Car Shopping: Virtual Reality Tips
July 21, 2021
Shopping at the car dealership might be so 20th century! Car shopping virtual reality-style might be the new trend in hunting for a new vehicle. Don’t go shutting the door to the dealership yet, though. Dealership trips can still be part of the process! If shopping for a car via virtual reality sounds a bit futuristic, well, this is the future! Get ready to step into a new reality! Here’s how to go car shopping in virtual reality. Buckle up and take a virtual ride! DOES A VIRTUAL REALITY CAR DEALERSHIP EXIST? While it’s possible to go car shopping using virtual reality, consumers may wonder if car dealerships have gone virtual. Does a virtual car dealership exist? While it might not be possible to put on a virtual reality headset and step into a local car dealership, there are virtual reality car showrooms that allow shoppers to preview and check out a huge inventory of vehicles. Local dealerships could offer their own virtual reality experiences. They also could offer a virtual tour of their own showroom online. Or they might even post a tour of their showroom via YouTube, and this experience also could be ‘virtual’…even if it isn’t virtual reality. Virtual experiences can take the place of the in-person experience, saving the shopper time and allowing them to browse at their leisure. Using a virtual showroom could be one of the first steps in the buying research process for consumers who might not know what type of vehicle they want. Or maybe a virtual showroom could be used to browse through many different vehicles just to virtually window shop. GO VIRTUAL FOR LESS PRESSURE While shoppers can still visit numerous different dealerships in their area or peruse their website, a virtual showroom can be useful for shopping without commitment or pressure. Do buyers love the high pressure of the dealership? Apparently…not so much. Edmonds.com conducted a survey of car buyers, and the results weren’t shocking. Ninety percent of those surveyed don’t want to negotiate, instead they’d rather just have the price set. More than 20 percent would go without sex for an entire month if they didn’t have to deal with all that negotiating! Meanwhile, Edmonds reported that 33 percent would choose that airplane middle seat, a visit to the DMV or handle their taxes instead of dealership negotiations. Millennials, though, disliked those negotiations more than Baby Boomers, according to the survey results. This could be because Boomers have more experience and the process of buying a car is more familiar to them. Or maybe their parents taught them a few tricks? Virtual shopping can help Millennials and all car shoppers delay those negotiations a bit. Instead of being pressured in the dealership, shoppers can take all the time they need trying to find the car that appeals to them. With the internet and virtual experiences, the computer can be shut down and shoppers can come back to the sites later. When researching online, shoppers can make notes about the cars and the features that they want and need. Then they can visit dealership sites to compare prices and prepare for their visit. Knowing what they want before the visit can help save time. However, shoppers still may have to negotiate at the actual dealership! Car Shopping: Virtual Reality Tips [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Navigating-Through-a-Virtual-Car-Showroom.jpg] NAVIGATING THROUGH A VIRTUAL CAR SHOWROOM RelayCars offers a virtual car showroom with a massive inventory of makes and models. Shoppers can visit the online virtual car showroom to explore all the virtual vehicles. When visiting RelayCars’ website, users can enter the virtual showroom on the site’s main page. They will see a form that allows them to select the make, model, year and trim. How far back do the model years run? That depends on the vehicle. When available, RelayCars may offer models as far back as five years…or maybe more. Once the user has selected their vehicle option, they can view it virtually. Using the mouse, the car can be viewed from different angles and turned around to view different vantage points. Users can even look inside the vehicle. RelayCars also lets users view the vehicle in different paint hues, however the paint options are based on the options for the make/model. WHAT ABOUT PRE-OWNED CARS? Many car buyers opt for preowned cars. While RelayCars allows users to look at past model years, the site does not provide images of a specific dealership’s pre-owned inventory. Shoppers that are interested in a specific model year can use RelayCars as a resource for reference purposes. When shoppers are looking at preowned options, they should contact their local dealer for more photos of their inventory. SHOPPERS DON’T NEED A HEADSET! Virtual reality might conjure up images of big bulky headsets and space-age environments. While headsets are used to access virtual environments, RelayCars’ online virtual reality car showroom does not require a headset or any special equipment. The virtual showroom is open 24/7 to anyone with access to the internet. However, a high-speed internet connection is recommended, and the user’s internet speed may affect the loading time of images. Car Shopping: Virtual Reality Tips [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Car-Shopping-in-Virtual-Reality.jpg] HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GO CAR SHOPPING IN VIRTUAL REALITY? Think of RelayCars as online, virtual window shopping. The experience is free, and users can check out virtual cars any time of the day or night. Shopping for a car virtually puts the buyer in the driver’s seat. Visit the virtual showroom when it’s convenient. RelayCars is meant to be a shopping resource. Research the look and design of different cars. Buyers can use the virtual showroom to weed out the cars that they don’t like so much and find the models of the cars that fit their needs. Sometimes shoppers may even discover new models that weren’t on their radar. Since RelayCars lets users decide what they want to view, the virtual experience can be fun and enjoyable. The site also offers many different luxury models; if visitors want to check out a Porsche, they are free to explore those models virtually. AFTER THE VIRTUAL VISIT During their visit to the site, though, car shoppers might want to make a list of the vehicles that they prefer. Then they can visit their local car dealership’s website to find out about any promotions and to research prices. Those who are looking for preowned models might need to search for that particular model year via local dealerships. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR RELAYCARS? Technology is always changing, and RelayCars is constantly adding new inventory to the virtual reality showroom. As new models roll out, these may be available in the virtual showroom. New experiences also may be added in the future. Augmented and virtual reality are part of extended reality. These experiences change how users interact with the world. And both augmented and virtual reality can provide unique car shopping experiences. Augmented reality showrooms allow users to actually place a graphic depiction of a vehicle in their own environment. Augmented reality uses the camera of a phone or tablet to showcase the real environment and overlay graphics within that space. This technology lets users preview cars in the backyard, the garage, the driveway or even on a bed! If the car fits, augmented reality can show it in any space! Check out RelayCars often to find updates about new virtual inventory as well as any new virtual or augmented reality experiences that will be available on the site.
What is Project Aria?
July 19, 2021
Facebook Reality Labs is exploring all kinds of new research for possible new technology. However, some consumers might have heard about Project Aria. Facebook emphasizes that Project Aria is NOT for consumers, and the glasses used for Project Aria also are not augmented reality. So what is Project Aria? Here’s everything to know about the project, the people consumers could encounter in the world and what to possibly expect in the future. YOU CAN’T BUY PROJECT ARIA GLASSES There are Project Aria glasses, but these wearables are not for the consumer. Project Aria glasses are used to collect visual data of the world; they are worn by researchers. And these glasses aren’t augmented reality technology. Consumers should not view the Project Aria glasses as the new or future prototype of augmented reality glasses about to be unleashed by Facebook. While there always seems to be buzz around augmented reality glasses by one of the major tech companies, Project Aria glasses are not going to be the next new Facebook product. They are for research, and, according to Facebook, these special glasses will be used by Facebook employees or contractors. Facebook further explains that the company will “…be asking people of diverse backgrounds to participate in the program to create an accurate and varied view of the world.” ABOUT PROJECT ARIA So what exactly is Project Aria if it isn’t some new future product? Again, the project is all about collecting data on the real world and how the wearer sees and explores this world. The glasses will help Facebook regarding augmented reality development. Facebook explains that “Sensors on the Project Aria research device will capture the wearer’s video and audio, as well as their eye tracking and location information.” The glasses can store this information and then it can be used to discover “…how AR can work in the real world.” LIVE MAPS Data from Project Aria also could help Facebook create Live Maps or 3D maps of the world. Facebook explains that augmented reality devices need to understand the real world around the user via a 3D map of spaces would be necessary. Ideally, an augmented reality device would change and update as data changes in the real world. So data would be updated when a business changes names. Facebook notes that Project Aria “… is testing out how this can work in practice.” What is Project Aria [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Are-Researchers-Incognito.jpg] ARE RESEARCHERS INCOGNITO? Project Aria is an in-depth project. The general public might be curious about how researchers will make themselves known. Or will they make themselves known? Are Facebook’s researchers undercover for this ambitious project? Facebook’s team of researchers aren’t undercover operatives! The members of the public will be able to identify them. Facebook explains that team members will wear clothing that makes them known as members of Project Aria; researchers also will wear lanyards with information about a website for consumers to visit about the project. And the device—or glasses—won’t be secretly collecting data. Facebook explains that the glasses will show a white light when recording. WILL THE PUBLIC BE TAPED WITHOUT CONSENT? Privacy is a big deal. Facebook has explained that team members for Project Aria will receive training on when it is and is NOT ok to record (like in a locker room). However, members of the public might not want to be recorded. Facebook explains: “We’re also instructing all Project Aria research participants to comply with any requests from people in the near vicinity that they stop recording and/or delete relevant data.” In addition, Project Aria devices also don’t include face recognition capabilities (per Facebook). So Joe Smith isn’t going to be identified as Joe Smith! What is Project Aria [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Is-Project-Aria-Global.jpg] IS PROJECT ARIA GLOBAL? If information is gathered, will it go global? Will Facebook employees be scoping out Paris? Rome? Barcelona? Project Aria is limited to the United States. Facebook is gathering information in Seattle and San Francisco (the Bay Area). Individuals living in these areas might see some Facebook researchers with glasses on! ARE AUGMENTED REALITY GLASSES AROUND THE CORNER? With Project Aria pursuing the data to make augmented reality glasses more of a reality, are augmented reality glasses a ‘coming soon’ commodity? While there is constant buzz about augmented reality glasses (especially related to Facebook), according to CNET, these glasses “…are years away.” However, consumers who really want the next big thing from the social media giant might put new glasses on their wish list. Facebook x Ray-Ban glasses are coming soon. What they look like and what features they may include, though, aren’t yet known. One piece of data is known…they won’t include augmented reality! Given the partnership with Ray-Ban, the new glasses may be pretty chic. AUGMENTED REALITY GLASSES: WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS Facebook’s augmented reality glasses might be years away, but Project Aria is still exciting in that it shows that the future of augmented reality could be incredibly cool. Augmented reality glasses of some variety may be the next big thing. When these glasses will launch is anyone’s guess, but a consumer-driven pair of glasses