Ray Hammond, one of Europe’s most seasoned futurists, talked about a hot topic in everyday life and in retail—virtual/augmented reality.
In his recent newsletter, Ray discussed “How Augmented/Virtual Realities Will Transform Retail” and explained how it inevitably shifts the way people shop.
Virtual reality (VR), along with its sister technology augmented reality (AR), is offering retailers the opportunity to transform how people shop. One customer might try on shirts without having to travel to the store. Another might order furniture on the spot, confident that it’s right for the house.
Applications using either technology stand to eliminate customer pain points, elevate customer service, and create a differentiated, personalized customer experience. The successful incorporation of VR and AR into retail models also has the potential to vastly change the way retailers are thinking about stores of the future.
Retailers looking to develop a virtual commerce strategy should consider breaking it down along the following dimensions.
First, decide which technology to use for each application. VR immerses the consumer in a simulated world. It requires stand-alone technologies such as headsets and, typically, a controller. By comparison, AR overlays virtual elements onto the real world as seen through a smartphone or tablet.
VR is more exciting, but right now it faces a higher barrier. That’s because consumers aren’t yet accustomed to wearing VR devices (even at home) or to doing anything with it beyond playing games. On the other hand, as Pokémon Go’s success signals, any smartphone can be a platform for AR.
With over 30 years of experience, it is easy to see why Ray Hammond is tagged as Europe’s most seasoned, most successful and most widely published futurist.
His decades of research, publication and keynotes have been useful to some of the world’s biggest companies, such as Apple, GE, IBM, MasterCard, HSBC, Barclaycard, McKinsey, Intel, Samsung, SAP, Adobe, Siemens, Dow Chemicals, Intel, Ernst & Young, Johnson & Johnson, Shell, Microsoft, Cisco, Accenture, etc., etc.
As a best-selling author, Ray has written 16 books about the future, the first of which was published in 1982. Most notably, his 1984 work, “The Online Handbook”, was the world’s first book to describe the commercial potential of the internet and to identify the importance of “search”. The book he is currently working on is called “SMART BODIES: How Digital Technology Will Transform Your Health.”
In 2010, former President Mikhail Gorbachev presented me with a United Nations Gold Medal for “services to futurology”.
In Ray Hammond‘s keynote presentation “The Seven Key Drivers of the Future”, Ray identifies and explains the implications of the most important trends likely to shape business and society over the next ten to twenty years.