The Virtual 2016 event was arranged in Espoo, Finland on May 26, gathering a number of companies and people engaged and interested in virtual and augmented reality. Together with the event arrangers, TNS Gallup Oy did a survey “Virtuality changes tomorrow’s business landscape – what Finnish decision-makers say?” Katja von Alfthan, Director, Innovation & Product Development at TNS Gallup presented the results and noted, “This event is the first connecting business and virtual technologies, at least in Finland.
TNS discussed with stakeholders to gain more understanding of the issue, talking with companies utilising VR and AR, companies interested but not yet utilising the technologies, companies producing content and having a view on this ecosystem in Finland. TNS Gallup asked 100 business decision makers what their take is on virtual reality, how well they know the technologies, what kind of opportunities they see, and if there are some issues that still need to be solved before they can really do business with these technologies.
Of these 100 decision makers, 19% said they know VR and AR technologies. “Recent studies made in the UK and US indicate that among consumers, some 23 to 25 per cent have never heard about VR or AR,” Katja von Alfthan told the audience. Of the 100 companies, some 25% are already utilising VR or AR – with a somewhat bigger percentage (some 35%) among larger companies. Approximately half of the respondents said they are interested in trying this out in their own businesses, with medium size companies, some 60%, showing most interest. However, when asked if the companies had made any specific plans on utilising VR or AR technologies quite many said no, some 60% of small companies, 70% of medium sized and 35% of big companies.
“87% see that these technologies can provide them with competitive advantages, something new they have not seen yet,” von Alfthan noted. Quite many mentioned several fields where they could utilise these technologies. The most frequently quoted were customer experience and marketing, and education and training as well as communications.
More than 80% of the companies working in the B2B and B2C markets saw benefits in VR and AR technologies. ”We made a statement that virtual technologies are only hype,” von Alfthan said. ”Three out of four disagreed (76%); as do I. I think business leaders, too, see more and more of news headlines and examples of VR and AR applications around, so maybe it is not just hype, maybe it is here to stay.”
”Two out of three (67%) said they want to be among the first to utilise VR and AR and gain the business benefits. They want to explore what is in it for them, and two out of three (65%) decision makers think there is top know-how within this field in Finland.”
But there were also barriers identified in the results. 58% think that the technology is not ready enough. The decision makers are a bit uncertain of where we are going at the moment. They have a lot of questions starting from the very basics like what is AR and what is VR, and how can you use this really. How much money is there to gain? They also want to know what their consumers and clients think. Katja von Alfthan notes that this information is lacking, which is why TNS Gallup has launched a project to explore the consumer market in Finland next.
When do the businesses think that they can really start utilising VR and AR technologies? Two out of three (67%) think it will take more than three to five years, even more, before they can increase the usage of these technologies in their businesses. There is a huge need for information on VR and AR. And more than 60% of the respondents did not know where they could find the necessary services or services that help them create the content for VR and AR.
Summarising, Katja von Alfthan noted, ”There is a lot of interest, it is a hot topic, it is not hype, it is here to stay, and it is very promising for businesses. However, there are some gaps, and the question is, how can you bridge these gaps? How can we actually make it happen, to make this interesting for business?”
”There are a lot of opportunities, but the businesses do not seem to be in a rush. The bottleneck is that they just do not know whom to contact or what to do. They cannot do specific planning before they have all the facts and before they understand how this will benefit their business.”
As the decision makers see they will only be able to utilise these technologies in 3 to 5 years, Ms. von Alfthan asks: How can the companies control the risks? They show plenty of interest, but there is a lot of information missing, so it is hard to see what there is to gain or lose with AR and VR technologies.
Noting that most respondents think there is excellent know-how in Finland, but it is often hidden, Ms. von Alfthan thinks there is a need for a translator or interpreter between the know-how and the businesses, and adds that TNS Gallup could have a role in this task. She thinks value proposition is something companies should really pay attention to and that the one who gets to the market first gains the most.
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Markkinointi & Mainonta newspaper writes about the same topic. Click here to read the story in Finnish.