseline commuter car. Using VR/AR and AI to build the customer’s experience as it learns about their behaviors and preferences allows car brands to remove the fluff from their marketing and selling strategies. MIXING REALITY WITH THE DIGITAL WORLD Toyota is one of the leading car brands that is partnering with growing tech innovators to expand their market reach. Using devices created by both Unity and Microsoft, Toyota is providing customers across their diverse customer base with more connectivity and personalization power than ever before. 360-degree imagery, motion-responsive mobile tech, and external noise cancellation are just a few features that make it possible to really imagine yourself in the media you’re consuming. Buyers can virtually park the car in their garage or in front of their house to see how it will look in real life. They can also rotate, zoom, and manipulate the digital 3D image for an even more detailed look. To tap into multiple facets of the augmented reality and virtual reality markets, Toyota is targeting wearable and smartphone users. This means that shoppers have even more options when it comes to interacting with Toyota’s ecommerce platforms, customer service teams, and even social media advertisements. CUTTING COSTS FOR DEALERS Augmented reality and virtual reality are not only improving the ownership experience better for buyers and manufacturers, but dealers are also saving money with this innovative tech development. By extending the browsing, testing, and auto financing processes to the consumer’s home, sellers can reduce operating costs by eliminating the need to keep a vast physical inventory or an in-person showroom. Dealers and sellers can also cut costs by trimming their employee training programs. Replacing in-person labs and classes with virtual reality-hosted training sessions will reduce the amount of money companies need to spend on staffing and operational expenses. A single teacher can conduct a presentation for countless students simultaneously, whereas capacity is limited in a physical classroom. Also, everything from the furniture to the electricity that runs a dealership showroom comes out of the parent company’s budget. Using VR/AR to build a digital environment allows dealers to create all of these elements virtually – at no additional cost. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-93.jpeg] IMPROVING SERVICE AND SUPPORT The automobile sphere is a dynamic industry that’s always changing the way it designs, produces, and distributes new products. Stiff competition and a driving need for tech innovation places a high level of stress on the creators behind the scenes. Toyota is connecting remote and onsite employees more seamlessly than ever before by using augmented reality and virtual reality to improve collaboration. Building a responsive virtual environment for employees to interact digitally has been proven to: * Reduce wait times between approvals * Speed up the project timeline with faster responses between team members * Improve office morale as more and more teams move offsite * Boost communication efforts between remote and in-house staff On part of the consumer, new owners will be able to use AR-integrated apps to learn more about the vehicle. The app accomplishes this by overlaying digital renders of the car’s physical attributes over a virtual 3D model of the vehicle. Buyers can improve their knowledge of their new purchase, while also gaining a deeper understanding of the functionality of their new hybrid or alternative fuel system. This is a great way to understand which parts of the car’s system are running at different points during the drive. Additionally, drivers can view information about the car’s “hotspots” on demand – or key areas like the motor, battery and fuel tank. Having better access to critical performance information makes it easier for owners to meet scheduled maintenance and repair guidelines. Identifying the car’s real-time functions using AR can also prevent minor problems from progressing by going unnoticed. This integration has also improved support rates and customer satisfaction. Reducing lag time between team members gives each employee the ability to address more client requests. ENGAGING MARKETING AND ONLINE PRESENCE DEVELOPMENT The world is moving online, and the automotive market is not exempt from this major market shift. The majority of the country spends at least a few hours per day on social media, which has created a lucrative mass audience for car companies to direct their advertising efforts. Digital media is exponentially less expensive compared to traditional or print marketing methods. Social media cuts costs even more by giving the audience the power to join the conversation. Users that share or comment on your content are just adding more power and visibility to your posts. Not only have car companies embraced digital marketing in recent years, but brands like Toyota are taking that a step further by integrating AR/VR experiences into their social media feeds and advertisements. Car companies have also incorporated augmented reality and virtual reality tech into their marketing directives. Examples include fully immersive situation-driven simulations and test sessions in the form of interactive games. Using AR/VR tech to build brand awareness combines a multitude of sales tactics into one affordable marketing tool. LASER-FOCUSED CONSUMER TARGETING Pay-per-click advertising saw a significant uptick during the initial COVID-19 lockdown, and marketers continue to use this tool to connect with social media users within their target audience. Virtual reality and augmented reality take that function step further by enhancing the immersive quality of every post and ad. Using vision tracking and face-scanning apps, brands can use interactive elements like filters and on-screen masks to entice consumers. Additionally, consumers get more out of ads that are created with them in mind. Ads that incorporate augmented or virtual reality improve the user experience, and draws in customers with a higher likelihood of spending more than 1.5 seconds on the page. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-94.jpeg] STAYING COMPETITIVE IN A CHANGING INDUSTRY The world of consumer products is shifting everyday, and online retailers are dominating nearly every sector of the commercial market. No matter the audience or target demographic, car brands are facing the same challenges as a variety of other industries – incorporating technology is a necessity if you want to stay competitive. Augmented reality and virtual reality systems have already made a significant impact within the gaming, homebuying, and photography industries. Plus, online shopping gives buyers around the world the ability to purchase products from anywhere and not just their local dealerships. Auto manufacturers, dealers, and sellers have applied this growing trend to have an edge against the dozens of other brands around the world. In fact, using AR/VR as a marketing tool has been proven to increase sales for top brands like BMW and TopShop. This technology is only becoming more present in our daily lives, and more consumers will be seeking this is a media staple in the online shopping experience. Like usual, the automotive industry is paving the way in this growing but influential digital realm. Combining augmented/virtual elements with actual reality is giving consumers a way to immerse themselves into the content they’re consuming about this major, milestone purchase. Cars are synonymous with lifestyle in the current marketplace, and AR/VR tech is giving auto brands an effective tool to convey their message to an engaged target audience.
The Future of Hearable Technology
October 16, 2020
Virtual and augmented reality advancements in our phones, computers, tablets, and even the tech within our vehicles means that our devices are now verbally and visually communicating to us around the clock. The future of hearable technology is as open as the future of technology itself. While many of us view our headphones or earphones as just the little speakers that we can plug into our ears to personalize our auditory experience, these small extensions of our devices have the potential to become…smart. Incredibly smart, actually. New auditory advancements are turning up the volume on what we once considered to be mere accessories to our major devices. Now hearable devices are becoming must-have gadgets independent of phones, tablets or music players. Here are some predictions as to what the future holds for your ears…and even some technology that failed to grab our ear. Listen up! HOW DO YOU USE HEARABLE DEVICES NOW? When we try to comprehend how we will use hearable tomorrow, next year and in the far off future, it’s interesting to look back at how this technology has evolved in our daily lives. Most of us probably conceived of hearable tech as simple headphones or earphones. Maybe a friend or family member utilized hearing aids and that technology became familiar. The evolution of hearable tech has creeped up on us…almost silently, even though we were always listening. Earphones now stream movies. We listen to podcasts. We also use our earphones or headphones to keep teleconferences private. Headsets have integrated microphones that are used for conferencing or even social experiences like gaming. Throughout the decades, sound quality has improved, headphones have become less cumbersome, and technology has advanced. In the ‘80s, we may have listened to our favorite tunes while donning the foam covered earpieces that were ubiquitous to the Walkman. In the new millennium, maybe a new pair of Beats headphones changed the way we heard music. Now, our phones often feature tiny earphones with incredible sound quality. Some of these earpieces are even wireless. But not all hearable tech has revolutionized our lives. Some new discoveries had amazing potential to transform daily life but simply didn’t grab our attention…or our wallets. THE HEARABLE FUTURE THAT COULD HAVE BEEN Back in 2017, Wired reported on Doppler Labs’ eventual demise. Doppler had produced earphones that cancelled out noise, amplified a speaker’s voice and even translated foreign languages for the listener. Its product seemed promising, but it simply didn’t catch on in the way that Apple’s Airpods and other products did with the general public. The features of the earphones, though, showed the potential of this sector of technology. Translating foreign speakers to ease communications may be a solution that many business leaders could demand in future hearable devices. During the worst days of the Covid pandemic, most businesses were working from home. Hearable technology with translations built in could have been a beneficial accessory that reduced the need for translators…or perhaps written on-screen translations. While new tech that features translation capabilities might not be in the very near future, major players in the market are looking to introduce new–and improved–hearable tech. WHAT YOU MIGHT HEAR SOON: HEARABLE TECH OF THE FUTURE The future of hearable tech encompasses the near future…and the far off future, too. While some media can speculate about new products that may hit the market soon, most can only guess as to what the far off future holds for hearable technology. For those looking to upgrade their ears to the latest new headphones or earphones, there are new hearable tech products that will soon be hitting the market. In fact, the anticipation for Apple’s Airpods3 has been bustling on the internet. Unfortunately, no one knows when Apple may release the updated AirPods. And tech experts also can only guess as to what new features they might include. Apple AirPods2 featured wireless charging capabilities and Siri functions, too. A visual concept of the Apple AirPods Studio earphones, however, has apparently leaked, according to techradar. These new headphones will be over-the-ear versus the traditional bud in the ear design. The features have not been disclosed, and details were not provided by Apple but came from