Enhancing the Customer Experience with Virtual Reality

Enhancing the Customer Experience with Virtual Reality

Revolutionary products demand revolutionary training.
Constant advances in communication technology are providing unique and exciting new ways for people to interact with each other and the world. Virtual Reality experiences connected over the internet, allow users to interact in the same space without the hindrance of distance and travel. Recently, companies have begun harnessing the potential of VR to better serve, educate, and engage their customers and internal workforce.
Experts have identified customer experience as key to business success. Brands can be built around customer experience rather than the other way around.

Because of the advantage of being able to engage and interact with the client by creating life-like interactions and experiences, Virtual Reality is positioned to be a key value differentiator. These innovative avenues garner a greater, more in-depth understanding of the products. And when that occurs the connection is strengthened between company and customer.

Take customer service for example.  On any given day, a company receives a call from a customer requesting technical support on a product. Remote troubleshooting can be tedious when a representative is forced to rely on a customer’s subjective description of the problem. Representatives are often forced to rely on the process of elimination, whereby customers are asked to run through a battery of tests in order to recreate a problem. This sort of step-by-step troubleshooting is slow and difficult to follow. Effectiveness is also challenging to gauge for the representative. Even the clearest, most patient representative cannot visualize how well a customer is following instructions. VR customer support allows for an virtual “in-person” encounter. It can provide a direct ROI, for instance, as warranty issues can be decreased by offering this sort of personal interaction, regardless of its digital origins.

By 2017, 89% of marketers expect customer experience to be their primary differentiator. VR can be a key differentiator amongst your competitors for customer service and product knowledge. Research firms like Gartner and Forrester have identified customer experience as key to business success.

Virtual Reality is solving these problems by allowing a customer to share exactly what they are seeing and doing with a representative, which, in turn, creates a clearer, more streamlined path for the representative to guide the customer through the troubleshooting process. This approach is benefiting all market segments and verticals from healthcare and the medical device industry to highly technical skilled labor arenas.

By delivering continuous value to customers after their initial purchase, and by helping customers to have a greater understanding of a product, the relationship between company and customer is strengthened.

Additionally,  one of the most useful aspects of utilizing VR in customer service training is also the most basic. Studies have found that in-person customer service yields higher degrees of  satisfaction than help desks, chat, and email combined. While it isn’t always practical for the client to come to you, VR can make face-to-face interactions possible.

VisionThree has created a number of effective VR solutions highlighting customer support, training, and general product knowledge and exploration. Solutions include the ability to have multiple participants in the VR environment across the globe. Desktop PCs, laptops, or tablets have also been integrated to interact within those exact same environments.

Using Hands in Virtual Reality – How VisionThree is Eliminating Controllers

Using Hands in Virtual Reality – How VisionThree is Eliminating Controllers

VisionThree is using the latest technology to optimize Virtual Reality (VR) hardware to its greatest potential. 

We’re creating VR solutions that effectively allow the user to interact with virtual objects with more natural, controller-free, gestures. Users are now able to see virtual representations of their own hands in the environment!

VisionThree recently had the opportunity to present our innovative VR maintenance training capabilities to an audience of U.S. Military officials. The distinguished audience, who have been early adopters of virtual training, were amazed by how seamlessly our VR solutions incorporated the user’s own hands instead of requiring the use of bulky controllers.

As the military has learned, the advantages of VR in training are vast. Current research shows that use of a VR-based training solution can change the paradigm from traditional passive learning to active learning models. Learners don’t always remember what they are told, but they almost always remember what they’ve done.

Imagine training your employees in a risk-free virtual environment. One where they are free to make and learn from mistakes without worrying about wasting company resources. They could instantly reset whatever skills they are trying to hone again and again until they have mastered them. This sort of repetition would not require more materials for practicing physical tasks. Additionally, an instructor presence is not required to demonstrate a specific skill again and again until no one had any further questions.

Virtual Training is rapidly becoming the new standard for boosting training retention rates and lowering training times and costs.  Recent feedback indicates that our VR environment can:

  • Create a more realistic/effective learning environment
  • Increase training depth (more reps/sets available in a quicker time period)
  • Allow for more natural interactions with the integration of the user’s hands, and eliminates any handicap due to knowledge of controller functionality
  • Lower training costs (on-site training available)
  • Eliminate need for a full-scale simulator (equipment costs are vastly improved)
  • Provide distance learning opportunities (Portability and/or over networked lines)

Scientists have long predicted the value of VR in training. Studies about information retention conducted by the National Training Laboratories show the following statistics:

  • Traditional, passive learning methods such as reading, listening to lectures, and watching instructional videos result in information retention of between five and 20 percent.

