Sometimes we can find traces of the future of marketing and business not in essays, numbers and researches but in novels and fictions. Take digital transformation and gamification. In 2044 Parzival escapes from the exhaustion of Earth's fuels thanks to OASIS, a virtual reality network simulation. It’s the beginning of Ready Player One, a novel written in 2011 by Ernest Cline.
Back in 1992: Neal Stephenson, a science fiction guru writer, creates his masterpiece Snow Crash and the Metaverse, as a successor to the Internet as we know it. The Mataverse is a ‘collective virtual shared space’ in which both physical and virtual space could converge. In Snow Crash, Hiro Protagonist - his name reminding us the importance of archetypes in storytelling - is a freelance hacker living in a ‘meta universe’, a sum of virtual reality, 3D virtual space and augmented reality, all fueled by a super-fast Internet. How do both Parzival and Hiro get into their brand new virtual worlds? By using and wearing virtual reality peripherals and devices. Is it just science fiction? Could it be the future of business and digital customer experience? Just ask the Oculus Rift.
Since the 60’s sci-fi authors have dreamed about a future where their characters could enter a new reality thanks to technological appendices, an extension and optimisation for their limbs and senses. Bear in mind that virtual reality and games have always been strictly linked (OASIS is nothing more than a universe large MMO game). From novels to marketing, the story doesn’t change. Digital customer experience is more and more focused on gamification, an easy way to connect with customers and leverage engagement and sales.
Virtual technology plays a vital role in how companies are changing their digital strategies. The Oculus Rift could become the next step in this path full of opportunities. Talking of games, the Rift is a game-changer for digital customer experience. It is a virtual reality head-mounted display using head tracking, positional tracking, high resolution and speed wireless connection to enhance the experience of a parallel virtual world in a 3D perspective.
Games and software developers have shown great interest in this new technology since the very beginning, but they’re not the only ones. If games are designed to mimic real-world fighting, in Norway the Army has started using Oculus Rift to drive tanks and simulate a real warfare. Just game and war, as usual? Not really, because there are still lot of opportunities to explore.
Why not create a customer-facing app to shift from static e-commerce website to virtual concept store, offering an amazing digital customer experience while you sell your product or service? You’re are a retail, fashion and luxury, automotive firm? Why not offer a digital showroom that your customers can visit to explore, search and even touch your products? The only limit is your imagination.
Stay focused if you look for useful tips to leverage your digital strategies. The future might be already here: more real than real.