a “reputable leaker.” EAR FOR THE FUTURE? A POSSIBLE SMARTPHONE HEARING PIECE This isn’t a hearing aid in an assistive technology definition, but Fast Company reported that major companies like Apple, Google and Amazon are all in the midst of developing their own unique hearing aids that take convenience directly to the ear. However, what these hear pieces will feature is anyone’s best guess. Fast Company posited that they could track oxygen saturation and even count steps—this theory was linked to the fact that all three companies have plans to enter the healthcare sector. Of course, as the article noted, all three of these companies offer ‘virtual assistants’– Google has Google Assistant, Amazon offers Alexa and Apple devices utilize Siri. These virtual assistants have the potential to be intricately intertwined with our daily lives and habits. AMAZON AND ALEXA If Amazon did release some type of hearable technology, the features could be amazing! Imagine if Amazon released a hearable tech that utilizes Alexa. This could mean that the earpiece could pick up commands and the user could interact with Alexa with just a small hearing aid like device. WHAT COULD ALEXA DO WITH A HEARABLE? * Perhaps the user could place orders via Amazon remotely. “Alexa, order my Vitamin C supplement.” * The earpiece could help turn off lights, brew coffee or control anything Alexa-powered. * Alexa, track my order for Dog Food and alert me when it’s on it’s way. APPLE AND SIRI Apple could build smart tech into the airpods so they can connect to Siri and follow through on actions. If Siri is always in your ear, then you can maintain two way communication between your smartphone and Siri. * “Siri, remind me to call my mom,” all of a sudden becomes feasible. * “Siri, create a calendar appointment for my doctor at 3pm tomorrow”. * Maybe the user could surf via Safari and hear the results or use the earpiece to send texts or even teleconference. It’s interesting to think about what these technology giants could introduce into the world…and how new hearing technology could ease our daily interactions. All major tech players–Apple, Amazon, Microsoft (we can’t forget Cortana!) and Google–also could integrate the Internet of Things into earpieces. Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant and Alexa could control everything in the house…from the ear! Anything in the home that could connect to these virtual assistants could stream into our ear. Smart appliances utilize these assistants, so imagine sitting in a home office and having Alexa tell you that your oven is preheated. Or that the dishwasher has finished a cycle. No time to take the clothes out of the dryer? Tell the virtual assistant via the earpiece to start the dryer for a fluff cycle. Hearable technology features from tech giants are simply speculative at this point. Until Apple, Amazon or Google make any type of formal announcement, most of us can simply ponder and wonder about what our ears, coupled with voice technology, may control in the future. However, hearable technology developed for individuals with hearing impairments already allows some wearers to control the Internet of Things via the ear! [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-89.jpeg] PREDICTING THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY TO ASSIST INDIVIDUALS WITH HEARING IMPAIRMENTS Hearables as used as assistive communication devices have their own unique demands for advancement. As technology becomes more intertwined with our daily lives, those who depend on hearing aids to communicate also need to be able to access their phones and devices in the same way as other users. However, putting a phone receiver—even the smartphone—up to the hearing-aided ear can be cumbersome. Phones not only can accommodate hearing aid devices but many also can allow these devices to connect to features to stream music, movies and everything else directly into the hearing aid. Most devices also can connect to hearing aids via Bluetooth. Some hearing aid manufacturers–including Widex and Phonak–even offer apps that allow users to modify their hearing aids via their phone. The user simply logs into the hearing aid app and can change different settings or even review data (depending on the app’s capabilities and functions). There are numerous hearing aid manufacturers and hearing aid models. Some offer advanced capabilities, others aren’t quite as high tech (especially earlier hearing aid models). Some models even allow users to connect into the Internet of Things via an app (and by utilizing the If This, Then That service); this alerts users that someone is at the door or when the wash cycle has completed! Hearing centers that provide diagnostic services for those with hearing loss also have their own predictions on the future may hold for hearable technology. Connect Hearing talked to several of its own hearing specialists about what the future for hearing aids. Over the years, this technology has advanced tremendously. Hearing aids—in very early times—were once large trumpet-like devices that were placed in the ear. Today’s hearing aids, though, can connect wirelessly to Bluetooth devices and can even be used with smartphones. Jody Progue, an audiologist for Connect Hearing in Denton, Texas, told the company that newer hearing aids may become even more convenient for users, allowing easy access to most devices. “I anticipate we’ll also see more universality, such as hearing aids that connect directly to any device via plug-and-play,” said Progue on the Connect Hearing site. “New hearing aids like the Phonak Audéo B Direct, they are truly hands-free. To answer the phone, all a user needs to do is press a button on the hearing aid and say ‘hello’.” When Connect Hearing asked the experts “What will hearing technology look like in five years?,” the hearing specialists had some almost space age predictions! “Artificial intelligence will be integrated into hearing testing and fittings,” John Cummings, a hearing instrument specialist for Connect Hearing in Baltimore, Md., said on the company’s site. “This will improve the overall product offerings and reduce costs as more of the global population accepts and purchases them. Users will also be able to seamlessly connect with the most cutting-edge fitness products.” [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-90.jpeg] IMAGINE THE SOUNDS IN THE FAR-OFF FUTURE If the near future could bring us hearable devices that might utilize voice assistants like Siri or Alexa, the far-off future could involve virtual or even other types of augmented reality. Perhaps hearing aids allow us to navigate our self driving cars by connecting into the vehicle. Or maybe the ear devices pick up our instructions and graphically display our commands via holograms or augmented scenes. Could Wikipedia evolve from a simple web site to a holographic interactive virtual realm that takes us into history…via our ear devices? Perhaps our hearable devices contain our personal information or even our financial accounts and our hearable technology will be able to transmit this information securely to other devices to make purchases, appointments or perform other services. The size of hearable tech may change, too. We’ve watched as smartphones have become sleeker in design; while phone screens may constantly increase in size, diminutive hearables may be a major demand for those who want to avoid a clumsy and cumbersome earpiece. Earphones may become incredibly tiny and might even become personalized to the wearer. We may, one day, be fitted with our hearable tech. As technology overtakes our physical reality, our imagination can go wild thinking of all the possibilities. The minds of programmers and engineers, however, may discover and create worlds, ideas and software that will jolt us into a new age, an advanced tech renaissance. Twenty years ago, we couldn’t imagine a cell phone that would allow us to access shopping, banking, movies, music and the internet. Now our smartphones manage everything, and, of course, they make basic phone calls, too. Tonight, tomorrow when you plug in your earphones or headphones, imagine all the new features those phones may offer next year. Or five years from now. In the future, there’s no telling what we might hear. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-6.png]
The Definitive Guide for Using Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality to Elevate Your Business
October 15, 2020
Virtual reality and augmented reality technology has evolved exponentially throughout the years. While once projecting a pixelated and graphically obscure translation of a virtual world, the landscapes and backdrops of VR and the components represented in these scenes now appear so real in their replication that the mind can easily adapt to the new virtual space. The graphic quality of today’s VR has enhanced and transformed the gaming experience, delivering detailed and lifelike worlds and new realms filled with artistic renderings of futuristic—or even prehistoric—structures, creatures, characters and settings. Yet, VR and its offerings extend beyond games and entertainment. Stepping into the virtual world projected in VR also benefits businesses; this technology has the potential to amplify the customer experience, better facilitate employee training and perhaps even boost client satisfaction and retention. How can the use of virtual reality benefit businesses? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-84.jpeg] VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY & THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE Utilizing virtual reality to amplify the customer experience doesn’t involve VR headsets or complicated consoles. VR and its uses are multi-modal, and integration of VR isn’t the same across industries. Augmented reality technology includes virtual assistants (like Alexa), interactive exhibits (like in museums), virtual tours (for real estate or the tourism industry), interactive customer service apps and even virtual reality product showrooms (for cars and fashion!). VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS AND AUGMENTED REALITY Augmented reality is ingrained in daily life. Most smartphones now come equipped with a virtual assistant like Siri or Alexa. These interactive assistants also serve as a prototype for a virtual customer service associate. If your business offers an automated customer service line—with an integrated voice-activated assistant—then welcome to the world of automated reality. While many businesses want to embrace a personalized approach to customer service, and, therefore, still utilize real-life human beings to assist customers with any issues, virtual customer service support does provide accessible and more simplistic assistance for time-harried customers. For simple tasks like paying a bill or checking an account balance, virtual assistants can navigate requests easily and quickly by guiding customers with simple prompts and voice-activated virtual menus. This reduces a customer’s wait time and streamlines simple requests and basic account queries. Virtual customer service assistants also can be utilized online via personalized chats. Customers type their question or concern, and the assistant is programmed with the applicable solutions and guidance. While this type of automated reality doesn’t take place in a separate realm, it is hosted in the virtual sphere, exists separately from a human interaction and incorporates the intelligence and data of the computer. Other businesses and industries, however, facilitate customer service interactions by using VR/AR to identify project issues. Software or apps can now recognize products and identify them for customer service reps. Although this technology isn’t a ‘virtual assistant,’ the technology is an extension of VR/AR. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-85.jpeg] VIRTUAL EXHIBITS & TOURS Virtual reality gives users the opportunity to experience scenes and adventures that may have once been out of reach for them. Museum exhibits can utilize VR by allowing visitors to step into prehistoric worlds or maybe even explore a painting. The tourism industry has taken a financial hit because of Covid, but virtual tours provide a vacation experience that’s safe and relaxing. Now staycations from home can involve virtual excursions to historic sites or even a hike through the canopy of a rainforest. Virtual tours also are utilized in the real estate industry. Potential homebuyers can preview the home of their dreams with online tours and walkthroughs that allow them to see every room and all the home’s amenities and features. THE 360-DEGREE EXPERIENCE OF VIRTUAL SHOWROOMS The Coronavirus pandemic has challenged and changed daily life, and these changes (and challenges) reverberated throughout the retail sector. Visits to stores beyond the necessities were either limited or simply not an option (when restrictions shut-down nonessential businesses). Survival for many stores meant changing how customers shop for clothes, cars and other goods/services. Online shopping became the dominant force, but not all businesses could best display their products in the two-dimensional world of computer imagery. Consumers shopping for a new car need to see details up close, and they also want to view the automobile from multiple vantage points. Standard photos even in high-resolution cannot translate images to 3D. To provide an in-person experience from the comfort of home, some dealerships offered their own virtual showrooms online to display inventory. Others could guide shoppers to the Relay Cars virtual showroom for panoramic views of many different makes and models. Manufacturers or dealers also offered virtual test drives of their automobiles. This virtual test drive model had different functions for dealerships; some scheduled test drives via an app and delivered the car to the consumer for an at-home test drive. Others, though, actually created a virtual test drive that was truly virtual and could be experienced on a phone or computer screen—no keys necessary! The virtual showrooms extended to the fashion world, too. Fashion retailers pre-Covid operated on a dual selling model—customers could order online and they also could view (and try on) items in the store. The retail shutdown meant that those who needed or wanted to preview items in the store didn’t have that option. Like the automotive sector, some boutiques embraced a virtual showroom, allowing consumers to view the entire store in 360 degrees. At some online retailers, customers can view garments from multiple vantage points to assess drape, style and length from different angles. While this isn’t a solution for those who want to try on an item before clicking ‘buy,’ the interactive viewing options may enhance the understanding of a garment’s shape and fit and provide more input for a hesitant buyer. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-86.jpeg] VR AND AR FOR EMPLOYEE TRAINING Across industries, virtual reality and augmented reality also is transforming employee training. This technology is used in flight simulators for pilots, in training simulations for automobile manufacturers, and, per NPR, some simulations teach retail workers how to deal with a robbery. The optimization of this technology depends on the industry and the business’s individual needs. However, the options are seemingly endless. VR TRAINING SESSIONS FOR EMPLOYEES STRIVR is one of the big players in the business of VR training; the company provides training sessions designed for the retail, financial services, logistics, manufacturing and technology industries. For the retail sector, these interactive sessions address job roles in multiple areas including customer service, fulfillment, new hire assessment, manager training and culture and values. Employee training sessions can address how to handle customer service issues, help employees learn about new processes in the company, how to most efficiently pack shipments, assess individual skills/weaknesses (e.g. “new hire assessment”), and provide interactive lessons on company culture. Logistics training sessions can include interactive lessons related to onboarding and safety, while lessons/sessions in the financial services sector include fraud protection, sales training, manager training, contact center training and safety training. Walmart and Verizon have used STRIVR for employee training. VR TRAINING SIMULATIONS FOR PILOTS While flight simulators have been around since the early 20th century, virtual reality simulators created a more realistic experience for pilots in training. In 2018, Wired reported that these simulators now provide an integrated sensory experience; the new technology developed by FlyInside provides pilots with the sense of feeling all the switches and dials they would use during a flight. VR FOR TRAINING AND EVALUATION PROTOCOLS IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY The automotive sector has utilized virtual reality for safety evaluations and to aid technicians in making repairs. For this industry, VR may be an important tool in detecting design flaws or to simply streamline the visual appeal of the model. Varjo partnered with Volvo for a VR headset—or, rather, a “mixed reality test drive”–that can be used to assess a car model or prototype while driving. The technology allows the driver to test safety technologies and other aspects of the automobile. Porsche’s “Tech Live Look” combines smart glasses with a software platform to help technicians to more easily make repairs. The glasses magnify tiny areas (like screws) and illuminate dark areas for better visibility during repairs. The technology was introduced in 2018. During Covid, Ford utilized virtual reality in its design process. Team directors wore VR headsets to view prototypes in a virtual space, and directors could switch vantage points within the program to view the car from a different angle. Virtual reality ensured that the design process didn’t come to a screeching halt as industries were forced to transition to work-from-home environments. VR AND AR TO BOOST CLIENT SATISFACTION AND RETENTION Success for any business depends on keeping clients and customers happy. Virtual reality and augmented reality also can be used to ensure client satisfaction, which, in turn, leads to retention. Virtual reality experiences can be used to elevate the shopping experience or to simplify the buying process. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-87.jpeg] VR TO VISUALIZE INTERIOR DESIGN Furniture stores sometimes offer interactive experiences for buyers that allow them to photograph a room and upload it to create a virtual simulation of the space. This takes the guesswork out of buying new furnishings, as the simulation may allow buyers to better visualize hues, texture and size/shapes. Macy’s, for example, offers the Virtual Room Designer. After the image of the room is uploaded, buyers can rearrange furniture and add in new pieces to see how they may look at home. This feature allows buyers to know if a nightstand will complement the bed…or look completely out of place. It also ensures that the piece of furniture will fit in the space! Ikea also offers a virtual showroom. Ikea’s Virtual Home Experience, however, is only available in store. The functionalities of the showroom, though, let users delve deep into their creative imagination. Ikea’s website notes that the application lets users swap in furniture, change lighting (to see how the room may look at night or during the day), and opt for different fabrics and hues. Ikea’s VR application is powered by the Oculus Rift. AR TO CHANGE OUR APPEARANCE AR can change the way we look…without changing anything! VR/AR programs allow users to upload photos and make changes to their hair, try makeup hues and, yes, even view plastic surgery results without undergoing the surgery. Wonder how you might look with a smaller nose? There is an AR technology to preview the new virtual you. Sephora and other big beauty names allow users to upload a photo and try on products virtually. On the fence about a lipstick hue? Try it on virtually and see if it’s flattering…or a fail. For Sephora and other companies, this convenient tool may help reduce returns and maybe even lead to more purchases. If more than one eyeshadow looks amazing via the virtual preview, buyers may be more inclined to purchase multiple hues…especially if there is less uncertainty about the purchase. Going for a bold short chic haircut may seem like a big decision. In the past, the potential answer to the burning question of ‘how will it look?’ remained a mystery until the style was completed. However, with AR apps like The Hair Styler, users can try on different styles and colors. Cosmetologists may see a benefit from these apps, as now their clients can show them specifically what they want and how they want it to look. Since the new style will be displayed on the client’s own photo, the style request can be visualized a bit more accurately. In the past few years, cosmetic surgeons have seen an uptick in younger clientele. Today, it isn’t unusual for someone in their 20s to request fillers or perhaps even Botox. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner, who has openly admitted to having lip fillers, also have made these minor cosmetic procedures much more acceptable. However, more invasive procedures like rhinoplasty or face lifts may cause a bit of trepidation for those who are unsure what to expect from the augmentation. Face Touch Up helps take some of the guesswork out of these procedures; surgeons can use this app to show patients the final look after surgery. While the photos might not be an exact recreation, it can help patients visualize the results post-surgery. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-88.jpeg] AR FOR A VIRTUAL FITTING ROOM Retail fashion stores shut down during Covid didn’t have the means to let customers try on clothes. Even now, those fitting rooms may be locked for sanitation reasons to help stop the spread of the virus. FXMirror may transform the way consumers shop for clothes in the store, as the technology eliminates the need for the store to have a fitting room. FXMirror includes a processor, Kinect camera, a wifi router, a virtual fitting application and a Cloth Authoring Tool (aka CAT). The technology works by taking a snapshot of the individual in 3D; measurements are captured that allow for a personalized avatar (choose your own image or a generated avatar). According to the website, users can change hairstyles, skin complexion, and rotate the image for a rear view of an outfit. FXMirror also allows users to change their facial expression. FXMirror can access the full inventory of the boutique or store. While many fitting rooms are shut during the pandemic, these closed spaces also may present a risk for shoplifting. FXMirror and technology like it may help stores decrease the risk of theft while still providing a convenient virtual space for trying on clothing. Virtual reality and augmented reality offer many benefits to businesses. This technology can help facilitate more seamless customer service interactions—especially for simple requests—and it also can improve employee training programs and give a boost to customer satisfaction/retention. Virtual customer service assistants are a primary example of how many companies already utilize this technology. In addition, companies that offer VR training for employees may be the wave of the future, as more industries look for ways to better prepare employees for different scenarios they may face in their new job. VR/AR used as a way to provide insight about purchases can amplify a company’s customer satisfaction and retention rates; virtual reality showrooms, AR programs that provide previews of beauty products and even a VR virtual fitting room all provide customers with the means to see a product before they make their purchase. VR may be a solution to ensure that the customer is always right, while simultaneously minimizing the risk of returns or losing customers because an employee wasn’t right for the role.