might be the new reality. Currently, most consumers experience extended reality using a virtual reality headset. While Facebook’s Oculus headsets are fairly priced, the technology isn’t owned by everyone like a smartphone. Virtual reality is common, but is it fully mainstream? That might be up for debate. Again, while the price point of some headsets are reasonable (especially for Oculus), some users might not favor the bulkiness of a headset. So the excitement surrounding glasses might be related to their sleeker look and lighter weight (one would assume they would be lighter). The big question, though, might be what users experience with these glasses. Currently, augmented reality experiences are vast. Many are explored via smartphones. Museums use augmented reality features to enhance some exhibits. Augmented reality also lets consumers preview products in a room…or even on their faces (in the case of cosmetics!). Augmented reality glasses could allow these experiences to be accessible without a separate device. Or maybe wearing augmented reality glasses lets the user explore their world in a new way. Augmented reality type apps already let users use their camera to capture a plant in nature to identify it. Imagine wearing glasses where the user looks at a plant or animal and data pops up related to its identification. This would be an easy way to avoid poison ivy! The app SkyView Lite lets users identify constellations in the sky. Could augmented reality glasses peer up at the sky and suddenly reveal data about the stars? Would these glasses download augmented reality apps or would this data be programmed? The potential for augmented reality is far-reaching. As these glasses are simply in the research phase, their features are very much a mystery until augmented reality glasses become a consumer reality. AUGMENTED REALITY GLASSES…AND GAMING! The future of augmented reality glasses obviously might include gaming, too. Popular augmented reality games like Pokemon GO and Harry Potter: Wizard Unite can be downloaded to phones and other devices. Augmented reality glasses could change gaming, though. The augmented reality experience would be experienced firsthand; not simply through a phone or tablet. Pokemon could pop up in front of those augmented reality glasses! Running away from zombies with the app Zombies, Run! could be amplified with augmented reality glasses. The runner wouldn’t have to pay attention to a phone. The glasses would allow the experience to happen seamlessly. The zombies would be part of the user’s line of vision, and perhaps this could enhance the fun of the run…and the game! AUGMENTED COMMUNICATION What about phone calls or meetings? Could glasses augment those experiences, too? Who knows, but Nissan’s Invisible to Visible technology will allow for avatars to appear in a car with the use of glasses. When augmented reality glasses become a reality, imagine if avatars of friends and family appeared before our eyes during conversations. Or maybe augmented reality allows for video calls to take place in front of our eyes. No more staring at a screen to participate in virtual meetings! PROJECT ARIA: A MELODY OF POSSIBILITIES While Facebook researchers may be busy collecting data for Project Aria, the potential for this data could be far reaching in relation to augmented reality. Creating a 3D map of surroundings could allow for augmented reality to reach different aspects of our world and our daily experiences. One day a simple pair of glasses could show the user information about the weather and maybe even warn them to take shelter from an impending storm. Getting lost might never happen. What if the user could enter data related to where they are going and the glasses help them find their way in a busy city. While augmented reality glasses from Facebook might be years away, their potential could be life-changing. And one day augmented reality glasses could be the next smartphone—yet another device we never knew we needed but now cannot live without!
How A Car Color Change App Works
July 16, 2021
There are many different types of automotive-related apps in the Google Play and Apple App Stores. There are apps designed to improve the driving experience, help consumers find parking spots or electric car chargers, and buy or sell vehicles. There are even apps that drivers can use to convert their smartphones into dash cameras. One of the most useful automotive tools found in app stores is the car color change app. These apps give consumers the power to see what the exterior of a specific vehicle would look like in various colors. How does a car color change app work? What are the best car color change apps? Here’s what you need to know: THE TECHNOLOGY BEHIND CAR COLOR CHANGE APPS Most car color change apps are supported by virtual reality, augmented reality, or 3D technology. Each of these innovative technologies is used to bring the car to life and enhance the user’s experience. App developers use 3D technology to create three-dimensional images of vehicles. Making the vehicles three-dimensional creates a more realistic and lifelike experience for the user. Some car color change apps are also designed with virtual reality technology, which is used to create a simulated environment. Users can explore and interact with this simulated environment just like they would in the real world. For example, if the user turns their head, the graphics in the simulated environment will adjust to this movement accordingly. It’s a fully immersive experience, so users will feel like the vehicle is right there in the room with them. Augmented reality is technology that combines elements of the digital world with elements of the real world. This technology allows users to project images, audio, or other digital elements directly onto their real world environment. An augmented reality car app, for example, might allow the user to project a life-size digital model of a vehicle into their garage. The digital model looks real, so it will appear as if the vehicle is actually parked in the user’s garage. How A Car Color Change App Works [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/When-to-Use-A-Car-Color-Change-App.jpg] WHEN TO USE A CAR COLOR CHANGE APP A car color change app is a useful tool that consumers can use in a variety of situations. These apps can be used: * For entertainment purposes: Seeing what the exterior of a vehicle looks like in different colors is entertaining, which is why many consumers use these apps for fun. If you are a car enthusiast who is looking for a way to pass the time, downloading a car color change app might be the answer. * To make informed decisions: These apps are also perfect for consumers who are thinking about painting the exterior of their vehicle a different color. If you’re in this situation, use a color change app to test out different colors on your vehicle. You can see what each color would look like and decide which one you like best. This way, you can ensure you will be satisfied with your selection. * During the car buying process: The vast majority of automotive consumers start the process of shopping for a car online. Using a car color change app can help consumers who are still trying to decide which vehicle to purchase. They can see what a specific vehicle would look like in other colors so they can decide on the make, model, and color of their next vehicle from the comfort of their home. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING A CAR COLOR CHANGE APP? There are countless benefits to using a car color change app, including: * Discover new color customization options. You can use a color change app to learn new and exciting ways to change the exterior of your vehicle. * Visualize colors in advance. A color change app allows you to visualize what different colors will look like on your vehicle before you paint or wrap it. This helps you avoid choosing the wrong color or wrap for your vehicle. * Simplifies the process of buying a car. You don’t need to travel to a showroom to see what a car looks like in different colors. Now you can do this from home using a car color change app. How A Car Color Change App Works [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/What-Are-the-Best-Car-Color-Change-Tools.jpg] WHAT ARE THE BEST CAR COLOR CHANGE TOOLS? There are a number of tools you can use to see what a vehicle would look like in different colors. Some of the best car color change tools include: * Automotive Manufacturer Websites * Carwrapper * Color Splash * RelayCars AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURER WEBSITES Some of the best color change tools are available on automotive manufacturers’ websites. If you are interested in seeing a specific model in different colors, check the manufacturer’s website to see if this feature is available. For example, if you are thinking about buying a new Toyota Camry, head to the Toyota website. Toyota, like many other automotive manufacturers, has a website feature that allows you to build your own custom vehicle. After selecting a specific model, the next thing you will need to choose when building your custom vehicle is the exterior color. During this step of the process, you can change the color of the vehicle as many times as you would like until you find one you love. CARWRAPPER If you want to change the color of your vehicle’s exterior, the two options are repainting it or wrapping it. A car wrap is a layer of vinyl film that can be applied to the exterior of your vehicle. If you’re considering a vinyl wrap, you may want to download the Carwrapper app to explore your options. This app makes it easy for consumers to visualize what different types of car wraps will look like on their vehicle. To begin, select the make and model of your vehicle. The next step is choosing what material you want to apply to your vehicle. You can choose from a wide variety of real wrap materials. After selecting the material and color, you will need to choose a finish for your car wrap. Some of the finishes that are available on the app include matte, gloss, chrome, metallic, and pearl. The final step is deciding whether you want a full or partial wrap. Then, apply your selections so you can see what your custom wrap will look like on your vehicle. Car wraps are expensive. If you’re thinking about wrapping your car, use this app to make sure you will like the way it looks before you pay for it. COLOR SPLASH Color Splash is not designed specifically for cars. It’s a photo editing app that allows you to quickly and easily adjust the color of any photo you upload. Although it is not an automotive app, it can be used to visualize what a vehicle would look like in different colors. To begin, you can either upload a photo from your photo library or use your smartphone’s camera to take a new photo of your vehicle. Then, select a color from the menu located at the bottom of the screen. To apply the color, tap anywhere on your vehicle. The color will only appear in the areas you tap, so it may take a few minutes to cover your entire vehicle in the selected color. You could also paint half the car in one color and the other half in a different color to compare your options. The app is easy to navigate, but applying color to your vehicle can be time-consuming. It can also be difficult to stay within the lines of your vehicle when applying the selected color. For these reasons, this is not the best app to use to make serious decisions regarding your vehicle’s exterior color, but it is great for entertainment purposes. How A Car Color Change App Works [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/RelayCars.jpg] RELAYCARS RelayCars is a unique app that allows you to change the color on thousands of different models of vehicles. The app is powered by 3D and augmented reality technology, but you don’t need a special headset to use it. All you need is access to a smartphone, tablet, or computer. To begin, select which vehicle you would like to visualize in different colors. You can choose from a wide range of luxury, SUV, trucks, sedans, and other vehicle categories. Once you select a vehicle, the color options will appear at the bottom of the screen. The app will only show you the colors that are available for the specific model you selected. For example, if a manufacturer only makes a model in five different colors, these are the only five colors that will appear. Tap on any color to change the exterior of the vehicle. Then, use your mouse or fingers to rotate the vehicle so you can see it from every angle. You can even resize the vehicle to get a closer look at the color or switch to the interior view to see the view from behind the wheel. This app is ideal for consumers who are thinking about purchasing a new car. RelayCars creates a virtual showroom experience so consumers can explore vehicles, compare models, and narrow down their options without ever leaving home. This way, you will know exactly what vehicle you want to buy once you arrive at the dealership, so you won’t need to spend as much time in the showroom.
