If 2016 was the year that Virtual Reality made its debut to the world, then 2019 has to be the year we focus on market adoption. Samsung, Oculus and PlayStation are solely focused on the consumer market, but many of the real opportunities lie somewhere between consumer games and enterprise applications.
Only two years ago, news about virtual, augmented and mixed reality (XR) was limited to new announcements about Oculus and Vive peppered with the odd new 360° camera. The news was coming at a pace of about 3–10 announcements per week. Fast forward to now and we are getting bombarded with XR news from wireless accessories, developer tools and enterprise use case studies at a pace of 30–40 announcements per day. One look at my Facebook feed will confirm that XR is indeed picking up steam, but strangely the articles are falling on deaf ears in the business community.
When I go on my highly curated and XR focused LinkedIn feed, I notice something rather disappointing. The reality is that most of the people who would use XR in companies come from the marketing or HR departments and not only are they not looking at XR news, they don’t care…YET!
Global Google Search numbers for VR and AR combined are only 25,000 per month (as of June 2019)
The XR community is already sold on the benefits and future potential of the medium, but the XR community is still a microcosm in the bigger enterprise world. We need to begin writing articles with practical applications for business written for Sally in HR, John in Marketing and Karen in Training.
Now I am aware that LinkedIn might not be everyone’s first choice to learn about virtual reality, but consider that there are almost half a billion people on LinkedIn and that almost all of them work for a company that can use XR in their business, it is glaringly apparent that we are not targeting the content of our news towards the needs of these people.
Most posts I read about a new 360° camera, HMD, Tracking System or AR glasses are simply feeding the news without the context of how and what this means to someone working as a marketing director at a bank or HR manager at a manufacturing facility. The XR industry needs to start writing articles with the end user at a company in mind and share those articles in their industry feeds (ie. online marketing magazines or HR journals)
One of the things that we need to do when writing articles is to constantly think “how can I write this in a way that will make other people interested in it?” When we begin to think a little more strategically on who might be interested in this news beyond the XR and gaming community and start writing articles that address specific pain points for business people, we can start to hyper-accelerate the uptake of XR by engaging brands to understand WHY XR is important to them instead of just giving technical specs and industry jargon. Let’s really take a moment to write headlines that might attract all companies to embrace XR and start to use it in their daily work lives.
Here are some examples of articles I have published to address this:
So without writing a book about the subject and without getting preachy, I would like to suggest that we, as an industry begin to start selling VR and AR to the very customers who can bring this into their companies and in turn bring it to the mass consumer market. So stop selling XR to XR people and start thinking about why this is important to everyone, not just gamers and tech geeks, but to Sally in HR and John running the marketing department for these are the people who will help drive VR to consumers in a way the VR community simply can’t do alone.
About Alan Smithson
Alan’s purpose in life is to inspire and educate future leaders to think and act in a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable way.
Alan is the CEO of MetaVRse, a global Virtual, Augmented & Mixed Reality consulting and product development company. He is co-founder of XR Ignite Hyper-Accelerator, Host of XR For Business podcast and renowned XR thought leader with millions of views of his articles and videos each month.
He is an Independent Global Advisor on the Business of XR to a select group of the world’s largest companies, chief investment advisors, and ultra high net worth family offices.