Virtual Reality – Changing How Cars Are Made
October 14, 2020
The automotive industry has been adopting new ways to work for a while now, since virtual reality and augmented reality started to expand how real-world businesses could function. There has been a strong adoption of these technologies in many other sectors. In the automotive industry, virtualized realities are becoming key functions in work processes, from mapping out car ideas to the production of finished vehicles. Showrooms have adopted virtual reality as a sales tool which allows salespeople to show off any car of the brand, without needing to have them in stock at the time. What’s more, virtual reality can also demonstrate the different trim levels and upgrades available across the brand, which is of great assistance to upselling. Virtual reality and augmented reality are being looked at and developed for use inside vehicles, and this is expected to expand as 5G makes truly autonomous vehicles possible. From heads-up displays for the driver, night vision, or virtual reality activities for passengers, the uses being discovered are expanding. It is expected that in the future, many will be able to enjoy virtual environments and games as they travel, or even work on virtualized devices. These uses of virtual reality are promoted quite heavily, but one area often overlooked is the research and development stage. Products have been modeled and designed in applications for a long time now, normally presenting 3D models on 2D screens. Now, however, virtual reality is adding a new dynamic to the development process and also opening up the possibility of totally new design concepts for car interiors. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-80.jpeg] HOW CAN VIRTUAL REALITY ASSIST DESIGN? Research and design are complicated and expensive processes, especially where cars are concerned. Manufacturers often spend years refining a single-vehicle. CAD has been a major player in the industry for a long time but is now transitioning towards integrated virtual reality CAD designs. The benefit of virtual reality is that it can provide lifelike, lifesize, and interactive designs. While modeling on a computer screen is quite effective, being able to see designs to scale, use x-ray vision, and even test them against realistic real-world simulations adds new dynamics to the design process. The fact that the environment is virtual also helps to increase design collaboration. It doesn’t matter where experts or investors are located, they can join a virtual room to view and collaborate on designs. With all of the company’s experts and invested parties able to easily be a part of the ongoing development of a design, it allows for continuous progressive development and feedback. This is more favorable to creating “complete” designs and then presenting them only to find that major adjustments are needed. Instead, any element of the vehicle can easily be viewed and reviewed remotely at any stage. With a virtual model, there is also a more complete feel to the design. Being able to see it to size, move around it, interact with elements and more can help to check the design and functionality better. This can help with everything from aesthetics to finding issues and faults. The virtual reality environment allows not only for design but also for interactive testing of the designs, allowing designers to see if the things work and if they could be viable. According to seat-mediacenter.com: “This technology succeeds in reducing production time of the prototypes by 30%”. Virtual reality has reached the point where a virtual vehicle could be test driven in a virtual world and how it would respond is almost exactly how it would respond when driven in the real world. This effective reviewing of designs helps to speed up every step, from design through to production, and later virtual reality even helps with online and real-world sales. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-81.jpeg] HOW THE USE OF VIRTUAL REALITY COULD AFFECT DESIGN FEATURES We mentioned earlier that virtual reality and augmented or mixed reality could become a big feature of the automobile traveling experience in the future. This, in itself, is likely to affect how cars are designed. While automation is surely going to change the operation and layout of vehicles, virtual elements could also, in theory, replace current real-world objects. This could, to some degree, even work with manually operated vehicles or remote drivers, allowing for virtual elements to control aspects of the vehicle. In this sense, we are talking about the possibility of removing a lot of the real-world “interactive parts” from cars, and instead, replacing them with virtual objects. This could either greatly simplify interior designs, swaying more towards space and comfort, or allow for totally different approaches to interior vehicle design. Elements in the car could also be hidden or interactive by using touch, light, or motion sensors and information systems within the vehicle that interlink with the virtual reality concepts. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-82.jpeg] HOW VIRTUAL REALITY COULD CHANGE PROTOTYPES Coming up with nice and intuitive designs is one thing, but developing a working prototype is a whole different level. Each development will go through numerous levels of design, discussion, fixes, redesigning, and testing. If any mistakes are made during this process, the costs can be extremely high. The smallest design fault can lead to halted production or even a total recall of all vehicles sold. This kind of error has further-reaching costs as well, as a brand’s image and consumer trust can be negatively impacted. Even detecting issues early in the process can cause considerable expense and delays, especially where key components are concerned or being produced for a real-world prototype. This is why it is so important that designers can both effectively design but also collaborate with experts and test design ideas at each step. Virtual reality is a major asset in every part of this process. It allows developers to visualize the vehicle in a life-sized and interactive environment. Seeing designs at scale can greatly help with detecting issues or flaws that could impact usability, function, or development. Being able to operate or use the designs as they are intended for the real-world only adds more insight to this testing phase. It also allows experts from any area of the company, or even remote consultants, to collaborate on any part of the design or even the final concept. How parts function or even how an entire engine should perform can be tested. What’s more, numerous situations such as weather, sea level, different surfaces, and more can be simulated to see how things work. The simplest of mechanisms can be tested, observed, and refined. As the vehicle can be actively interacted with, layout and accessibility issues also become clearer when observed on a functional lifesize model. If issues are found, depending on the advancement of the virtual reality system, it could even be possible to make real-time corrections or switch in already existing alternative designs. TESTING AND DRIVING THE FINAL VERSION Whereas before virtual reality any level of real testing required a prototype to be constructed and thoroughly tested, with virtual reality the testing phase can begin before any real-world construction. Virtual prototyping is now a reality, using a combination of interactive virtual reality and powerful computing to generate realistic and detailed prototypes, as well as ‘real world’ scenarios to place them in. The days of needing numerous clay models and prototypes are mostly gone. While they may still have some uses, the new virtual models use ‘materials’ that have all the properties of their real-world counterparts. Designers and engineers can check everything from styling to aerodynamics. Automotive manufactures are already using virtual reality design, as well as using it in other parts of the production process. As stated by thedrive.com “It would no longer be necessary to produce multiple physical models of various items to piece together and potentially reject due to fitment or design conflicts.” This is a huge step, as the research and design stages are both reduced and become more streamlined with the introduction of virtual design and testing. It also isn’t only the outside or mechanics of the car that can be tested in a virtual space. With advanced virtual environments, it is possible to test what it is like to be in the car and traveling on a journey. This can also be linked to ‘real-world’ effects, such as a mockup of the driver’s area, wind, engine vibrations, etc. Some of these systems allow for live adjustments so that designers can test different styles of items, or even quickly sketch out a new idea from within the simulation. Many showrooms today are already providing customers with virtual tours of cars, including virtual test drives. While this technology has been around for a while now, new business uses and improvements are constantly being conceived and implemented. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-83.jpeg] HOW VIRTUAL REALITY IS IMPROVING THE PRODUCTION STAGE Staff can now be trained in virtual environments before being set to work in the real world. This allows them to learn, practice, fail, and practice some more in a virtual and safe environment. The training can be created by the design staff and engineers that are specialists in prototype design. Each aspect can also later be adjusted, should any further errors occur. By allowing training from the experts on a particular vehicle design to be used to educate production staff in any area of the company, issues are often avoided. As an added benefit, the virtual environment doesn’t require resources or machinery, which reduces costs and allows the production line to continue functioning at full speed during training. Experienced staff members are also not required to undertake training or to take time out to monitor new trainees, helping to increase productivity overall. When the trainee is eventually ready to start work on the real-world production process, they can still be guided by augmented reality or mixed reality as they work. These headsets can overlay information on the real world, highlight issues, catch malformations, and much more. Even notifications and warnings can be sent remotely to these virtual devices. TO SUM UP The automotive sector has been quick to adopt virtual technologies. They have been using them for years, and have found intuitive and inventive ways of incorporating virtual worlds into real workflows. When it comes to prototyping, there are significant advantages to this technology. However, virtual reality has impacted many aspects of automotive production and will likely continue to be adopted further. To date, some of the impacts of using virtual reality and mixed reality in the automotive industry include: * Increased safety for trainees and employees * Increased productivity * Less downtime * Reduced costs across various areas * Improved collaboration without travel * Faster and more cost-effective prototypes * Consumer engagement There are likely many other benefits, but it isn’t hard to see why more and more businesses, particularly in industry, are adopting these virtual approaches to design, testing, training, working, and much more.
Trends to Watch in Augmented and Virtual Reality
October 12, 2020
Last year saw considerable growth in the virtual reality and augmented reality sectors. This, however, was before COVID-19 swept the world. With many stuck at home, attention has increasingly turned towards home entertainment and remote working approaches. In 2020, Apple has also shown more development interests, recently purchasing NextVR as well as registering numerous patents for VR and AR focused technology. While entertainment is a strong focus, VR and AR are also expanding into numerous other sectors. Some interesting trends include sectors such as the marketing, education, consulting, and medical sectors. Here we look at some of the most interesting and potentially life-changing trends of VR and AR, including where things are likely to head next. TOP VR TRENDS OF 2020 VR has been around the longest of these two sectors and has already proved quite popular with the gaming sector. However, the use of VR has expanded far beyond simply being an entertainment technology. EDUCATION VR is almost a perfect for offering education, especially for places or systems where access is not easy or not possible. In this sense, enhancing education with VR technology can help students to gain a deeper understanding of the way things work. This can be anything from the internal workings of the human body, to what makes up a star. With VR, the student can see live representations, see multiple layers, and interact with the environment. In Myanmar, UNESCO reported, “more than 5,000 of the country’s 500,000 teachers have had a chance to become acquainted with the technology”. In this case, VR is being used in normal classroom scenarios in an affordable way that brings the subject to life. THEAPPSOLUTIONS also predicts that “Education is expected to be the 4th biggest sector for VR investments”. It is also perfect for training staff, particularly when dealing with potentially hazardous or dangerous situations. The need for learning the ‘theory’ and then applying it in a real-world situation is removed. Instead, students can learn the theory and then practice in a VR world. Whether a soldier or a chemical waste disposal expert, being able to practice in a VR situation is a great opportunity for ‘almost’ real experience. COVID-19 has added extra fire to the idea of distance learning, new and intuitive approaches to VR learning are coming out for ‘normal’ education. This can allow students to study partly or fully from home, but also gain socialization and even experience group learning in VR environments via educational platforms. WEIGHT AND FREEDOM When it comes to headsets, size and weight make a big difference to the experience. Devices need to include the technology to provide a ‘realistic’ and believable experience. However, they also need to be wearable for considerable periods and comfortable. The weight of devices has decreased, while also allowing for more power and other included technology such as stereo sound. The increased ‘onboard’ power has allowed for devices such as Facebook’s Oculus Quest to be self-contained. As tech progresses, the need to be connected to processing devices may reduce or even vanish. MERGING TECH As things progress, VR devices are also gaining some AR characteristics. This is achieved via video passthrough. The device can display both what is being ‘seen’ by its cameras, as well as what is created by the software. To make this possible, there have been significant advances with devices and the incorporation of a high-res display, motion tracking sensors, high-end cameras, and more. The result is a visual environment that includes the ‘real world’ view while being able to alter it in any way programmed. It gives a highly realistic and immersive experience. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-76.jpeg] ECOMMERCE How we shop, or more importantly where we shop is going to change. For many, shopping from home is not a new idea and so the idea of virtual shopping isn’t that much of a stretch. However, with VR and AR, that shopping experience can be taken to an experience and interactivity level not previously possible. Shopping experiences will change, such as car sales potentially being almost entirely online. Shoppers could potentially experience a vehicle in full 360-degree views, get the specs, and interact with aspects of the car. It might even be possible in the future to remotely test drive a car. AR is already allowing you to ‘see’ the car in your actual environment. