Virtual Reality in Real Life
Interview with Ksena Avetisova Lead Consultant at Tieto Experience Hub; about how you can use virtual reality in real life to provide a unique customer experience.
Nice meeting you here at the great Slush event in Helsinki. Can you please tell us about your presence here, who are visiting your stand?
This is the first time ever that Tieto partners up with Slush. We have around 80 professionals from different parts of organization present at our booth to guide the guests through the range of services and experiences we offer in general.
”Our Customer Experience Management startup is investigating the role of new technologies in delivering superb customer experience”
At Slush16 we present a new VR demo that outlines the vision for future of retail, and builds up the base for raising customer experience. It is aimed at adding a new dimension to the omnichannel experience that supports business growth for retailers.
You are working with Tieto Experience Hub, what is it that you are doing there?
Tieto Experience Hub is Tieto’s strategic innovation program, focused on cross-industry collaboration, design thinking and customer-centricity. Tieto XHub is meant to guide traditional businesses through digital transformation by developing new service models and operating methods in close collaboration with the customer, while taking into consideration the needs of the end customer.
Working closely with various units of Tieto, XHub creates an ecosystem that involves multiple partner companies, universities and startups, offering a right mix for solving specific challenges. Since 2015 it is successfully pursuing the vision to create more value for Tieto’s clients and their consumers through digital services (powered by Tieto).
In addition to supporting our customers in their transformation journeys, XHub is independently developing several themes on yearly basis. In 2016 we have looked into digitalizing wellness, digital privacy issues and alternative realities – virtual, augmented and mixed.
We’ve been looking into application of these technologies in multiple domains and realised that retail is one of the less structured. Hence we set out to create and implement our vision and test assumptions with the users and retailers in a very lean and agile manner.
What we present at Slush is not a polished product, but pretty much the first iteration of our vision, which has high potential for becoming a product in future. We have been collecting insights and feedback in a true startup spirit – using raw demo to get our ideas through. This has been a rewarding experience in many ways!
I got a nice Virtual Reality experience here right now where I can move around in the location and move furniture and other stuff. For whom have you built this?
VR offers the opportunity for unparalleled immersive customer experience. It establishes deep emotional connections between the consumer and objects of his or her desire.
Our vision demo presents virtual stores in form of inspiration showrooms that provide consumers with an easy way to explore curated content, including new products even before they hit the shelves. It also gives an opportunity to create a collection of all items you like and safe their virtual representation in one space – which acts as a personal hub.
We are exploring potential of creating holistic customer experience management in VR channel, connecting multiple services to objects stored in personal hub – such as warranty, insurance, loan details, maintenance, customer support and other services.
There is a lot of flexibility in the demo, allowing the user to try different combinations of products to envision the end result before ordering anything. This kind of approach motivates for more exploration, at the same time allowing retailers to build stronger relations with both brands and consumers by offering intelligent marketing and customization.
Where do you see the biggest potential for businesses with VR in the upcoming years?
In addition to obvious matters such as delivering immersive experiences, bringing organizational efficiency to a higher level and
- Providing unique customer experiences that add competitive advantage.
- Training and education are one the top areas for VR development at this point.
- Remote presence is widely investigated into, aiming at being able to travel in space in time, reach remote or restricted locations or venues.
Since the discovery of VR as a new platform is in progress, many things are uncertain. The true value is determined through the use and by the users. The more we move forward – the more we learn.
If a company wants to jump into the VR-world with the products and services that they have, what are the top five priorities or tips for them, how should they think?
Like any new tech, VR is free from boundaries at this point. We all are testing the limits and at the same time building the paradigms of it.
We strongly believe that regardless of how far-fetched VR seems to your business area right now, it will affect it in the near future in one way or another. You simply can’t afford to ignore it.
There are few things to keep in mind when taking first steps in discovering the true potential of VR:
1. Built your team from multi-disciplinary experts providing well-rounded insight which is a combination of deep knowledge of technology, understanding of business strategy and use of design thinking methodology. VR is not simply about tech, it is ultimately about creating engaging experience.
2. Pay attention to the usability of the experience you are creating in VR. Think through the interaction – make it as natural as possible for the user.
3. Align VR development with your general strategy and vision. It should not be taking resources from other important initiatives, but rather supporting them. Any technology is simply a tool to help you reach your vision.
4. Fight the temptation of simply copying the real-world of web / mobile experiences to VR. That brings zero value in most cases and is not scalable in the long run. Think beyond – create experiences that are not yet available anywhere else.
5. Do not reinvent the wheel – tap into the ecosystem of professional partners and utilise their resources to achieve greater speed.
”VR is one of the steps towards the future. Don’t be blinded by it, and take a broader scope into account – including Augmented and Mixed Reality technologies and concepts. In many cases, the best value is delivered by combining multiple concepts together in order to achieve best results. Tieto, supported by strong partner ecosystem, is capable of solving any challenges to help businesses be future-proof by rapidly adopting new technologies and ways of working”
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