The Business Value of Existing 3D Data in the Age of Augmented and Virtual Reality - Part 2

Erich Renz

March 16th, 2017

In Part 2 of this article, we will continue our discussion of business theories in relation to the realm of 3D, Augmented, and Virtual Reality. 

Customer segments

Ask yourself, “Who are we creating value for?” or “Who are our most important customers?” Chances are, you are serving several customer segments. Producers of TVs or washing machines are targeting a mass market that can be served with AR-enabled mobile apps allowing customers to visualize products. Manufacturers of niche market products, such as luxury watches or highly customized industrial goods, might like the idea of virtual showrooms in which they can present core product functionalities on interactive touch tables that are connected to stationary computers. 

Distribution channels

Customers want to be reached through a variety of channels. Especially in those phases before purchase — awareness and evaluation — Virtual Reality delivers experiences to customers at home,trade shows, public events, or during presentations and takes the pain away from products or processes that are difficult to explain. When would it make sense to consider Virtual Reality as a content delivery vehicle to reach customers? Exactly. If a product or process is so expensive, dangerous, impossible, or rare to produce, reach or see that it makes sense to give a remote audience access to it. 

Customer relationships

“What type of relationship does each of our customer segments expect us to establish and maintain with them?” If a particular customer group expects a dedicated personal assistance, a key account manager can handle all the needs and questions with a consolidated sales tool, mentioned in the chapter about getting the job done with AR/VR. The ease of use allows the key account manager to connect text-based product specifications and information-heavy customer requirements with the visual data rendered in 3D. Rightly used, it lays the foundation of a deeper dedicated personal assistance and is truly helpful during customer acquisition and on-boarding. 

A client that is self-capable in compiling the very information she needs is best served with a self-service tool. For example, take an interior configurator. Any consumer who wants to furnish her apartment downloads an app on their mobile device, recreates the living room in the application, chooses between given interior designs, picks favorite furnishings, and walks through the newly decorated room in Virtual Reality. If she is interested in previewing armchairs and stools in her state-of-the-art recreation room, Augmented Reality will be her new planning and purchasing tool. 

Revenue Streams

Let’s face the truth (also called “Return on Investment”in business terms). Before making an investment, any executive, marketer, or sales manager would ask, “If I invest one dollar into AR/VR technology, will I get back the dollar sooner or later or not at all?” A marketing manager might say, “This technology will drive more users to the brand and engagement time will rise due to the immersive character.” He would then connect his analytics to the AR/VR app and measure his key performance indicators. 

A sales manager would argue differently. Her world is volume dependent. The higher the conversion from an initial contact to a paying customer, the better. Especially, Augmented Reality used in tandem with other digital sales material, such as PDF-brochures, product movies, product documentation, and image galleries of certain product lines will pay off at a later stage. 

Also, product designers or planners would argue differently. AR/VR technologies would give them the answers they need for rapid prototyping. “Can we build this room we intended to do, given by all the information on paper?” Put on your VR headset and you will see if you can, or what you need to change if you want to make it habitable. “I want to see if the design of our newly invented elevator delivers what it promises without having massive costs coming along.” Sure thing, preview the elevator in real-time 3D, spin it, change buttons, lighting, or material (steel to glass) and access it in VR. 


It is no secret that AR/VR technology has the potential to become the next big computing platform after the introduction of the PC in the 80s, the Internet in the 90s, and Mobile in the 00s. The odds are in favor of AR/VR related hardware and software. Goldman Sachs estimates $80bn in revenue by 2025 ($45bn in hardware, $35bn in software) and assumes that head-mounted displays “gain popularity as technology improves, but adoption is limited by mobility and battery life.” 

When we see through the lens of jobs to be done, both technologies are fully capable of taking the circumstances of its users into consideration, no matter if they are designing, producing, promoting, or selling a product or if they are businesses or consumers interacting with these products. As the nature of their names imply, the value of virtual products will unfold its full power if virtual product demonstrations can be deeply integrated into daily activities of our professional or private lives. The moment we hear people admitting that without the help of AR/VR technologies there is truly something missing in their lives, only then we are done with our homework. 

About the author

Erich Renz is Director of Product Management at Vuframe, an online platform for virtual product demonstrations with Augmented and Virtual Reality, where he is investigating and driving the development of AR, VR, 3D, and 360° applications for businesses and consumers.