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-77.jpeg] TOP AR TRENDS OF 2020 As a slightly newer technology, augmented reality is gaining momentum. It is predicted to dramatically exceed the market sector of virtual reality by 2025. AR is getting some interesting uses, both in the gaming world and the business sector. For many, Pokemon Go was one of the first experiences of AR. This technology merges and alters the real world view. This combination of the real world with augmented objects is what makes it so versatile. One of the useful features of AR is that it doesn’t necessarily need special hardware to use it. A mobile phone or tablet can be used to display the visual and audio aspects of AR. However, for a more subversive experience, specialist headsets can also be used. AI IS CHANGING THE WORLD AI has changed many aspects of our daily lives, almost without us noticing it. From phones that adapt to user preferences, to fully-featured personal assistants, AI is changing how we interact with the web and how we run our lives. In regards to VR and AR, AI is providing a level of interconnection and ‘understanding’ that previously wasn’t possible or wasn’t easy to achieve. An example of this is how AI apps can understand what they are seeing. This results in more accurate augmented experiences, such as that with camera filters and animations that perfectly apply to what is seen by the camera. Instagram and other fun camera apps are good examples of this technological merger. AI is not only applied to fun apps and games. AI is already changing how we travel in some areas, such as in airports that provide apps that integrate with numerous ‘data providers’ of the airport to provide everything from augmented navigation to the latest customer updates. A major example of this use is seen in Gatwick Airport, although over the next year it is expected that there will be more airports adopting similarly modern approaches. AI can help with navigation, flight information, contacting customers or staff, and even helps with immigration control, such as with facial recognition technology. AI and AR have the potential to change how businesses and customers interact, providing each with a customized experience, and smoothing the processes for all. As AI capabilities expand further, it is likely that what is possible to achieve with AR will also grow. HEALTHCARE, COMMERCE, AND INDUSTRY AND MORE These developing technologies are providing interesting solutions to healthcare and other industries. AR, for example, could help to guide and support doctors by overlaying information or even showing inside a patient. With remote technologies and data rates improving, remote consultations are possible. There are already designs and prototypes of healthcare pods, where the patient can get basic scans, tests, and even consult with a doctor from wherever the pod is deployed. However, the uses of VR and AR go far beyond consultations. Treatment of phobias can be performed in safe virtual environments, AI could combine with AR to assist with surgeries, and with the assistant of machines, it is expected that in a future that surgeries could even be performed entirely remotely. Who knows, maybe the surgeon could even be an AI. In regards to industry usage, similar applications are limitless. From remote controlling devices or robots to simulating dangerous environments for practice and training, how we do business is sure to evolve with these technologies. AR is also helping people to shop and enjoy the experience. Interactive AR features provide a ‘fun’ novelty to a normal shopping experience. A recent report showed that “Nearly 61% of customers chose shops that offer AR technology over normal shops”. MOBILE POWER One aspect that is increasing the use of AR apps and games is easier access to powerful mobile devices. Devices have become both more powerful and more affordable. While the top brands may ask around $1000 for their latest flagship model, there are lesser-known brands producing high-spec phones for a fraction of the price. This increased availability means that income isn’t so much of a divide and that most areas of the world are connected with mobile technology and web access. Increased specs also result in more enjoyable user experiences and allow for more sensors, camera lenses, graphic processing, and memory for AR apps and games. As mobile technology continues to develop, what is possible as far as VR and AR are likely to grow accordingly. BROWSER POWERED AR & VR EXPERIENCES While this has been around for a while, developments in supporting technologies are expanding what is possible with the ‘immersive web’. With this technology, there is no need for people to download specific experiences but instead can experience them almost live via supporting browsers and mobile devices. The type of experience can range dramatically, from full 360-degree videos to visualizations and graphics augmentations of the real world. It is everything from the real world recordings to a fully virtualized experience. AR development platforms are also helping to expand things further, providing developers with the tools that they need to create amazing content. Even Apple recently released access to their tool called ARKit, hinting at more to be coming from them soon. The benefit of entirely online web experiences is convenience and expanded audience. This is, even more, the case as compatible technology becomes more affordable and more powerful. As 5G enters the scene, what is capable via the internet is expected to expand considerably. THE POSSIBILITIES OF 5G 5G will allow faster and larger data transfer rates than were previously possible. This means more can be ‘instantly’ accessed from the cloud, as well as the possibility for almost instantaneous communication from anywhere connected. This connectivity changes how we can access data and what is achievable within the restraints of bandwidth. With rates as those announced by Telekom.com “A speed of three gigabits per second was measured. Under ideal conditions, the 5G speed should in future reach up to 10 Gbit/s, the equivalent of a 20-fold increase”, what we can do in the cloud is going to evolve significantly. For example, processing power could potentially be moved to large cloud-based centers, VR or AR content could be cloud-based without lags, and international connectivity could allow for self-driven autonomous vehicles or even remotely driven vehicles to become a reality. All of this could lead to the centralization of the processing aspects, significantly reducing the hardware requirements of devices (and therefore, their related costs should also reduce). [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-78.jpeg] THE FUTURE OF AR AND VR We expect this technology to continue growing. It could end up with devices supporting both technologies in some cases. AR is likely to expand beyond VR, as it has many more possible ‘real world’ applications, especially where the business uses and commerce are concerned. AR offers an enhanced experience of the real world we live in. As AI and IoT develop and merge with this technology, possibilities expand. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-79.jpeg] Education and training are also likely to adopt using VR/AR in many areas, from training military personnel, to homeschooling or bringing history to life. There is a potential for how we communicate and socialize evolve, as we have seen from mobile phone usages and expansion. As this technology shrinks and processing moves to the cloud, it is even feasible that AR and AI could be delivered through contact lenses or other compact devices.
The 5 Biggest Virtual and Augmented Reality Trends in 2020
October 9, 2020
The augmented reality and virtual reality markets have grown significantly over the years. In 2017, the market was valued at $9.1 billion. But in just three years, the value of the market has more than doubled to $18.8 billion. Most importantly, there are no signs that the market will slow down in the near future. As the market continues to grow, companies will most likely find new and exciting ways to use augmented and virtual reality technologies. How are companies using these technologies this year? Here are some of the biggest virtual and augmented reality trends of 2020: #1: MORE WIDESPREAD USE ACROSS INDUSTRIES Many people associate both virtual reality and augmented reality technologies with the gaming industry. It’s true that these technologies are widely embraced by companies in the gaming industry, however, this is far from the only industry that can benefit from the use of augmented and virtual reality. Experts have known this all along, and in 2020, companies from a wide range of industries have finally realized it, too. In fact, it’s hard to find an industry that hasn’t started to incorporate augmented and virtual reality technologies into its products or services. For example, companies in the automotive industry have relied on augmented and virtual reality technologies to create virtual showrooms for consumers who want to shop for a new vehicle from the comfort of their own home. These technologies are also being used to enhance the patient experience in the healthcare industry. Some mental health professionals rely on virtual reality technology to safely treat patients who suffer from severe anxiety or phobias. There are even augmented reality apps that help nurses find veins in a patient’s arm to make the process of inserting an IV easier. In manufacturing, augmented and virtual reality is making it easier than ever before to assemble new products. Workers no longer need to consult a manual or ask for help if they need help figuring out how to assemble a product. Instead, they can use an augmented reality headset to project the instructions onto their surrounding environment. This allows them to reference the written step-by-step instructions or watch a how-to video while they assemble the product. Thanks to this widespread use of both technologies, augmented reality and virtual reality are no longer limited to the gaming world. #2: EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies have been used to provide a number of new exciting educational opportunities throughout 2020. Virtual reality can be used to transport students to other real-world environments that they would have never been able to experience without this technology. For example, students who are learning about the solar system may be able to use virtual reality technology to take a virtual visit to outer space. This gives the students the opportunity to virtually experience the living conditions on other planets for themselves. There’s no doubt that students can learn more from this type of experience than they would by simply reading about the solar system in a textbook. This isn’t the only way that augmented and virtual reality technologies are disrupting the education industry. These technologies can also be used to enhance the experience of distance learning. Using augmented and virtual reality technologies to teach distance learners ensures that every student can learn in a collaborative environment regardless of whether or not they are physically present in the classroom. Augmented and virtual reality technologies are creating educational opportunities in the workplace, too. In the past, workers may have been required to sit through hours of training sessions in order to learn how to perform certain job duties. But now, there are other on-the-job training options available thanks to virtual and augmented reality technologies. For example, MAN CEON TechGuide is an app available through mobile devices and augmented reality headsets. Using augmented reality technology, this app gives engineers the opportunity to choose how they want to receive on-the-job training materials. Engineers who are visual learners can choose between 3D models, animations, and videos. But engineers that are auditory learners may prefer having the information read aloud to them through their mobile device or headset. By giving engineers these options, this augmented reality product has made it easier than ever before for these workers to receive on-the-job training. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-73.jpeg] #3: ENHANCED CONSUMER EXPERIENCES Many companies are using virtual and augmented reality technologies to enhance the consumer experience. These technologies are often used to create “virtual try-on” experiences for online shoppers. This has become increasingly popular in the cosmetics and beauty industry. For example, Garnier uses augmented reality technology to give consumers the opportunity to “try out” different hair colors before purchasing the company’s hair dye. L’Oreal Paris goes one step further by allowing its consumers to try out different hair colors in addition to shades of lipstick, blush, eyeshadow, and other cosmetic products. This gives consumers the chance to use L’Oreal products to give themselves a virtual makeover from the comfort of their own home. Beauty brands aren’t the only companies that have started to use augmented and virtual reality to enhance the shopping experience for consumers. This is also a major trend in the automotive industry. Several automotive manufacturers use these technologies to provide a “virtual showroom” experience to consumers. Using technology in this manner gives consumers the opportunity to tour and inspect vehicles without ever stepping foot in a dealership. As a result, consumers can gather the information they need on various vehicles to make purchase decisions without leaving home. Brands in the furniture and home goods industry have also embraced augmented and virtual reality technologies. Thanks to these technologies, consumers can see how specific furniture or décor pieces would look in their home. There’s no need to rely on their imagination to visualize how everything will look together—consumers can now see for themselves by projecting images of furniture or décor pieces onto their real world environment. These are some of the many ways that these technologies are being used to enhance the shopping experience for consumers. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-74.jpeg] #4: BETTER HEADSETS In the past, the only way to experience virtual reality or augmented reality was to wear a bulky, restrictive headset. In addition, some of the earliest models needed to be plugged into a computer in order to work. These clunky, uncomfortable, and immobile headsets may have made virtual and augmented reality unappealing to consumers. But this shouldn’t be a problem for much longer since better virtual and augmented reality headsets are finally on the way in 2020. This year, augmented and virtual reality headsets are becoming smaller, more mobile, and far more powerful. For example, Facebook released a new Oculus virtual reality headset that no longer requires a connection to a PC. Because it no longer requires a PC connection, the new Oculus headset allows consumers to experience virtual reality wherever they go. There are also rumors that Apple will introduce augmented reality glasses in the near future. According to industry insiders, the Apple glasses will look just like optical glasses, which would make them one of the smallest and most mobile augmented reality products on the market. The emergence of better headsets could make augmented and virtual reality products more appealing to consumers around the world. As more consumers start to purchase these innovative headsets, the demand for new augmented reality and virtual reality experiences will also rise, which means the market for these technologies will continue to boom for years to come. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-75.jpeg] #5: NAVIGATIONAL TOOL Another trend that emerged in 2020 is the use of augmented and virtual reality technologies as navigational tools. The Google Maps app, for instance, uses augmented reality technology to provide walking directions to its consumers. How does it work? The app is designed to use your camera and location information to determine exactly where you are and what steps you need to take to get to your final destination. As you start walking, arrows, signs, and other digital elements will be imposed onto your environment as shown through your smartphone. For example, the app may impose an arrow next to a street that you are approaching to tell you that you need to turn on that street. Using augmented reality technology in this manner makes it easier for pedestrians to figure out how to get to where they need to go. Google isn’t the only company that is using augmented reality to provide directions to consumers. A number of automotive manufacturers, including Mercedes, Cadillac, and Hyundai, also use augmented reality technology to provide directions to drivers. For example, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade is designed with an augmented reality navigation system. A live view of the street will be shown on the vehicle’s instrument panel, which makes it easy for the driver to see without taking their eyes off of the road. Using augmented reality, digital elements will be imposed on this live view of the street to provide drivers with navigational directions. This trend will most likely become increasingly popular in the years ahead. Experts believe that the next step will be using augmented reality to design apps that help consumers find their way around large venues. For example, augmented reality apps may help consumers find a specific store in a shopping mall or locate their departure gate in an airport. The opportunities are endless when it comes to using augmented and virtual reality technologies to create new or enhance existing navigational tools. These are some of the many ways that companies are using augmented and virtual reality technologies in 2020. It’s safe to assume that countless other augmented reality and virtual reality trends will emerge in the year ahead as a growing number of companies begin to use these technologies to attract new customers and stay competitive.
