The introduction of 5G spurred increased usage of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Some regions have already heavily adopted AR and VR, and through this marketers are able to provide customers with unique experiences.

With a huge portion of commerce now in the process of, or having already moved online, new and exciting ways of engaging with customers virtually are important. Due to this, the demand for innovation in this department is huge. AR and VR can enable companies to adhere to this, so it is positive to hear that these technologies are predicted to take off over the next decade, with the APAC region a particular powerhouse, according to research from GlobalData.

Sunil Kumar Verma, lead ICT analyst at GlobalData, said: “VR adoption has so far been relatively low in APAC compared to developed markets like the US. However, the region is bound to witness a strong adoption trend in future, aided by high-speed 5G network deployment. The burgeoning ecosystem of connected devices, which is estimated to grow further, and ample government support, will drive VR adoption in the region.”

Buzz AR and Cloudbae

Buzz AR, the Singapore-based augmented reality solutions startup, has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Alibaba affiliates, Cloudbae, as a strategic partnership to accelerate smart city AR/VR applications in the APAC region. The company is seeking to close a funding round by the end of Q1.

Cloudbae is an affiliate of Alibaba, and it runs the China-ASEAN New Smart City Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition. 

A Smart City is a framework, with technology which allows for planning in order to improve quality of life in cities. Through smartphones, traffic lights and smart waste bins, solutions can be made to solve problems citizens experience on a daily basis.

Buzz AR believes that the current ways of engaging users are fragmented – either solely online or offline, and that AR will bridge that gap.

What does this mean for marketing?

Reaching customers wherever they are is easier than ever, and with more than 3 million mobile devices having AR capabilities globally, a great opportunity for engaging with customers in unique and creative ways has reared its head.

Think more creative content. For instance, consumers having the ability to try before they buy. AR and VR take away the requirement for physical products, allowing an easy buying experience. We have seen examples of this with IKEA’s ‘IKEA Place’ technology, which allows users to place furniture items in their homes through their smartphone camera, as well as ASOS’ virtual catwalk, with which users can view clothing items on a model who appears to walk within their own home. Hopefully we will see more of this technology within the APAC region.

A more connected world means more available data, and AR can revolutionise the way we collect it. Humans can collect data, but it takes a significant amount of time and expertise. Imagine if this could all be done by computers. It could mean streamlined processes, enabling brands to consider what works best for their audiences in a much more simple way.

As Buzz AR believe that AR should bridge the gaps when engaging users, similarly, AR should help to do so in terms of engaging customers. A rise in the use of AR within the APAC region could mean great things for marketing. More accessible technology means AR can be incorporated into marketing strategies and allow brands and publishers to reach new audiences with fresh techniques.