Automotive Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality Will Experience Exponential Growth
July 15, 2021
Both augmented reality and virtual reality technologies have exploded in popularity over the last several years. These technologies, which were once associated solely with gaming, are now branching out to other areas, including the automotive industry. In fact, the automotive segment of the augmented reality and virtual reality market is expected to experience significant growth within the next few years. How are automotive companies using augmented reality and virtual reality technology? What is the forecast for the automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market? What factors will drive this segment of the market’s growth? Here’s what you need to know: HOW ARE AUGMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY CURRENTLY USED IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY? The automotive industry has embraced both augmented and virtual reality technologies. These technologies are currently used in many different ways in the automotive industry, including: * Virtual Showrooms * Design * Repairs * Manufacturing * Car Features Automotive Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality Will Experience Exponential Growth [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Virtual-Showrooms.jpg] VIRTUAL SHOWROOMS Many auto dealers allow consumers to shop for a new car from the comfort of their own home inside a virtual showroom powered by virtual reality technology. Inside a virtual showroom, consumers can explore the interior and exterior of vehicles just like they would if they were standing in a real showroom. They can even rotate the vehicle to see it from every angle or adjust the settings to see what it would look like in a different color. This allows consumers to start the car buying process at home rather than in a dealership. Now, they can visit a virtual showroom to conduct research, compare different vehicles, and narrow down their options. Plus, they can enjoy the convenience of visiting a virtual showroom at any time. They are no longer restricted to only conducting car research during standard business hours. Virtual showrooms became increasingly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic since many consumers were hesitant to visit dealerships in-person. But due to their overwhelming popularity, experts believe that these showrooms will be around long after the pandemic is over. DESIGN A number of automotive manufacturers are currently using virtual reality technology to speed up the process of designing new vehicles. Automotive designers typically must create clay prototypes whenever they are designing a new vehicle. Every time a change is made to the design, they must create a new clay prototype to reflect the changes. This is time-consuming and expensive, which is why many manufacturers are now using virtual reality technology instead. Now, automotive designers can build virtual models of new designs in a matter of hours rather than days or weeks. If a change is requested, the designers can quickly edit the virtual model instead of building a new clay prototype from scratch. This drastically reduces the time it takes to finalize designs and the cost of designing new vehicles. Using virtual reality also allows teams to collaborate on new designs from across the globe. Once a virtual model has been created, the entire team can use virtual reality technology to enter the simulated environment, explore the design, and provide feedback. Automotive Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality Will Experience Exponential Growth [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Repairs.jpg] REPAIRS Some automotive companies, including Mercedes-Benz, are using augmented reality technology to assist with automotive repairs. Mercedes-Benz auto technicians who need help making a repair can put on an augmented reality headset to connect with an automotive expert. Putting on the augmented reality headset allows the expert to see exactly what the technician sees. The expert can then use augmented reality technology to project digital elements onto the technician’s environment to assist with the repair. For example, the expert might project a digital arrow onto a filter that needs to be replaced or a cap that needs to be tightened. The expert can then project other digital images to guide the technician through the steps they need to take to make the necessary repair. Using augmented reality in this manner helps technicians quickly diagnose and address vehicle issues so customers won’t need to wait as long to get back on the road. MANUFACTURING Augmented reality technology is also used in the vehicle manufacturing process. Thanks to augmented reality technology, assembly line workers won’t have to step off of the production line to find information on a specific vehicle, part, or process. Instead, they can put on an augmented reality headset to immediately access the information. For example, an assembly line worker who doesn’t remember how to put together a specific car part can use an augmented reality headset to project an instructional video or how-to guide directly onto their real world surroundings. This allows them to reference the instructions as many times as necessary while they are actually assembling the car part. They won’t need to spend hours flipping through an instruction manual to find the information they are looking for–all they need to do is slip on an augmented reality headset. Automotive Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality Will Experience Exponential Growth [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Car-Features.jpg] CAR FEATURES Augmented reality technology supports many in-car features found in vehicles on the market today, including navigational systems. These systems are designed to provide step-by-step directions to drivers to help them reach their final destination safely and as quickly as possible. Augmented reality is used to make the instructions easier to follow. For example, a digital arrow may appear on the navigation system’s screen to tell the driver when they are approaching the street they need to turn on. Some vehicles are also designed with hazard detection systems supported by augmented reality technology. If the driver is approaching a hazard on the road, the system will project a digital element such as a blinking hazard light to alert them of the danger ahead. Rear-view cameras that help drivers safely back up their vehicles are also powered by augmented reality technology. These systems will project digital elements onto the live feed from the rear view camera to show drivers where their vehicle is headed. AUTOMOTIVE AUGMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY MARKET FORECAST In 2020, the global augmented reality and virtual reality market was valued at $18.8 billion, which represented a 78% increase over 2019. Experts predict that the market will continue to grow over the next several years, eventually reaching a value of nearly $300 billion by the year 2025. Some segments of the market will experience more growth than others. The automotive augmented reality and virtual reality segment, however, is expected to perform well. Experts predict that the automotive segment of this market will increase by $5.10 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 32%. The automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market will grow all around the world, but right now, Europe is the global leader in the market. Experts believe that Europe will remain a dominant player in the market in the future. They predict that about 45% of this market’s growth will originate in European countries. The automotive segment of the market is fairly concentrated among a handful of top players. But if the market continues to grow as expected, experts believe that new companies will enter the industry and compete with these major players. WHAT FACTORS WILL DRIVE GROWTH IN THE AUTOMOTIVE AUGMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY MARKET? Industry analysts believe that the growth in the automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market will be primarily driven by these key factors: * Shift to Online Automotive Sales * Virtual Events * Potential Benefits to Automotive Companies Automotive Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality Will Experience Exponential Growth [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Shift-to-Online-Automotive-Sales.jpg] SHIFT TO ONLINE AUTOMOTIVE SALES In 2018, only 1% of automotive consumers said they purchased their vehicle online. But the concept of purchasing a vehicle online has become increasingly popular since then. By early last year, nearly one in 10 automotive consumers were purchasing vehicles online, and 63% of consumers said they would consider making their next vehicle purchase online instead of in a showroom. This drastic shift to online automotive sales is one of the main factors that will drive growth in the automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market. To sell vehicles online, automotive companies need to use augmented reality and virtual reality to provide an at-home dealership experience. This includes giving consumers access to virtual showrooms and the opportunity to take virtual test drives. Automotive companies must invest in these technologies now in order to keep up with the competition and reach these online consumers. VIRTUAL EVENTS Experts believe that the increase in demand for virtual events will also drive growth in the automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many automotive manufacturers to host virtual auto shows rather than in-person events. Using virtual reality technology, a consumer can attend these auto shows, explore vehicles, and participate in other fun activities without ever stepping foot outside of their home. Because virtual reality creates a fully immersive experience, the consumer will feel as if they are really attending an in-person auto show. Although this trend was sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected to continue in the future. This is primarily because it is less expensive than hosting an in-person show and it allows automotive manufacturers to reach a wider audience, which is especially important to manufacturers who are hosting these events to launch new vehicles. POTENTIAL BENEFITS TO AUTOMOTIVE COMPANIES Automotive companies benefit from using virtual reality and augmented reality technologies. Using virtual reality to design vehicles, for example, can save automotive manufacturers thousands of dollars . Using augmented reality in the manufacturing process can improve productivity, which also benefits the manufacturer. Virtual showrooms can save automotive companies money, too. If consumers visit an online showroom, they won’t need to visit an in-person showroom, which means auto dealers won’t need to keep as many vehicles in their showrooms. As a result, auto dealers won’t need to cover the costs of transporting and maintaining as many vehicles. They may also be able to downsize to a smaller property, which will drastically reduce their operating expenses. The potential savings are too great for automotive companies to ignore, so this factor will most certainly drive a great deal of growth in this market. WHAT CHALLENGES WILL THE AUTOMOTIVE AUGMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY MARKET FACE? Most experts agree that the automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market will grow exponentially over the next few years, but the market could encounter a few challenges along the way, including: * Slowdown in Automotive Industry * Adoption of New Technology Automotive Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality Will Experience Exponential Growth [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Slowdown-in-the-Automotive-Industry.jpg] SLOWDOWN IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY One of the main challenges that the automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market will face is a slowdown