Nissan Rogue 2021 Production Starts in Tennessee, U.S.
October 7, 2020
The long-awaited Nissan Rogue 2021 is coming to America. Production has already kicked off at the Nissan Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant in Tennessee. This high-tech vehicle is being produced in an award-winning facility. While the factory itself is quite advanced, this production is being led with some of the most advanced technologies and approaches possible for automobile production lines. The Nissan Rogue contains a lot of technology itself, but this time its development process will be using cutting-edge virtual technology and assistive robots are going to be used in its development. NEW CHALLENGES FROM THE NEW NORMAL COVID19 has placed new requirements on many companies across all industries. This was no different for the Nissan factory, after months of not being able to work in the factory at all, returning to work recently presented new challenges to the way staff could operate. The staff didn’t stop working while the factory was shut either. Instead, they helped to make thousands of face masks to protect the local community, a tribute to the brand and its commitment. The factory was opened up slowly in stages, allowing for adjustments to be made and new measures introduced. COVID19 meant it was in for more things such as plexiglass barriers, social distancing areas, and of course the beloved masks. However, for the workers at the factory, masks and other safety gear such as goggles are often a normal part of working on the production line. Even areas for relaxation had to be changed drastically since the start of the pandemic. Social distancing is maintained, and barriers are used in areas where masks are removed for eating or drinking. In addition to all of this, there is the necessity to sterilize the factory. And so, frequently throughout the day (approximately every two hours) production needs to be halted and all tools and areas that are touched frequently need to be fully sterilized. Despite all of this, the staff is upbeat about the new production of the Nissan Rogue coming to their facility. WHAT’S NEW ABOUT THE 2021 NISSAN ROGUE PRODUCTION? Over the years we have seen increased automation of production lines across many industries. With virtual reality, augmented reality, and 5G, the possibilities of both automation and human collaboration are increasing. Robots are even collaborating, and able to adjust to scenarios as required. David Johnson, vice president, Production Engineering and New Model Quality for Nissan North America stated “Not only have we improved the way we build the new Rogue, the team is using this new technology to build all the vehicles in our U.S. plants with better efficiency and quality for customers,” In this sense, two key aspects were mentioned in a recent press release: 1. Virtual Reality – While this has been used for a while for design and training purposes, this time the use was taken a step further. Virtual reality with realistic properties was used to not only design aspects of the new cars but to test them as well. Potential issues were refined and fixed before production even began. This was due to virtual collaboration and reviews as a part of the development. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-70.jpeg] 1. Cobots – This launch sees the largest number of collaborative robots used on the production line than on any other car created by Nissan. The robots are generally used to perform repetitive tasks to improve quality and safety. However, they also mean that existing staff are free to be reassigned to areas that require a more human touch. With these two areas combined, considerable amounts are saved in time and costs. By working out issues virtually, it saves wasted resources, delays, and possible vehicle issues down the line. The Cobots also help to increase safety, reduce chances of RSIs (repetitive strain injuries), and speed up production. This time, due to restrictions and the staggered return to production after COVID19, most of the training was also done remotely. HOW VIRTUAL REALITY IS CHANGING AUTOMOBILE PRODUCTION LINES Virtual reality is steadily changing how we can experience digital objects and scenarios. In the automobile industry, there have been some great usage cases for these virtual approaches: [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-71.jpeg] * Factory Planning – The perfect factory floor layout can be planned in virtual reality. Not only can it be planned, but it can also be tested and refined * Car Design & Testing – Cars are being both effectively designed and tested in a virtual environment. As things are to scale and interactions realistic, often faults can be found and fixed before production or real-world models begin * Reviewing & Collaboration – Although many issues are detected during virtual design, some issues can occur when in the production stage. When this happens, the best minds can instantly collaborate on the issues and resolve them quickly via virtual meetings or redesigning in a virtual space. * Assembly Training – The best minds of the project can create standardized training for existing and new employees. This helps onboard them faster and develop the skills needed for production. * Maintenance Training – Whether maintenance of vehicles or factory machinery, virtual reality is perfect for this. * Increased Safety – As people can train as much as they need virtually, it reduces the risk of untrained staff being on production lines. Virtual mistakes don’t cost the company and don’t injure staff. * Remote Assistance – If there is an emergency or a specific skill is needed, instead of calling a specialist in, they can often offer remote assistance via augmented or virtual reality devices. * Remote Workers – Once 5G is rolled out across all areas, the possibilities of ‘live’ remote actions open up. This means that a specialist could work remotely in a virtual environment, and a robot or machine on the other end performs their actions. It may not be cost-effective for some aspects, but for dangerous environments or specialist skill sets, it could be extremely useful. In some places, augmented reality is also being used to detect anomalies, track stock, and more. The possible uses are continuing to be discovered. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-72.jpeg] WHAT IS THE NEW 2021 NISSAN ROGUE GOING TO OFFER? The Rogue is not new to the market as such, but this next model is packed with some exciting features. It is one of the best sellers for Nissan and in fact, this Smyrna assembly plant is getting another five to produce. A testament to their abilities and quality product approaches. Of course, as a best seller, it goes without saying that the 2021 Rogue needed to exceed 2020 expectations. So, here we take a look at what the new Rogue will offer: Engine-wise, buyers can expect a decent drive from the 181-horsepower engine. It is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder design that is connected to a continuously variable automatic transmission. This engine is more powerful than the last model and puts out 181 lb-ft of torque. There is also a choice between front-wheel or intelligent all-wheel drive. To keep buyers interested, the exterior has also had a redesign with some sleek features, focusing more on the family market by incorporating more in-car entertainment, safety -features, and comfort. Two-tone color options will also be available. According to NissanUSA, the car comes with 3 high-tech displays, a digital dashboard, and even a heads-up display that can project useful information onto the windshield, such as sat-nav directions. The Standard Safety Shield 360 is a major selling point of the vehicle. It is an advanced collection of driver’s assist and other safety features to both make driving a pleasure and the vehicle considerably safer. Safety Shield 360 includes: * Blind-spot warnings * Lane departure warnings * High beam assistance * Reversing automated braking * Rear alert for crossing traffic or pedestrians * Automated emergency braking that includes pedestrian detection NissanUSA also states that the intelligent all-wheel-drive system is advanced enough to tackle the trickiest of driving surfaces. It can adjust as required to allow safer driving on gravel, dirt, wet surfaces, and even snow and ice. The Nissan Rogue also comes with all of these included, even from the basic trim: * Keyless entry * Push-button startup * Hands-free and text messaging assistant * Apple CarPlay * Android Auto * Satellite radio * Heated front seats * Heated steering wheel * Heated mirrors * Automatic headlamps * Tire pressure monitoring (plus Easy Fill Tire Alert for correct pressures) * Two-tone exterior paint This is quite an inclusive range of technologies to be included at all trim levels. TO WRAP UP The Nissan Rogue is both full of the latest technology and also using the latest approaches in its development and production. Nissan is not the first company to take on virtual reality approaches in the automobile industry and is unlikely to be the last. Virtual reality, assistive robots, and modern work approaches via 5G is changing how we live and work.
