VR/AR: More Than A Present Under The Tree

After a year of buzz and excitement the results are in: Virtual Reality is this year’s hottest gift. According to a study by Global Web Index, one in four millennials put VR gadgets at the top of their wish list this holiday season and even companies such as IKEA are gifting their employees headsets. Though considering the success of VR experiences in 2017, this is not surprising. Play Station VR already offers over 150 games, such as the popular Batman: Arkham VR and Raw Data, films like Dunkirk and Coco used VR as a promotional tool, and VR “classics” like Google Tilt Brush and Job Simulator continue to regularly engage consumers. But as much as it is a toy, Virtual Reality — as well as Augmented Reality — is a tool. A tool that can bring comfort and joy to more than the just the kids donning an Oculus for the first time.

Black Friday is often seen as the true start of the Christmas Season, much to the chagrin of retail employees everywhere. It has often been a complaint of both staff and consumers that the overwhelming nature of the holiday can make the shopping experience less enjoyable, especially when considering the number of part-time, seasonal employees on the floor. However, some companies are looking to remove this barrier using Virtual Reality. Walmart announced earlier this year that they will use a virtual simulation of Black Friday to train their employees on how to handle difficult situations. The end goal is to create an experience that can live on headsets at the store indefinitely, meaning all employees can train year-round in preparation for the big day in late November.

Though even the best customer service cannot shake the statistics surrounding the mass flight from brick-and-mortar establishments. Some establishments are looking to Virtual Reality to fill this void in the consumers’ interest, but 61% of consumers are more interested in AR when doing their shopping. Beauty company Sephora has already integrated this with their Modiface AR tutorials and Toys ‘R Us recently launched an AR app Play Chaser to encourage interactivity between kids and the stores’ products (while also giving Mom and Dad some time to help Santa fill his sack). The next step for Augmented Reality and retailer is to pair the technology with Artificial Intelligence. Having a AI shopping assistant can not only make the buying experience more personal, but can also help shopper find something for that relative who “has everything.”

But there is more to the Holiday Season than just shopping. Connecting with family and friends is a universal pastime during this time of year, with greeting cards being a timeless staple. Kreatar’s first product Tinkernote takes the sentimentality of a greeting card and marries it to the convenience of a text message, creating the ideal way to send well-wishes in this new technological era. Equipped with an extensive holiday features package, as well as the ability to send messages natively, Tinkernote provides people with a way to make Augmented Reality experience unique to them and those they hold dearest.

The holiday season is one filled with tradition, but with the inclusion of VR and AR it is clear that the more things change, the more they stay the same. So put on that headset, open that ARkit app, and make see what can truly make this season merry and bright.

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