July 28, 2016
Virtual reality is a highly anticipated technology on the cusp of a breakthrough. Yes, VR headsets, such as the Oculus Rift, are on the market and in people’s homes today, but the technology is really more of a novelty at this point. However, if we look to the near future at what VR could become, there’s plenty to be excited about.
We’re not talking about the Matrix. We’re talking about the contact/call center.
Virtual Reality in the Contact Center
Contact/call centers are probably the last thing you’d think of if someone asked you about the potential of virtual reality. Still, the uses are there. In the next ten years, we are almost certainly going to see virtual reality implemented in the contact/call center for customer service purposes.
Pictures can only show so much. If a business could use a virtual reality application to offer virtual tours of their properties and accommodations, it could give a much better impression of the location. Imagine virtual tours of a real estate property, a hotel, or a college campus.
That’s the vision behind “VR Tours” a new microservice under development by Interactive Intelligence. In the program, both a consumer and a contact/call center agent can embark on the same tour, and the agent can serve as a guide by describing the rooms in detail or highlighting points of interest.
The current plan is for Interactive Intelligence to offer the solution as an add-on to the cloud-hosted contact/call center platform, PureCloud.
Cedar Point VR
The successful theme park in Ohio, Cedar Point, is already offering virtual tours using their VR app, Cedar Point VR. The application puts you in the front row of their newest rollercoaster, Valravn, and allows you to ride the coaster from the comfort of your couch.
Virtual Reality Today: Other Virtual Reality Apps
Outside of virtual tours, many of the other VR applications in the marketplace right now center on recreation and information. Yet, even these kinds of virtual experiences may one day be central to brand messaging.
Here’s just a few popular VR apps today:
- Sisters: Sisters is a virtual horror experience. Essentially, it is an immersive video or short film. It locks you in what appears to be the living room of a haunted mansion. Then, as the film progresses, different eerie things begin to happen. Dolls move on their own. The walls turn black. The TV turns to static with a ghostly face.
- Zombie Shooter VR: This short shooter game places you in the Zombie Apocalypse. You traverse a subway car while battling the undead. The game registers where you are looking and uses that as your method for interacting with the world. Stare at a zombie, and it will cause your gun to fire.
- Within: Within is less of a single application and more of a television channel. Viewers can choose what short documentaries to watch and experience in 3D environments. For example, Valen’s Reef from Conservation International takes you under the sea to explore the conservation efforts around coral reefs.
These three applications foreshadow a new medium of customer service and marketing. Sisters demonstrates that these applications can evoke strong emotions in their viewers. Zombie Shooter VR allows their users to actually interact with their virtual environments. Finally, Within teaches us that VR can be used to convey new information in a compelling way.
Once virtual reality takes hold, it won’t be long before every major company uses this platform as a way to promote their message. We’ll be transported to a new restaurant’s kitchen to see how their entrees are prepared or behind the scenes of our favorite movie productions.
Virtual Reality is almost here. How will you incorporate it into your environment?
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