Experts Predict Massive Growth In Augmented Reality In Automotive Industry
October 5, 2020
The automotive industry continues to change and evolve year after year. Now, innovations in augmented reality (AR) are being incorporated into the automotive industry. According to a recent study, the global augmented reality automotive market is projected to reach USD 9 Billion by 2025 due to the growth in technological advancements, growing connected vehicles, and growing consumer demand for more in-vehicle safety features. The global augmented reality automotive market’s consistent growth and demand is also dependent on the region, with North America dominating the market in 2019 and will likely continue to rise in the next five years alone. BENEFITS OF AUGMENTED REALITY IN AUTOMOTIVE Automotive companies’ investments in augmented reality can greatly benefit drivers in many ways such as: * Enhanced auto retail experience * Convenient shopping and buying research * Increased safety features * Advancements in self-driving automobiles Augmented reality can also benefit manufacturers by: * Easier design and prototype creation * Streamlining assembly process * Increased speed and safety for car repairs HOW WILL AUGMENTED REALITY AFFECT DRIVERS? Augmented reality will likely change the way that drivers shop for cars as well as enhance the driving experience. For the most part, it seems that augmented reality will actually make roads safer as the primary usage for AR in vehicles seems to focus on safety features. However, an increasing demand in self-driving cars will likely also drive the market in the future. CHANGES IN BUYING BECAUSE OF COVID-19, BUT LASTING CONSUMER PREFERENCES This projected increase could also be in part to changes in how consumers shop for automobiles. In general, online retail and spending has continued to increase year after year. Many online retailers are incorporating augmented reality into their online shopping experience. You can now find options for “virtual try-ons” on many online retail shops such as Warby Parker which uses such technology to allow customers to “try on” glasses before ordering them. Auto retail has also adopted online retail techniques but has not caught up to the complete augmented reality experience, until now. The impact of COVID-19 on consumers’ purchasing practices has forced the automotive market to completely rethink their selling techniques and consumer shopping experience, and this new experience in auto retail is likely to be a permanent shift. The global augmented reality automotive market’s boost can likely be attributed to the higher demand in online and at-home shopping experiences. With augmented reality and virtual reality, consumers can now “try on” a car from the comfort of their homes. Virtual showrooms are increasingly the way buyers prefer their car shopping experience. Consumers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable before purchasing. Even if they are planning on viewing the vehicle in-person, many buyers prefer to research and view the car before going to a dealership. They can now view not just the exterior of a car but also the interior as if they are actually sitting inside the vehicle. They can even view color options and added features before purchasing and can view all these options without ever having to go to a dealership. This change in consumer shopping habits plays a big role in the increased demand in augmented reality and virtual reality availability. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-15.jpeg] FULFILL CONSUMER IN-VEHICLE SAFETY DEMANDS Along with a shift in how buyers choose to shop for a car, the automotive industry needs to meet the demands and needs of today’s consumers. The demand for more in-vehicle safety features has also helped to fuel the global augmented reality automotive market. Drivers are increasingly looking for safety features in a car that anticipates and avoids accidents. More and more buyers are looking for vehicles that have more advanced and innovative safety features such as blind spot detection and panoramic rear views. These safety features can often make-or-break a buyer’s choice. Augmented reality in the automotive market can also satisfy consumer’s increasing demands for self-driving vehicles in the future. Tesla already has self-driving features in their vehicles, and it is likely they will merge these features with their AR developments in future vehicles. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-68.jpeg] CURRENT USAGE OF AR IN CARS Augmented reality might seem like something futuristic, but many auto companies are already implementing AR into their vehicles. Many companies are also using augmented reality for their vehicle’s manuals. A driver can download an accompanying app and use the app and computer vision to identify features in the car then learn more about use as well as give important information about maintenance. Another current usage of AR in vehicles are heads up displays (HUD). Many automotive companies such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Mazda already have vehicles that use this form of AR to help enhance the driving experience. Vehicles with HUD use augmented reality to project data for the driver such as: * Speed * Directions * Gas levels * Lane guidance * Parking assistance This information is projected onto the windshield so that drivers do not have to take their eyes off the road even for a second. With more advancements in AR, drivers will be able to receive more real-time data as they drive and have more control without ever looking away from the road. The overall potential of AR in automobiles helps to create a more enhanced experience for drivers that will also help reduce traffic accidents and improve longevity of vehicles. WHAT CHANGES CAN AUGMENTED REALITY BRING TO THE AUTOMOTIVE MARKET? The massive growth in the global augmented reality automotive market will not only bring changes and improvements to consumer experience and use, but it will also bring changes to design, manufacturing, and the auto repair industry. DESIGN AND PROTOTYPES Designing and creating prototypes for vehicles can be extremely costly and time consuming. However, using augmented reality, manufacturers can utilize existing models and overlay them with new designs and elements. Some automobile companies are also utilizing smart glasses to design vehicles. It is also a great way for collaboration on projects as edits on designs can be made immediately and shared with all participants. AR also helps to prevent costly manufacturing of prototypes. Immediate changes and improvements can be made to a virtual model rather than creating new physical prototypes with each design change. CAR ASSEMBLY Along with designing new vehicles, AR can help to streamline and boost accuracy in car assembly. Much of the car assembly process is actually still manual which can lead to errors and often makes for a slower process. However, AR can help to optimize the process of assembly to make it quicker, more accurate, and safer for workers. Some car manufacturers are looking into how to utilize augmented reality technology such as smart glasses to help production. Information would be displayed for workers and they can follow step-by-step instructions that are overlaid on specific parts. This can make the manual process more accurate and helps reduce human errors. Another way manufacturers, such as Tesla, are hoping to utilize AR in the assembly process is to use it as a form of quality inspection as the AR applications can scan for inaccuracies and precise measurements. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-69.jpeg] AR IN CAR REPAIR Augmented reality is helping automotive technicians to be able to perform complex repairs and maintenance to vehicles more accurately and quickly. Just as car manufacturers are providing drivers with AR manuals, they are providing similar interactive manuals for repairs. Many companies already implement this technology for their technicians. They use the manuals on mobile devices such as tablets to view step-by-step instructions. This helps to increase accuracy and makes the repair process quicker. New advances in augmented reality is helping to create innovative tools to help auto technicians connect to other support services quicker. In 2017, Porsche launched a new pilot program called Tech Live Look that incorporates using AR smart glasses. The technician wears the glasses as they are working and when they need assistance they can contact a remote support service worker. Through the AR smart glasses the remote worker can view exactly what the auto technician is working on and can guide them through the process. The pilot program in several Porsche dealerships showed a 40% reduction in repair time and the company now plans to expand the use of augmented reality to all their dealerships. GLOBAL INVESTMENTS IN AUGMENTED REALITY BOOSTS AUTOMOTIVE MARKET The growth and investment in the global augmented reality automotive market will change the automotive industry in many ways. While it will be costly to implement AR, it will actually save money for both manufacturers and drivers in the long run. Manufacturers will be able to design and produce vehicles easier, quicker, and more reliably. Drivers will have increased safety measures resulting in fewer car accidents, and they will see longevity in their vehicles with more enhanced safety and maintenance features. Investing in augmented reality can also help boost an automotive company’s appeal to consumers through virtual showrooms and dealerships. RelayCars can help enhance the virtual showroom experience with high quality images and an immersive online experience. Using RelayCars, shoppers can carefully research cars they are looking to purchase before even stepping foot in the dealership.
Hearing the World with Augmented Reality
October 2, 2020
Visual wearables are the most well-known type of this growing technology, most notably for the flop that was Google Glass. But, hearables are taking over as the hot new trend in augmented reality. From real-time navigation to responsive voice-enabled search features, in-ear devices are small, discreet, and easy to bring with you everywhere you go. Read on to learn how auditory wearable tech has grown within the AR sphere, and why experts expect that this technology is here to stay. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-65.jpeg] AUGMENTED REALITY VS. VIRTUAL REALITY Virtual reality has long used audio and visual elements to transport users to a completely manufactured digital world. Augmented reality, on the other hand, combines digital elements with the user’s real-world view. When it comes to the future of AR-enabled hearables, this distinction is important to understand because both technologies provide entirely different experiences for the user. As a result of the changes caused by COVID-19, much of the American workforce will be working from home for the foreseeable future. This has created a growing demand for smart hearables, which give remote workers additional flexibility. Common uses for smart aural wearables include: * Hands-free calling * Voice-activated web searching * Noise cancellation * Improved multitasking More advanced models are adapting their technology to act as a secondary “set of ears” for the wearer, from automatic Google searches to real-time language translation. Using hearables as a pathway for augmented reality tech creates an extra layer of insight into the information the wearer is already taking in. AI and interconnectivity with the internet of things gives users an unprecedented level of access, without the need for auxiliary equipment. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-66.jpeg] USES FOR AUGMENTED REALITY One of the most critical components of a successful augmented reality system is seamless interconnectivity. Excessive lag time or lack of compatibility between practical and digital objects can make the AR experience clunky and impossible to navigate. To ensure a fluid connection between the digital and real worlds, augmented reality-enabled wearables use one of two methods to distribute information. CUSTOMIZED CONTENT Did you know that advertisers often collect location information to create tailored experiences for different users? Using this feature, wearables provide brands with the perfect way to build individualized ad campaigns that users will enjoy and, as a result, engage with more. Everything from radio commercials to social media ads use demographic information to appeal to a specific audience. Since more and more consumers are preferring interactive media like music, audiobooks, podcasts, and video, in-ear devices provide the perfect platform for location-specific content. We’re spending more time than ever before on digital communication. As augmented reality gains more traction in the mainstream market, brands are already starting to capitalize on this segmentation tool. SPEECH RECOGNITION Absorbing audio information from the outside environment makes it possible for these devices to recognize, and subsequently, translate spoken language in real time. But, this is not the only use case for in-ear smart devices. Wearable audio devices are also used to aid computers in collecting and processing phonetic speech. Siphoning sounds present in spoken language allows artificial intelligence to build its digital knowledge base and “learn” about user behaviors. VIRTUAL ENTERTAINMENT Unfortunately, COVID-19 has quashed many of our travel plans this year. But, what if you could visit a world-famous art museum from your couch? Using immersive media via augmented reality, this technology is being applied for virtual entertainment. Similar to visual AR methods, hearable in-ear devices allow the reader to experience media with even more depth and engagement. Augmented reality allows these devices to incorporate auditory assisting in real time, such as supplementary information and synced music, using tools like: * Geo-location tracking * Activity monitoring/idle timekeeping * Device interconnectivity Wearables are growing in popularity as people look for more innovative ways to simplify their routines. Augmented reality provides an effective solution by following the user throughout their day, acting as a digital fly on the wall. While standard mobile assistants can provide some level of support, in-ear wearables keep the user connected 24/7, no matter their physical location. IMPROVED