in the automotive industry. The automotive industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, automotive sales in the U.S. declined by about 15%, which represented the fourth-largest annual decline in sales since 1980. However, the automotive industry was starting to slow down long before the COVID-19 pandemic occurred. In 2018, the automotive industry represented approximately 20% of the slowdown in GDP and roughly 30% of the slowdown in global trade. The slowdown has been largely attributed to the fact that many markets have reached maximum automobile saturation. Furthermore, many consumers rely on ride-sharing services or public transportation, which they may find more affordable or convenient than owning their own vehicle. Some industry experts believe that the automotive industry will start to slowly recover from the effects of the pandemic this year. However, if the pre-pandemic slowdown continues, this could negatively impact the automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market’s growth. ADOPTION OF NEW TECHNOLOGY The automotive industry could also struggle to get consumers to adopt these technologies, which could hinder the growth of the automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market segment. According to a survey conducted in 2019, only 30% of consumers have experienced augmented reality technology and only 11% of consumers own a virtual reality headset. These statistics indicate that many consumers might not be familiar with what virtual and augmented reality technology are or how they work. Because these technologies are typically associated with the gaming industry, consumers may not understand why or how they could be used in the automotive industry. For example, consumers may not understand the benefits of using augmented or virtual reality technology to shop for a vehicle online. It’s up to automotive companies to overcome this obstacle by educating consumers to ensure they understand how using these technologies could make the car buying process faster and more convenient. Although overcoming these challenges won’t be easy, they shouldn’t stop the automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market from experiencing exponential growth in the years ahead.
Take a Celebrity-Guided Virtual Reality Cultural Tour with Google Perspectives
July 14, 2021
Google has amped up its augmented reality offerings and now it’s expanding virtual reality experiences, too. Google Perspectives is part of Google Arts & Culture and lets anyone at home, in the office or anywhere with computer access really take celebrity-guided cultural tours and experiences in virtual reality. Who are the tour guides? Lin-Manuel Miranda hosts a tour of New York, Venus Williams guides a tennis experience, Muzi hosts a tour of all the places in South Africa that hold meaning to his life and career, soccer player Danielle Espinoza showcases futbol history in Mexico and more. Each experience features a different perspective. WHO CAN TAKE THE TOURS? Google Perspectives can be viewed via a PC, a phone or tablet. High-speed internet will likely improve the experience, as tour guides showcase up close virtual looks at certain locations. Experiences include videos hosted by the guides, but they also include additional perspectives on specific topics. For example, Dani Espinoza hosts a video looking at different places in Mexico; viewers can see the historic arch formation that is visible every four years when the tide is low. Espinoza’s experience also includes a more detailed look at the history of futbol in Mexico. As with most Google experiences, Perspectives is free to view. And, while Perspectives includes some virtual reality-type visuals during tours, this doesn’t require any special goggles or headsets. Those who want to experience Perspectives via a phone or tablet should download the Google Arts & Culture app. The app is free. There are numerous experiences via Perspectives, and users might want to scroll through the options. Take a Celebrity-Guided Virtual Reality Cultural Tour with Google Perspectives [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Google-Arts.jpg] GOOGLE ARTS & CULTURE: THE EXPERIENCES! The Arts & Culture app includes many virtual and augmented reality experiences, and, quite frankly, users can spend hours exploring all the offerings. Users can tour Paris rooftops, museums, create a blob opera and more! “WALK AROUND 5 PARISIAN ROOFTOPS!” The rooftop tours of the City of Lights include the Eiffel Tower, of course! Really, what is a Paris experience without views from atop the Eiffel Tower? Take a virtual walk on the roof of the Paris Opera, the Grand Palais, Philharmonie de Paris, and Saint-Jacques Tower. Users navigate through the rooftop tours via arrow icons. Just use your fingers to walk around and see different views of Paris. THE EASTER ISLAND MOAI Google Arts & Culture also gives users a close-up encounter with Easter Island’s Moai statues. This experience includes different tours of Easter Island. Users can explore Ahu Ura Uranga, Ahu Nau Nau, and the Moai. This isn’t just a picture experience or a slideshow. Users navigate the tours and can get an up-close look at the monuments. Google also provides information about the different sites, too. THE BLOB OPERA While not exactly virtual or augmented reality, the Blob Opera is entertaining nonetheless. Users create their own operatic experience featuring cute blog animations. Blobs drop in front of the user, and the pitch can be changed for each character. Record the masterpiece and send the blobs on tour, too! Take a Celebrity-Guided Virtual Reality Cultural Tour with Google Perspectives [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Museum-Tours.jpg] MUSEUM TOURS Multiple museums offer virtual tours via Google Arts and Culture. Parents who just don’t know what to do on a rainy day and who may be desperately trying to find something cool for kids stuck at home can schedule some virtual visits. Museums that offer virtual tours on the Google app include: ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO Users are given a street view of the museum, and then they can scroll down via the app to tour the museum. What does Google prompt users to find? That would be the painting “American Gothic” by artist Grant Wood. This painting features an elderly couple in front of their home; the husband holds a pitchfork. Unfortunately, other paintings are blurred.However, there also is an option to take a scavenger hunt at the museum…virtually! GUGGENHEIM The virtual tour of Guggenheim (in Bilbao, Spain) lets users explore different works featured in the museum. “The Renowned Orders of the Night” by Anselm Kiefer can be enlarged to see the details up close! Other works also can be viewed up close via the tour. ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS Walk up the staircase to view the Wohl Entrance Hall. The main page for the Royal Academy of Arts tour also includes tours of other galleries and even the Poster Bar. PERGAMONMUSEUM Located in Berlin, the museum tour includes a look at different pieces found in the museum, including the Quran Box, the Temple of Zeus Sosipolis from Magnesia on the Maeander, the Statue of Athena Parthenos and more. SNAP A SELFIE TO FIND ARTWORK One of Google Art & Culture popular features is the Art Selfie tool. The experience requires letting Google access the device camera. Users then snap a selfie to find out what famous artwork best resembles them. Google’s recognition tool will include several results sorted by the match percentage. The results can be really cool, maybe even a little horrifying and sometimes downright odd. It can be fun to find out what artistic masterpiece most resembles each individual, though! Results may differ depending on face angle, too. It can also be fun to make ridiculous faces and see what artwork the distorted selfie might twin. Art Selfie isn’t augmented or virtual reality…at least not completely. Graphic dots will appear over the selfie photo showing that the software is working to find an artful match. AUGMENTED REALITY AND GOOGLE While many experiences in Google Arts & Culture use virtual reality-type features to navigate the tours, Google also offers many augmented reality experiences worth highlighting yet again! To help individuals social distance, for example, Google offers Sodar (which is short for “social distancing radar”). Sodar creates an augmented reality circle around the individual to show where six feet ends in every direction. Floom is one of the newer augmented reality releases from Google. Users aim their camera anywhere in the home, outside or wherever. They can then dig a virtual hole or tunnel (although the swirling looks more like a vortex) to see the other side of the Earth. Users can then explore the new location. Floom lets users angle their vortex, too, so one location can actually show different new places on the flipside. Unfortunately, Google’s augmented reality features only work for those with Google devices…Android! Apple or Windows users are out of luck. Android users can explore all the augmented reality experiences for free. There is no cost to download or access them. AUGMENTED SEARCH RESULTS Anyone with a PC, smartphone or tablet can enjoy Google’s augmented reality search results, though. While there isn’t a comprehensive list of the vehicles, animals and other characters augmented in the Search engine, the mystery is kind of part of the fun. Media reported that famous anime characters like Hello Kitty, Ultraman, Pac-Man and others are part of the augmented world of search. But animals and cars tend to be hit or miss. Users will have to search for animals or other creatures to see if Google offers an augmented option. The augmented reality features can be entertaining. For example, dropping Pac-Man into the user’s environment showcases the anime character chomping away at pellets with a gang of ghosts following him. Hello Kitty says hello in Japanese and converses, too (also in Japanese and English) when dropped in the space, and she can be moved around, too. A shark also can be augmented, and it swims in the room (or wherever). Users can move it around, and the experience features the bubbling sound of its underwater habitat. An augmented reality lion moves its head a bit and roars. Take a Google augmented search scavenger hunt to see what new experiences can be uncovered. GOING VIRTUAL BEYOND GOOGLE? Virtual tours have likely increased in popularity during the year (and beyond) of the pandemic. Families and individuals were stuck at home and many didn’t want to travel…maybe even when mandates were lifted. While museums might have offered virtual tours before Covid, taking tours from home might be a new alternative form of travel. Many individuals are still working from home, and some simply don’t feel entirely comfortable exploring places where crowds congregate. During Covid, some museums offered virtual classes and tours. These experiences might have included a fee. However, the offerings allowed families stuck at home to enjoy cultural experiences from their couch, their office or even while working out on a treadmill. Virtual tours and experiences like those offered via Google also provide glimpses into places where some simply cannot travel. Finances could limit travel and cultural experiences for many families. These tours and ‘perspectives’ help introduce different sites and cultural experiences to a wider audience. Virtual experiences could be a way to create more equitable cultural tourism. While museums and even cultural sites rely on donations and ticket costs to help keep doors open (and employees paid), some could expand virtual offerings or maybe even offer paid virtual tours (perhaps at a more affordable cost). Augmented reality and virtual reality experiences will likely evolve both within Google and other platforms, too. Perhaps augmented reality will drive all search engines in the future. Perspectives could expand to include more narratives, tours and…perspectives. Popularity may drive demand, and the user’s adoption of these experiences could propel them into everyday use…and necessity.