  • Seeing a demonstration of a technique increases retention to 30 percent.

  • Active learning—repetitively performing a technique or applying information—can increase retention to 75 percent.

  • Having the opportunity to practice and make mistakes can increase retention to 90 percent.

We believe that Virtual Reality has endless possibilities in training. VisionThree has a number of VR projects in the pipeline already today. And we’re excited to see where these new developments take this powerful tool in the future!

VisionThree Brings Hands-On Training to the Virtual Space

VisionThree Brings Hands-On Training to the Virtual Space

Dow Agrosciences is an industry leader in pest management, and when they came to us to help them debut an innovative new product, we here at VisionThree were excited to help bring their ideas to (virtual) life in the VR space.

At this year’s PestWorld convention, held last week at the Baltimore Convention Center, Dow Agrosciences presented a Virtual Reality demonstration of their newest technology:  ActiveSense traps/sensors. This demo was meant to introduce audiences to a full-scale training program that we are currently working closely with Dow to bring to completion. In this demo, users are invited to don the HTC Vive Virtual Reality headset and take on the role of the pest control technician; they are then tasked with setting Dow’s new ActiveSense traps/sensors in a warehouse setting.

(Scene from Dow’s ActiveSense VR Training App)

In this demo, training focuses on the plan of attack that pest control technicians will need in order to adequately protect a space and prevent infestations. They will be asked to set traps in the full-scale virtual warehouse based on specific details that are reinforced in the training curriculum (i.e. proximity to food sources, safe hiding spots, tendency to travel along established paths). The central crux of this training exercise is all about *where* to place sensors and *why.* Trainees will be scored on their ability to think critically to find predetermined “hot spots” in each of 3 educational scenes.

Dow and VisionThree based their decision to create this VR training simulation on recent research that discovered that Virtual training produces a 30% increase in student/trainee performance speed, and a 90% increase in accuracy on training tasks. In addition, VR-based training is proving to increase retention (75% retention) when compared with traditional, lecture-style learning (5% retention). What we are learning is that people don’t always remember what you tell them, but they are far more likely to remember something that they’ve actively participated in.

Gone are the days when passive, lecture-style training was the norm. Dow is setting the bar in this style of active-learning-based training for pest control technicians. In this program, technicians will have the opportunity to gain hands-on practice in a consequence-free environment.

By removing consequences, yet still reinforcing the training materials, trainees are allowed to fail more quickly, and thus, learn from their mistakes more quickly. Since each virtual scenario is reset at the touch of a button, trainees can take what they’ve learned from their mistakes and immediately correct their actions in an experiential way that will remain with them long after the training ends.

Revolutionary products demand revolutionary training, and VisionThree is excited to continue our ongoing partnership with an  industry leader in such innovative, groundbreaking work.

The New Age of AR? VisionThree is Excited to Put Augmented Reality on the Map… And in Your Pocket!

The New Age of AR? VisionThree is Excited to Put Augmented Reality on the Map… And in Your Pocket!

Hundreds of millions of customers will be able to use AR for the first time, so we're bringing it to mainstream. We're taking the complex and making it simple … we want everybody to be able to use AR.
Tim Cook

CEO, Apple

At their 2017 keynote last week, Apple revealed the newest iterations of their flagship products.

The highly anticipated iPhone X boasts a “new generation” of iPhone. It is equipped with two cameras, creating Augmented Reality opportunities previously unheard of in a consumer-marketed handheld device.

In addition to new hardware, Apple is betting big on the new ARKit (pronounced “A.R. kit”) software, which will be integrated into new devices and the newest iOS update. Developers are already releasing impressive demos that show off this powerful software, even on devices that are not equipped with the camera/sensor powerhouse combo of the iPhone X.

With the introduction of such powerful AR capabilities to a consumer-marketed device, we predict that more industries will be utilizing AR to customize solutions for far wider-reaching audiences. From training to sales, new opportunities are appearing for companies to showcase their potential on a much broader scale.

VisionThree is excited to continue to tap into this new frontier of AR technology. We’ve already seen success with iPad applications featuring AR technology as a tool for visualizing realistic architecture and building components.

We have also seen success with sales applications that showcase AR technology to allow customers to visualize products and solutions in a physical, more personal way.

The robust new hardware of the iPhone X offers better, faster AR capabilities, and opens a world of new opportunities for VisionThree to offer more complex solutions in an ever increasingly techno-centric culture.