ACCESSIBILITY FOR MOBILE USERS Being able to layer digital audio elements over sounds that are being transmitted in real time makes mobile computing even more accessible for various users. This capability allows the individual to maintain a high level of control over this aspect of their sensory response. With augmented reality powering internet-enabled devices, the user can adjust the amount of external noise they’d like to take in. Additionally, they can control the sound levels of their AI assistant, incoming calls, background music, and more. For those who are especially sensitive to sensory overload, the incorproate of smart technology into hearable devices addresses a common and widespread gap in the market. MOBILE DEVICE COMPATIBILITY AND THE INTERNET OF THINGS Thanks to the IoT, mobile device users across all platforms, brands, and industries can keep their digital lives connected and running smoothly. This has made it easier than ever for wearable developers to tap into an exponentially growing consumer market. Hearing aids, for example, can the Internet of Things to improve the user’s safety by providing round-the-clock monitoring. If the device picks up interruptions in the user’s heart rate, breathing, it can use this data to make “informed” decisions about the person’s health. Audible devices use sensors, voice commands, contextual information, and auxiliary digital content to create a functional digital world that is accessible from anywhere, at any time. Instead of fully immersive VR programs that require reality-altering glasses or headsets, in-ear devices can apply augmented reality features over external noise and speech. From measuring interactions to new medications to notifying emergency services about a fall or accident, interconnected wearable technology has the potential to make the world safer and more secure for all individuals. PRACTICAL REAL-WORLD USES Safety is one of the primary catalysts to the development of this revolutionary system of technology. By reducing distractions and providing information seamlessly with the user’s day to day life. Interacting with real information in real time helps IoT-enabled devices to “learn” about the world through the ears of the user. Construction workers, for example, can apply this technology to stay alert and on task with in-ear alerts and hands-free notifications. This same functionality can keep workers safe by predicting dangerous situations and making the user aware of dangers like nearby ledges, heavy loads, and even personal injury from over exertion. With cloud-based connectivity and inter-device compatibility, in-ear tech can also utilize biometric data to keep the user safe and secure. POWER AND UTILITIES SUPPORT How are utility providers using the same technology that Snapchat uses to put freckles on its users? Turns out, auditory and visual components in the AR sphere have a significant amount of overlap. Power companies are using this development to improve their services. By siphoning user data related to their individual behaviors throughout the day, utility companies can use hearable tech to understand the behavior of their customers. Using this information, providers can create individualized service plans for both parties to save money and energy in the process. When it comes to task automation, in-ear tech is also helping companies save money by reducing project redundancies and improving efficiency on part of the technicians. Thanks to total hands-free access, in-ear devices make multitasking safer and more effective. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-67.jpeg] BIOMETRIC CONNECTIVITY FOR HEALTH APPLICATIONS Many of us already have biometric features in our smartphones, but hearables are taking this accessibility up a notch. Using biometric information such as movement, heart rate, and breathing patterns, AI-connected in-ear devices can learn about our individual habits to provide tailored, individualized health solutions. These futuristic devices are more intuitive than your standard heart rate monitor. Some manufacturers are already using photoplethysmography, which measures small changes in light reflectivity to gauge the wearer’s pulse and blood pressure. This development is also making wearable technology more comfortable by eliminating the need for additional equipment like wristbands and bulky sensors. Wearable technology is quickly becoming a wardrobe staple for just about everyone, for a variety of reasons from health to productivity. In-ear tech has the potential to completely change the way we live by reducing external distractions, improving sensory intake, and simplifying daily processes safely. With wearable technology becoming more mainstream and accessible than ever before, staying tapped into the web all day long is becoming a growing facet of daily life. Consumers are relying on augmented reality images and media to enhance and improve their day-to-day routines, and wearables are leading this dynamic market. If you’re looking for a way to give your multitasking skills a boost, these are just a few reasons why augmented reality is making waves within the auditory wearable industry.
Check Out the Latest Audis Inside and Out with Audi Virtual Reality
September 30, 2020
The way that people experience cars and the world in general, has been changing. Virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality are adding new ways of interacting with and experiencing the world around us. The German car manufacturer Audi saw the potential for how these technologies could change the automotive industry. It isn’t just that they can be used in cars for entertainment, but that these virtual elements are being used to enhance almost every step of the process. This is because these technologies can be used for almost everything, from training to the showroom. Numerous manufacturers are already using virtual reality as a way to train staff safely, allowing them to practice virtually before working on machinery or the production line. Audi has been using some level of virtual reality in its dealerships since 2016. Part of the experience has required staff adjustment, moving away from real world cars, and yet enabling sales through virtual experiences. Moving towards real-time and interactive visualizations takes dealerships to a new model. A headset can allow visitors to view car models in full detail and full size. However, what’s possible goes far beyond that. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-62.jpeg] HOW VIRTUAL REALITY IS IMPACTING AUDI SHOWROOMS Some think that virtual reality could replace real-world showrooms. However, it is unlikely to do that in the near future. Instead, the trend seems to be a combination of remote testing and view at home by potential customers, as well as in-store virtual reality experiences. Most shoppers nowadays will start with online research. Even those in actual stores considering a product will often look for reviews online before buying. The confidence in online shopping has dramatically grown since the early years, to the point that people are willing to buy cars and even houses online. However, for the sellers, the challenge has always been providing an end to end experience. With virtual reality, it is now possible for buyers to research, experience, and even test drive virtually – eventually leading to purchase, sometimes without even seeing the car. That said, it is not the end of showrooms. Many still like to be able to talk to someone, compare products, and get ‘expert’ advice. After all, not everything you read online is a fact. This is where virtual reality is becoming a powerful bridge and tool for salespeople in real-world showrooms. As reported by sytner.com “[Virtual reality] also opens up the possibility for small dealerships – that may only be able to store a small number of Audi new cars”. The use of virtual reality may reduce showroom sizes, but could also significantly increase showroom numbers as setup costs are greatly reduced, possibly allowing for previously unviable areas to get their showrooms. As an example of how this can work, the Audi virtual reality experience allows potential customers to view the full range of cars and options from one location. It isn’t a case of “sorry sir, we don’t have that model in stock” anymore. Instead, all models and upgrades can be stored virtually at every showroom, reducing stock requirements. The Audi system uses stereoscopic 3D rendering and real car construction models to develop its system with Zerolight. The result is virtualized cars that look real, inside and out. Even the inner workings of the engine and mechanisms are included in the experience. Customers can see more of the car than was possible with real-world demonstrations. As cars in the virtual world include every detail of their real-world counterparts but aren’t solid like their brothers and sisters, customers can see inside engines, doors, and more. While for many it isn’t a major selling point, it certainly is interesting to be able to view absolutely any aspect of a car. For those with experience and mechanical knowledge, this x-ray style insight into the mechanics behind the car’s features can also help to inspire confidence and increase interest. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-63.jpeg] HOW VIRTUAL REALITY IS CHANGING CAR SALES Audi has developed its virtual reality application and for most areas, this will run on the Oculus Rift headset. This allows for advanced car models that are realistic and explorable in every way. The graphics, as previously mentioned, are backed by the high-performance technologies of Zerolight. Taking the viewing any part of the vehicle aspect further, it does allow for sales staff to be able to not only show off the car, but also any new technologies that are built into the models being viewed. Instead of only being able to say the door as a new comfort seating system, it is possible for the customer to actually see it and even compare it to other vehicles. Most of the time, however, visitors want to see just a few models they like. While this was often possible from a normal showroom, for sales staff virtual reality expands things further. For example, say that a customer would like to see an Audi RS5. Before virtual reality, the sales staff could show off the RS5 in stock and any possible other models of interest that were in the showroom. With virtual reality as a sales tool, they can now show off the Audi RS5 and any Audi in the entire range that might be of interest to the customer. What’s more, not only can they show every vehicle of interest, but also every possible adjustment. This is because all of the virtualized cars are based on the real development plans of the real cars, carefully adding almost every detail to size and perfectly displayed. This means that should a customer want to see the sports trim, with a few extra add-ons, they can do so almost instantly with a few selections within the virtual reality experience. This is an incredibly powerful tool for selling upgrades, as instead of just hearing about the benefits, customers can visually experience exactly what they are considering buying. Audi is going full-on into incorporating virtual reality with its “Customer Private Lounges” across the region. To date, there are hundreds of dealerships with fully kitted lounges that show off the Audi range virtually. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-64.jpeg] This means that potential buyers can put on a headset in a safe environment to explore any car they choose. It allows them to configure the car as they please, within the available options. As the virtual world is fully immersive, the scale and vehicles in the virtual environment feel extremely realistic and to size. Even the lighting can be changed, so the car can be seen shimmering on a summer’s day, or looking aggressive in twilight lighting. This might seem a strange feature at first, but it is a great way for a buyer to see how the car ‘feels’ at night, particularly from the driving seat perspective. AUDI – A FOCUS ON VIRTUAL REALITY EXPERIENCES Despite all of the above points being great, for Audi, there is a strong desire to provide a real experience to their customers. Sure, being able to show off all of the features of all possible models is a step, but ideally, you want visitors to be inspired. After all, this is intended to be a sales tool, and nothing sells better than an amazing experience. It is for this reason that Audi took things one step further, but creating not only virtual environments to view cars, but also virtual experiences that relate to the cars. This isn’t just related to being in a car, or the environment where the car is set, but with Audi’s history and related experience. Customers can get to feel like they are at the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race, even to the extent of experiencing an ‘up close and personal’ pit stop via “special Audi moments”. OTHER WAYS AUDI IS USING VIRTUAL REALITY Audi has embraced extended reality (XR) for business. Extended reality is all forms of virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality. They are looking at how it can revolutionize the automobile industry. However, Audi isn’t just considering how it can assist with learning, guidance, and virtual meeting. They are also looking to the future, a future where soon we will likely be spending a lot more time in cars where vehicle engagement isn’t required. These extended realities will likely play a big part in keeping people entertained and connected while on the move. 5G is going to make real automation and even remote operation possible. However, with that bandwidth comes the possibility of live streaming games, events, and more to headsets or other virtual devices. This can be anything from making the journey more fun with mixed reality games or characters being added along the route, to being able to watch the game live in full virtual reality while being seated in the driver’s seat returning from work. How cars are seen and how the automotive industry works could be almost unrecognizable in the not too distant future. Assembly line workers could be both trained and able to work remotely with virtual or mixed reality, cars will become autonomous, and sales rooms could shrink and no longer need stock, and that’s if showrooms don’t eventually become entirely virtual … with the test drive vehicle autonomously delivering itself to your door.