What’s Cooking in Facebook’s Virtual Reality Labs?
July 12, 2021
Back in March, Wired marked the five-year anniversary of the Oculus Rift headset with an in-depth article focused on Facebook’s virtual journey. The social media giant is a major player in the extended reality industry, but Google, Microsoft, Snap and Apple all have their own unique augmented and virtual experiences and product offerings. In the tech industry, however, innovation is everything…and tech evolves quickly. Facebook’s Virtual Reality Labs is tasked for developing and researching new ideas for virtual and augmented reality. Of course, what’s cooking in Facebook’s Virtual Reality Labs might be the ultimate secret recipe. What’s Cooking in Facebook’s Virtual Reality Labs? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/What-is-Virtual-Reality-Labs.jpg] WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY LABS? The Verge cited a study that noted that about one fifth of Facebook’s employee base is focused on virtual reality. Per The Verge, about 10,000 employees are part of Virtual Reality Labs. Facebook’s research labs focused on all things extended reality. While Facebook has created one of the most affordable virtual reality headsets on the market, the company’s team of developers is obviously not simply sitting around content with stopping with Oculus. So what, exactly, is Facebook creating in Virtual Reality Labs? Exact projects might be known to only employees, but, according to Facebook, “…We are developing all the technologies needed to enable breakthrough AR glasses and VR headsets, including optics and displays, computer vision, audio, graphics, brain-computer interface, haptic interaction, eye/hand/face/body tracking, perception science, and true telepresence. Some of those will advance much faster than others, but they all need to happen to enable AR and VR that are so compelling that they become an integral part of our lives, and we are making all of them happen.” Facebook’s Virtual Reality Labs also offers a comprehensive news section with articles and updates about current research. Check out some of the augmented and virtual reality experiences that could transform technology in the future. Keep in mind that all these potential experiences are just research…they are not hitting the market! What’s Cooking in Facebook’s Virtual Reality Labs? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/An-Augmented-Reality-Hearing-Aid.jpg] AN AUGMENTED REALITY HEARING AID Could augmented reality integrate into a hearing aid? This could be a possibility in the future. The journal Ear and Hearing published an article from researchers at Facebook Reality Labs Research. The article describes potential scenarios and how augmented reality could aid those who suffer from hearing loss. Essentially hearing aids could work with other devices, perhaps even augmented reality glasses. While it doesn’t seem like the hearing aids would project any augmented reality experiences, the paper explores ways that augmented reality could work with hearing aids for more control of environments (like noisy parties). The paper also details how glasses could provide text for conversations. Perhaps this could be a technologically advanced closed captioning. While augmented reality advancements and connectivity with hearing aids isn’t currently a reality, the potential for this technology could provide greater support for those with hearing impairment. LIGHTWEIGHT VIRTUAL REALITY GLASSES Could those bulky heavy headsets disappear in the future? While Oculus isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, Facebook is looking at other ways to make the virtual reality experience sleeker. One of the Virtual Labs’ news stories focuses on lightweight virtual reality glasses that use holographic optics. The prototype that is shown looks like sunglasses. The glasses are a huge change from the headset. Facebook notes that it’s currently working on full color graphics for one of the smaller prototypes. AN AUGMENTED REALITY BRACELET Fitness trackers and smart watches are nothing new, but Facebook is researching how to integrate augmented reality into a wrist-based device. The focus on the wrist was noted as this placement is comfortable and provides easy interaction. So how would the wrist device work? Electromyography deciphers ‘nerve signals’ into commands that then control the device. And the wristband or bracelet would work with augmented reality glasses! “We believe our wristband wearables may offer a path to ultra-low-friction, always-available input for AR glasses, but they’re not a complete solution on their own — just as the mouse is one piece of the graphical user interface, ”said Hrvoje Benko, research director for Facebook’s Research Labs on Facebook’s tech site “They need to be assisted with intent prediction and user modeling that adapts to you and your particular context in real time.” THE AUGMENTED REALITY SMARTWATCH The BBC recently reported on a possible Facebook augmented reality smartwatch. But this could be just another tech rumor, and consumers might not want to get too excited. The BBC quoted an executive for the company who noted that “We’re investing in technologies across the board… research doesn’t always lead to product development.” The BBC’s story cited a story from The Verge, which noted that the product could launch next summer. The Verge detailed that the watch would have two cameras that can even be detached from the watch. So what are the augmented reality features of the watch? According to the BBC the device would control future augmented reality glasses. Could the watch be wearable wrist tech? Until Facebook announces anything official about the possible watch, consumers might just be left speculating…and waiting excitedly for a new launch. FACEBOOK’S OFFERINGS NOW While Virtual Reality Labs is constantly working on new research and looking at ways to advance augmented and virtual reality, Facebook also has new tech offerings that will soon be available to the public. And Facebook’s Spark AR Studio is expanding into augmented reality for video calls! FACEBOOK X RAY-BAN In a partnership with luxury sunglass manufacturer EssilorLuxottica, sleek chic new smart glasses will soon be available to the public under EssilorLuxottica’s Ray-Ban brand. Unfortunately, there are no firm details about the tech that will be offered via the Facebook x Ray-Ban glasses. However, Facebook did tell The Verge that augmented reality will not be a feature of the eyewear. Even the design style of the glasses is a bit of a mystery. While a video launched on YouTube teasing the glasses, a photo of the product wasn’t shown. Will the glasses favor Ray-Ban’s popular Wayfarer style? Will there be numerous color choices? Consumers will simply have to wait for the official launch to find out! SPARK AR FOR VIDEO CALLS Augmented reality for video calls could be a reality. And Facebook is looking for participants to try out the Beta version of the tech. Unfortunately, those who want to sign up to try out this new experience are limited to “qualified creators and developers.” Those who are accepted to try out this new Spark tech can explore augmented reality graphics for Facebook Messenger. Facebook explains that the tech will expand to Instagram and Portal as well. What’s Cooking in Facebook’s Virtual Reality Labs? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Whats-Next-for-Augmented-and-Virtual-Reality.jpg] WHAT’S NEXT FOR AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY? Technology constantly and consistently changes and updates for the changing needs of the consumer. Augmented and virtual reality products, however, could be the future. Facebook and other tech players in the industry are constantly innovating. Facebook’s research could predict the future of what extended reality could deliver to the masses. Hearing aids that could communicate with augmented reality glasses could change the way that those with hearing impairments listen to the world. Augmented reality could provide them with better control and a more comfortable environment. Wrist-based devices could point to a more advanced smartwatch or other wrist device that is engineered to interact, once again, with augmented reality glasses. The device’s features and capabilities could include electromyography, as Facebook is currently exploring. However, different companies might introduce and create unique wrist-based devices. However, the future of what tech holds rapidly changes. While speculation could eye a wrist device, the future could include the launch of something entirely and uniquely different. As research continues, some products could prove to be unsuccessful or research findings could take developers and engineers into an entirely new and different direction. There is always buzz about some new product. Speculation about Apple, Facebook and other tech companies and their possible launches hits the news. Consumers begin to anticipate possible arrivals. However, until companies make their official announcement…speculation is only speculation. What’s next for Facebook could be augmented reality glasses. Or a wrist device. But, really, only those on the inside of product development know for sure what new gadget awaits the ever-anticipatory public. Until the next big announcement and the next latest greatest device is announced, consumers can look forward to the final unveiling of a product that has been officially announced. Those craving a new device, a new product may soon be able to wear a new pair of Ray-Bans, courtesy of Facebook. Of course, what consumers can see through those lenses is still a mystery. While no augmented reality experiences will appear to those who wear the glasses, there may be cool features beyond the sleek design of new frames. Will those new Ray-Bans link to Facebook somehow? Or instagram? Will they allow users to dictate posts? We’ll soon find out!