Apple’s widespread release of ARKit in iOS 11 means that AR software will be in the hands of millions of people in the most accessible means yet. And with Google hot on Apple’s heels with their own software, ARCore, we here at V3 are excited to see and participate in the growth of this platform as developers (like us!) tap into its potential.

Interested in getting a private demo of our AR work? Call or email us (sales@visionthree.com) to schedule your own AR experience soon!

VisionThree Creates a Modern, Interactive Media Experience for Purdue Alumni’s Boilermaker Station.

VisionThree Creates a Modern, Interactive Media Experience for Purdue Alumni’s Boilermaker Station.

VisionThree creates an engaging multi-user touchscreen experience for the Purdue University Alumni Association.

Another recent example of VisionThree’s successful experience-creation strategy is the Purdue Alumni Experience, a large-format touchscreen experience that allows multiple users to interact at the same time. Unveiled in late March at the new Boilermaker Station, this experience has already proven to be a hit with visitors. VisionThree, headquartered in Indianapolis, is known for its unique approach to designing experiences through the use of technology and engaging interactive design.

Alumni, current students, and their families are encouraged to explore decades of imagery that highlight various categories such as historic milestones, leaders, traditions, and accomplished alumni. This experience’s dynamic content has been brought to life on the screen through stunning animations that build and transition away as each user explores the content. These subtle interactions allow guests a freedom of exploration where curiosity and discovery are encouraged and reinforced visually.

This interactive experience will reside on a massive 98” touchscreen display at Boilermaker Station, a room dedicated to the Purdue Alumni Association on campus within the Purdue Memorial Union, across from the Welcome Center. This screen size is central to delivering an experience that will accommodate multiple users at the same time, as they visit the room on a game day or during other social or school events.

This is exactly what the Alumni Association needed – a really cool and engaging way to show how broad the Alumni footprint really is. And one that they can grow and keep fresh with new content. Not a lot of universities are doing that well. As a Boiler Alum myself, it was a great honor to be a part of this project.



VisionThree worked with the Alumni Association to clearly define the purpose and objectives of both the room itself and this key interactive experience, making sure we could deliver on our promise of creating an experience that truly mattered.

VisionThree’s creative and development teams then worked hand in hand to concept a visual experience that would be easy to use, intriguing to look at, and fun to engage with. This internal collaboration – between design and technology – has been central to VisionThree’s continued success as design trends and interactive technology have continued to evolve.

The Purdue Alumni Experience at its core is built around the concept of a dynamic photo wall that populates with unique content each time it is activated. Visitors begin exploring by touching any of the images on the screen. That interaction will trigger a larger version of the image, along with some supporting contextual information. However, that same interaction will also trigger a random assortment of thumbnails from within the same category to appear all around it, encouraging further exploration within that media collection.

Behind this touch-based interactive experience lies a robust content management system built by VisionThree. This CMS allows the Alumni Association to constantly monitor, curate and expand its collection of content through a simple online interface. This web-based portal provides a convenient and secure way to manage the experience’s content to keep it fresh and exciting as the media collection grows.

In addition to this interactive experience, VisionThree also developed a branded animation that plays under a custom branded facade along the exterior hallway wall. This highly visual and compelling piece aids in attracting attention to this new area of the Union. The infinite expandability, along with rich data tracking for detailed analytics, combined with the overall design and development of both the interactive experience and attraction video, create an entertaining alumni experience that will live on for years to come.

For more information about the Boilermaker Room, including its hours and location, click here.

Tech Demo: Accelerometer Input via WebSockets

Tech Demo: Accelerometer Input via WebSockets

Inspired by a demo released from Google late last year, we decided to take a crack at what it would take to create a similar experience.

Our testing results were positive, as we were able to get very good performance using WebSockets and GreenSock.  This demo is performed using an iPad, iPhone and a MacBook Pro.

Connecting to the server in this demo was accomplished manually by entering an IP address into a text field on the mobile devices, however it would be possible to use QR codes or a similar approach to connect without having to enter anything at all.  By pointing your device’s camera at a code either on or near the display, the connection could be established instantly.

Practical applications are only limited by the imagination.  One example is a video wall that encourages all bystanders to connect and interact with their phones, enabling them to control the content simultaneously, or even go head-to-head and battle other players.  Such content could be located in a stadium or airport concourse, providing a steady stream of users to the experience. This could generate some buzz to attract future visitors, and leave a lasting impression on your current ones.