Is a Car Customizer App Worth the Download?
July 9, 2021
Shoppers browsing around the internet for a new car might also look through their phone’s virtual store for apps that serve as tools for previewing vehicles. A car customizer app might allow shoppers to view different cars and change out their features. Is a car customizer app worth the download, though? While most phones and devices might not take a lot of time to download an app, every new app does take up memory and space on a device. When shoppers want to preview vehicles they can find a tool online for free thanks to RelayCars…no download required. Is a Car Customizer App Worth the Download? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Using-a-Virtual-Showroom-to-Customize.jpg] USING A VIRTUAL SHOWROOM TO CUSTOMIZE RelayCars offers an online virtual car showroom for shoppers to preview a massive inventory of cars. The onsite virtual showroom is not an app. Anyone can use the virtual showroom, and, yes, it’s free! RelayCars isn’t an app; it is an online tool…or car visualizer resource. While an app might be free, they require users to download the application data to a device like a phone or tablet. RelayCars is available online, and the showroom is a website-based offering. To access RelayCars, just visit the website. From there, the site will direct users to enter the showroom. Then virtual shoppers can choose their favorite vehicle to explore. With the virtual showroom, users can change out the color of the car, look at the vehicle from different vantage points and even peek inside. CAR CUSTOMIZER APPS What about an app that lets the shopper fully customize a vehicle? Do these apps exist? Yes! Although they aren’t apps that necessarily need to be downloaded. For example, Porsche offers the Car Configurator, which allows shoppers to choose a model and customize it to their specifications. Other manufacturers may offer similar options via their websites. Ferrari also lets site visitors create their own dream car via their Car Configurator tool. Shoppers looking to customize a car should visit the major auto brands’ sites to find similar tools. Car configurator or build tools are available via Toyota, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Nissan, Subaru, Honda, Hyundai, etc. In addition, Ford lets site users customize their order. Is a Car Customizer App Worth the Download? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/So-What-Can-Shoppers-Customize.jpg] SO WHAT CAN SHOPPERS CUSTOMIZE? With the build or customize tools, customers or site visitors can select a model and choose different options. Each build or configurator tool may provide more or less options for customization. However, these tools are all about letting site visitors build their own model. While it may be incredibly time consuming to preview every build tool for all the manufacturers, Hyundai’s could be a good example of what to expect from a car customizer app or tool. Site visitors choose their model then select their trim and the vehicle’s color. The interior color can be selected, too (based on the options available for each model). The build tool also lets shoppers select the powertrain and accessories (like a cargo package, hitch, etc.). After the options have been selected, users will see the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for their vehicle. Hyundai’s tool also gives users the option to schedule a test drive or to check inventory. THE BENEFITS OF A CAR CUSTOMIZER APP OR TOOL Car customizer tools can be used for shoppers who want to estimate the price they might pay for all the options they want for their vehicle. The tool also can be used just to preview a specific vehicle before visiting the dealership. Like Hyundai’s customizer/build tool, brands also might let shoppers or site visitors check inventory at their local dealerships. After building that dream car, they might be able to find it locally and have a better understanding of the price they might pay. Car customizer tools also can be a fun option for individuals who are just beginning their new car search. Maybe there is an uncertainty regarding what model or brand they might prefer. Since so many major automotive brands provide car customizer tools, shoppers can build different models to gain a better understanding of pricing and features/options. LUXURY BRANDS AND CAR CUSTOMIZER APPS AND TOOLS Luxury brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, and Rolls Royce may provide a next-level car customization experience. Why? Buyers of these brands may simply want what they want…and not worry about the price associated with those customized options. One Bugatti owner wanted a very specific paint job. The diamond patterns were eventually achieved, but the process took two years! The car was the Bugatti Divo, which now costs about $6 million. The custom car was dubbed the ‘Lady Bug.’ ARE CAR CUSTOMIZER APPS FREE? Shoppers visiting manufacturer’s sites or dealership sites may wonder if they can use the build or customizer tools for free. The tools online are often free. Auto brands likely provide these tools to help those who are shopping at home. During Covid, for example, most consumers were stuck inside. Dealerships also might have been closed, too. These online tools provided a way for brands and maybe even dealerships to help customers preview their new car and find price estimates, too. Shopping online—even for vehicles—may be the future. Many car shoppers begin their search online, and these build/customizer tools might be a vital part of the online research process. Shoppers might want to make a list of their favorite models or even print out photos of their vehicle to show to dealership sales professionals. Providing online info when visiting the dealership could make the buying process a bit easier. And some manufacturers also let customers schedule test drives from the website. Not only can shoppers customize their vehicle and build it online, but they also can plan to drive one of the models on the road. However, dealerships might not have the exact custom model in their inventory available to test out. WHAT ABOUT THE DEALERSHIP? While car customizer tools can help shoppers find an estimated price of their future new car, the dealership might be the best place to experience certain features. Test drives of models are an important part of the car buying process; seeing a vehicle online doesn’t help the buyer understand how it feels and maneuvers on the road. Sometimes pictures don’t and can’t tell the whole story. Maybe the seats don’t feel quite right when driving. Maybe the car doesn’t have the ‘oomph’ on the road that the buyer wants. That test drive at the dealership or even a virtual test drive (that allows the car to be delivered to the customer’s house) can help provide more insight about the vehicle. Other details about the vehicle might need to be experienced in person, too. For example, the feel of the interior (cloth and leather) might be a make or break issue with some buyers. Sound systems and navigation systems also might need to be experienced in person. Some buyers really want to explore the features of the vehicle to determine if they like it. As restrictions have eased up, buyers also may head to the dealership to finalize a deal. If there is a trade-in that the buyer will use to lower the price of their dream car, a visit to the dealership might help the buyer better understand the value of that older car. Buyers also might secure their financing at the dealership. Some buyers may consider the dealership their only source of shopping. It’s possible that some new car buyers might have waited until dealerships opened back up to go shopping for their new car. The in-person shopping experience might be their preferred method. Maybe they enjoy strolling around the lot and looking at different models. Or the in-person buying experience might just be familiar to them and maybe they are uncomfortable researching online. CAR CUSTOMIZER APPS FOR THE FUTURE Car customizer tools and/or apps might be an option that most brands/manufacturers now provide to shoppers. Many major automotive brands offer a build or customizer option on their website for shoppers to better create their own dream car and find the price, too. Online virtual showrooms like RelayCars also offer shoppers the tools to preview cars…even older models. With RelayCars, shoppers can explore a huge inventory of makes and models in 3D. The virtual experience doesn’t even require any special equipment, although high-speed internet is recommended for better viewing. A virtual showroom like RelayCars allows shoppers the option to switch out paint colors and even turn the car around for a different view. Shoppers can even peek inside to get more information about the interior space. And, yes, RelayCars is free! These customizer tools may become more advanced in the future. Maybe these tools are accessed using augmented reality glasses or virtual reality goggles. Maybe shoppers can build their car in 3D and even virtually sit in their car to gain more insight about the space. Perhaps shoppers will be able to walk around their customized car as they would in the dealership. Or maybe the dealerships offer these virtual experiences. For now, though, shoppers can utilize the many customizers and build tools available online. Compare prices and find the car that best suits both the lifestyle and the budget!
A Car Visualizer Helps Buyers Imagine the Possibilities
July 7, 2021
Cox Automotives 2019 Car Buyer Journey Study revealed that utilizing smartphones for car shopping increased “…11 percentage points year over year.” As Cox points out, this boost in the use of smartphones means that the shopping experience needs to be accessible via all types of devices. Computers are now handheld, thanks to tablets and phones.Shopping and research methodologies available online also have evolved, and they continue to become more unique, interactive and immersive to meet the ever changing demands of the consumer. A car visualizer tool, for example, may integrate technology like augmented reality or virtual reality to help shoppers preview different makes and models and even swap out paint hues. A car visualizer helps buyers imagine the possibilities of their dream car when shopping or researching online. But how does this unique tool actually benefit the shopper? And what are the costs of using this type of technology? Car shopping might begin at home…and online. Cars are an expensive purchase, so buyers might be hesitant to spend money on just the research aspect of their hunt. Check out many different vehicles online, and make a list of favorites before heading to the dealerships! There also aren’t a maximum number of cars that can be previewed or visualized via RelayCars. Have fun looking at all of them! Car Visualizer [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/What-Can-Shoppers-Visualize.jpg] WHAT CAN SHOPPERS VISUALIZE WITH A CAR VISUALIZER? Consumers can choose from a long list of makes and models to preview online. Images are shown to scale in 3D. The virtual reality showroom lets shoppers view the car from different angles or vantage points to get a better idea of the design of the vehicle. Shoppers also can look inside the car to see the interior features or check out the space in the backseat. Use the mouse to navigate around the vehicle and see images of specific details. The car visualizer tool also lets shoppers change the paint colors of the automobile. Some buyers have a color preference, but others might not care about those hues. This option lets shoppers preview many different paint colors, and this could lead to shoppers finding a personal preference among those options. For pre-owned cars, buyers might not be able to choose their favorite hue. Previewing different colors can help buyers see what each option looks like. When they begin their in-person hunt, they can be better prepared for all the color options they might come across on the lots. HOW CAN A CAR VISUALIZER SAVE TIME? Cox Automotive also notes that almost two-thirds of consumers (65 percent) visit third-party sites first during their shopping journey. And while Cox’s survey notes that buyers will visit an average of 2.5 dealerships, “…41% of car buyers only visit one dealership.” When buyers can research vehicles online, perhaps they have more knowledge going into a dealership regarding what they really want and need. For this reason, a car visualizer might save buyers time during those in-person visits. Viewing cars online allows buyers to get up close with different makes and models. They may be able to rule out certain vehicles, and may even create a list of the models that they want to focus on during their visit to the dealership. A CAR VISUALIZER: A VIRTUAL SHOWROOM…AND A VIRTUAL CAR LOT! RelayCars’ online virtual car visualizer is technically a virtual showroom. Using this online tool, shoppers can choose one model to explore at a time. However, this tool also can serve as a virtual car lot, too. When shoppers have a specific preference regarding the make of the car—e.g. Ford, Subaru, Toyota, Nissan, etc.—they can use the car showroom to preview all the different models from that manufacturer. Maybe the consumer is trying to decide between a few different models of a brand. A virtual car visualizer lets the shopper explore all the different models both inside and out! Look at the model in different colors, too! The visit to the car dealership may then just focus on test drives, paperwork and negotiations. When the buyer already knows the details of their favorite models, they can focus on the purchase…and finalizing the deal! Car Visualizer [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Is-a-Car-Visualizer-Compatible-with-all-Devices.jpg] IS A CAR VISUALIZER COMPATIBLE WITH ALL DEVICES? RelayCars’ virtual reality showroom can be viewed online using a high-speed internet connection. The speed of the connection, however, can affect how quickly photos and images load on the tool. Consumers can use RelayCars on their personal computer, laptop or handheld device (phone or tablet). Don’t worry about downloading any apps or data; just visit the site to preview all the different vehicles. Navigating the car visualizer (or virtual car showroom) is easy! Just use the mouse to move around the vehicle and see the car from different perspectives. The showroom offers viewing options, which can be found at the bottom of the web page. Users can choose to view the car’s exterior, interior or click through different paint colors to change the look of the car. Most models offer numerous paint color options. DOES VIRTUAL REALITY REQUIRE A HEADSET? RelayCars offers a virtual showroom to preview different vehicles. While some virtual reality experiences can only be accessed via a headset, RelayCars is accessible by anyone with a fast internet connection. No headset required. The ‘virtual’ aspect of the showroom is that it exists in an online or virtual space. The cars are represented in scaled models and images are 3D. All aspects of the experience are immersive. Users can explore all different aspects of a vehicle, and, in this way, can enjoy a virtual reality showroom without investing in any extra technology or equipment. HOW MANY CARS ARE AVAILABLE VIA A CAR VISUALIZER? Using RelayCars’ virtual reality showroom allows shoppers to access new and older cars from almost every manufacturer. Most makes include earlier models dating from 2015 (depending on the vehicle model) and go up to current models. Shoppers looking for a pre-owned car can explore these earlier models to help them during their hunt. While the cars via RelayCars are not pre-owned depictions, they are model representations of those particular vehicles. Buyers should keep in mind that pre-owned models could vary regarding their features, condition and/or other details. While virtual car visualizers can help those looking for a pre-owned vehicle see a particular year’s model, a visit to the dealership allows buyers to get up close to pre-owned vehicles…and to test the vehicle on the road. Car Visualizer [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/The-dealership.jpg] When consumers have researched an estimated price and have determined that this is the car for their budget and lifestyle, it might be time for a trip to the dealership. Online resources might have armed the consumer with all the information they need to negotiate or just finalize the deal. The dealership is also the place to take those dream vehicles for a test drive. While online tools can help shoppers visualize the car and even find pricing, driving the car might be what makes…or breaks…the deal. Sometimes even the most perfect car might not be what the shopper is looking for on the road. But even if the test drive ends on a low note, research from the car visualizer might allow the consumer to have a few back-up options to take for a spin. Consumers beginning their car shopping journey can visit RelayCars to check out all the different vehicle options and find their favorites. Make a list of a few options, price them out via other websites or sources and then head to the dealership to find the best car for the budget.
Augmented Reality Auto Showroom
July 7, 2021
The days of traveling from showroom to showroom to find the perfect vehicle are over. The automotive showroom experience is now available at your fingertips. RelayCars gives you the power to explore vehicles inside a virtual or augmented reality showroom without ever stepping foot inside a dealership. EXPLORE A CURATED SELECTION OF VEHICLES The RelayCars augmented reality showroom app highlights a curated selection of vehicles from our extensive automotive library. See some of the latest models from a wide range of automotive manufacturers, including Lexus, BMW, Audi, Ford, Mercedes, and Toyota. You can choose which vehicles you want to explore. The best part? You won’t have a sales representative pressuring you to make a decision. You are in control of your experience inside the augmented reality showroom. Simply select the vehicle category, year, make, and model to get started. Are you looking for a specific make or model? If it’s not already in our inventory, check back later. Our inventory within the augmented reality app is updated with new vehicles throughout the year, so you can continue to explore the latest models inside your personal showroom. SEE YOUR DREAM CAR IN YOUR DRIVEWAY Have you ever wondered what your dream car would look like sitting in your driveway? Or whether a specific make or model would fit comfortably inside your garage? The answers to these questions are just a few clicks away thanks to the power of augmented reality. Here’s how it works: 1. Open the RelayCars app and use your mobile device to scan your surroundings. 2. Select the make, model, and year you would like to explore inside the augmented reality showroom. You can customize your selection even further by choosing a specific color. 3. Place your selected vehicle in your driveway, garage, or anywhere else in your surroundings. To increase or decrease the size of the vehicle, use your fingers to adjust the scale on your mobile device. 4. Start exploring the vehicle. All you need is your mobile device and the RelayCars app to bring a vehicle into your home. Augmented Reality Auto Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Get-In-the-Drivers-Seat.jpg] GET IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT You can see vehicles from every angle inside your personal augmented reality showroom. To explore the vehicle’s exterior, use your fingers to rotate the vehicle on your mobile device. You can adjust the size of the vehicle to get a closer look at any angle. No showroom experience is complete without a look inside the vehicle. Use the RelayCars app to sit in the driver’s seat and take a look around the interior of the vehicle. You will get to see the same interior amenities and features you would if you were looking at the car in person. But thanks to augmented reality technology, you can see what it’s like to get behind the wheel of a vehicle without ever leaving home. SHARE PICTURES WITH FRIENDS There are no limits on how many vehicles you can see in your personal augmented reality showroom, so explore as many as you would like. If you find a car you love–or if you want a second opinion–use the “Share” feature to send pictures of the vehicle to family members or friends. Share pictures of multiple vehicles if you need help narrowing down your options. It’s just like sending your loved ones photos of a car from a dealership, but from the comfort of your home. EXPLORE AN EXTENSIVE LIBRARY OF VIRTUAL VEHICLES Step inside the virtual lobby within the RelayCars virtual reality showroom app to start exploring vehicles. Choose from our extensive vehicle inventory, which contains over one thousand different makes and models starting with model year 2015. You will have access to vehicles from a wide range of categories, including exotics, sedans, hybrids, full-size trucks, SUVs, and more. Once you select the year, make, and model, you can customize your vehicle selection even further by choosing a specific color. Our inventory is updated year-round to ensure you always have access to the latest models. Augmented Reality Auto Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Take-A-Virtual-Tour-of-the-Vehicles-Interior-and-Exterior.jpg] TAKE A VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE VEHICLE’S INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR Once inside your virtual showroom, follow these steps to take a virtual tour of any vehicle: * Choose the make, model, and year of the vehicle you want to explore. * View high-resolution, realistic, 360-degree interior and exterior images of every vehicle in our inventory. The images are presented in a large-screen format to make it feel as if you are actually next to or inside of the vehicle rather than viewing it from your mobile device. * Move your mobile device around to explore different parts of the vehicle. The images will move along with the motions of your mobile device, which is part of what makes it such a truly immersive experience. You don’t need a virtual reality headset to enjoy this experience. All you need is your mobile device. LEARN MORE ABOUT EACH VEHICLE IN THE SHOWROOM There may not be an automotive sales representative inside your virtual showroom, but you can still learn everything you need to know about a vehicle within the RelayCars app. Use the app to learn more about each vehicle inside the showroom, including its trim detail, drivetrain, and other features. SAVE AND COMPARE YOUR FAVORITE VEHICLES If you find a vehicle you love, save it to your personal collection so you can quickly pull it up again in the future. The next time you step into your virtual showroom, you won’t have to start a new search to find the vehicle you had your eye on. All you need to do is visit your collection of saved vehicles to see it again. This feature allows you to keep track of which vehicles you like the most. Car shoppers can use this feature to compare different makes and models, narrow down their options, and choose the right vehicle for their lifestyle. Augmented Reality Auto Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Step-Into-A-Virtual-Showroom-From-Your-Computer.jpg] STEP INTO A VIRTUAL SHOWROOM FROM YOUR COMPUTER Now you have the option of exploring the RelayCars virtual showroom from a mobile device, tablet, or computer. This provides a more flexible experience and allows car shoppers and enthusiasts to visit their virtual showroom from whatever device is most convenient to them. ACCESS ALL OF YOUR FAVORITE FEATURES FROM THE RELAYCARS APP You can access all of your favorite features inside your virtual reality showroom regardless of whether you are visiting it from a mobile device or computer. The same extensive inventory of vehicles, customization options, views, and immersive experience. The same virtual reality automotive showroom–just on a different device. Ready to experience the new car shopping experience? Visit https://vr.relaycars.com.
Will Remote Work Become the New Norm?
July 5, 2021
In 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that only 5.3% of the workforce was working remotely full-time. But that number has increased significantly over the years, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, many offices and workplaces had to temporarily close their doors to comply with local stay-at-home or lockdown orders. Most of the U.S. workforce had to start working remotely in response to this sudden, unexpected change. In fact, right before the COVID-19 pandemic, only 20% of the workforce was working remotely, but this number grew to 70% during the pandemic. Even though the stay-at-home and lockdown orders were lifted last year, most workers still have not returned to the office. This has led many experts to question whether working from home will continue even after the pandemic is over. What are the pros and cons of working remotely? What will the future of remote work look like? Here’s what you should know: WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF WORKING FROM HOME? Remote work has the potential to benefit both employers and employees. Some of the many advantages of working from include: * Increased job satisfaction. Research shows that employees who work from home are more satisfied with their jobs than employees that must commute to work. * More flexibility. Working from home allows employees to work more flexible hours, which can help them achieve a better work/life balance. * Lower operating costs. By allowing employees to work from home, employers can avoid the cost of renting or buying office space. The U.S. Patent Office, for example, saved $38 million on office space by switching to remote work. * Larger job applicant pool. If employees work from home, employers are free to hire job candidates located all around the country. They are no longer limited to local candidates. * Increased productivity. Numerous studies have shown that productivity tends to increase when employees work remotely. * More control over the work environment. Employees who work from home can create their own work environment, which is something they cannot do in the office. This allows them to create whatever type of environment works best for them. Will Remote Work Become the New Norm? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/What-Are-the-Drawbacks-of-Working-From-Home.jpg] WHAT ARE THE DRAWBACKS OF WORKING FROM HOME? There are drawbacks to working from home, too. Some of the disadvantages of remote work include: * Enforced isolation. Working from home means spending a lot of time alone, which may not appeal to some employees. * Noisy environment. Employees with kids or employees who share their at-home work space with a spouse or roommate may have to work in a noisy, distracting environment. * Longer hours. Studies show that employees who work from home tend to work longer hours than employees who commute to work. This could be because it’s harder to separate work from your personal life when you are working from home. * Privacy concerns. Employers often keep tabs on their remote workers with monitoring software, which some employees may consider an invasion of their privacy. * Limited to certain professions. It’s impossible for people who work in health care, service, public transportation, and other fields to work from home. * Child care. During the pandemic, many remote employees had no other choice but to juggle child care and work, which was a constant struggle. HOW REMOTE WORK HAS CHANGED HOW PEOPLE WORK Regardless of the future of remote work, working from home has already led to several major changes to the way people work. Some of these changes are positive, whereas others are not. These major changes include: * Shift to New Technologies * Rethink Meetings * Lack of Communication With “Weak Ties” SHIFT TO NEW TECHNOLOGIES Remote workers had to quickly adopt several new technologies in order to successfully complete their work from home. For example, Accenture, which employs over 500,000 people around the world, had to send nearly all of its employees home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, less than 10% of employees worked remotely, so this represented a major shift for the company. To adapt to this change, Accenture relied heavily on Microsoft Teams, which is a business communication platform. Because employees were no longer able to meet face-to-face, they used this platform to conduct audio and video calls with their co-workers. According to Accenture, the volume of video calls increased sixfold and audio calls tripled to 900 million minutes. Thanks in part to these technologies, Accenture employees were able to seamlessly switch to remote work. Employee productivity also increased across several metrics, including developer productivity. Will Remote Work Become the New Norm? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Rethink-Meetings.jpg] RETHINK MEETINGS It’s no secret that employees don’t enjoy meetings. Multiple studies have shown that employees want to reduce the number of meetings they must attend in the workplace. In fact, one study conducted by researchers at Boston University found that 71% of employees think most meetings are unproductive and inefficient. Fortunately, the shift to remote work has forced many employers to rethink common office practices, including meetings. Employers now schedule video conferences with employees who are working remotely. But video conferencing technology is far from perfect. The signal is often delayed, which leads to attendees awkwardly talking over one another. Furthermore, many employees find it unnatural and unsettling to stare at their co-workers on a video conference for hours. Problems like these have made employers more mindful of when they are scheduling meetings and who needs to attend. To avoid issues with video conferencing, employers are now only scheduling meetings when it is absolutely necessary, and they’re only inviting those who could benefit from attending. As a result, there are fewer formal video conference meetings with remote workers, although co-workers still stay in constant contact via instant messaging. LACK OF COMMUNICATION WITH “WEAK TIES” In an office setting, conversations often start when two or more employees bump into one another in a common area. But this isn’t possible in a remote setting, and the lack of small talk like this has changed the way remote employees communicate with one another. Humanyze software is designed to evaluate internal communication within organizations. It classifies each contact as a “strong tie” or “weak tie.” A strong tie is a contact an employee talks to frequently, whereas a weak tie is a contact an employee rarely talks to. Prior to COVID-19, about 45% of an employee’s time was spent communicating with their five strongest ties within their organization. During the pandemic, this number increased to 60%. In other words, working remotely made strong ties even stronger. On the other hand, communication with contacts classified as weak ties decreased by over 30%. Research has shown that communication between weak ties within a company often leads to innovative new ideas. Because of this, the drop in weak tie communication could affect a company’s ability to innovate. Will Remote Work Become the New Norm? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/The-Future-of-Remote-Work.jpg] THE FUTURE OF REMOTE WORK There’s no doubt that the pandemic completely disrupted the way people work. But after the pandemic is over, will employees return to the workplace and go back to business as usual? Here are three predictions about the future of remote work: * Emergence of New Technologies * Permanent Shift to Remote Work * Hybrid Remote/Office Model EMERGENCE OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES Experts believe that countless new technologies will emerge to support remote work. Some experts predict that employers will use augmented reality and virtual reality to conduct meetings with remote workers in the future. These technologies may create a more personal, intimate meeting experience and eventually replace video conferencing and audio calls. Several communication platforms designed specifically for remote workers are already in development. Pragli is an instant messaging platform that allows remote workers to make their conversations public, which would give their co-workers an opportunity to join their conversation. The platform’s developers believe that this feature will help remote workers engage in small talk and banter that occurs frequently in an office setting. There’s also Loom.ai, which is a video conferencing platform that lets remote workers use avatars instead of showing their faces. Switching to an avatar helps remote workers avoid the awkwardness of staring at their co-workers during a video conference. It also gives remote workers the freedom to get up from their seats and move around so they don’t need to sit in the same position staring at their screen for the duration of the meeting. PERMANENT SHIFT TO REMOTE WORK Some experts predict that a number of companies will allow their employees to work remotely forever. Several companies have already hinted that this is a very real possibility. Facebook, for example, expects half of their workforce to shift to remote work within the next five years. Other companies have already moved forward with plans to permanently shift to remote work. Twitter has announced that its employees will not be required to return to the office at any point in the future. Nationwide Insurance permanently closed six of its offices after announcing that one-third of employees will now permanently work from home. These are just several examples of companies that are making the switch to remote work permanent, but experts predict that many others will follow suit in the near future. Will Remote Work Become the New Norm? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Hybrid-Remote.jpg] HYBRID REMOTE/OFFICE MODEL Experts also predict that companies will adopt a hybrid model that allows employees to split their time between home and the office. This is partly due to the fact that research shows that employees find it challenging to build trust with co-workers online. To solve this problem, experts believe that employers will give employees both face-to-face time and remote work time. One scholar, Timothy Golden, found that there is a correlation between a worker’s happiness and the amount of time they spend working remotely. The more someone works from home, the happier they are. However, the worker’s happiness tends to plateau once they reach 15 hours of remote work per week. At this point, their happiness will not increase regardless of how many more hours they work from home. This study supports the idea of adopting a hybrid home/office approach in the future.