Haptics Use Cases and Applications in VR: Marketing/Sales

This article was extracted from the Recommended Practices for Haptics in Enterprise VR published by the Haptics Industry Forum.

What should be considered while planning to include haptics in a VR marketing/sales solution?

Application maturity. A successful VR marketing application requires the marketer to be familiar with virtual reality technology and to have successfully delivered proof of concepts validating the ROI.

Developer/Integrator capabilities. The developer and integrator capabilities are important factors to consider while engaging with VR marketing content creation. VR marketing applications are well served with great visual content and refined experiences.

Asset Compatibility:3D source material should respect the compatibility necessities for real-time haptics interactions. This is especially relevant when re-using pre-existing assets.

What are the key values to adopt a VR marketing/sales solution?

There are multiple key values to be considered in the developing process of a VR marketing/sales solution. Among them, there is:

Engage the user. A well-designed VR marketing experience generates a deep sense of presence, increasing user retention and engagement during the experience.

Increase customer conversion rate. User immersion within virtual reality marketing applications can increase customer conversion. With VR applications, marketers can enhance user immersion and content interactivity. Marketing applications result in a greater lifelike experience and testing capabilities for customers. This is especially relevant for applications in real estate or complex products like vehicles, tool machinery, or boats.

Speed up the sales process. The sales of complex or spatially large products can be helped by VR applications. The greater benefits happen when a product requires user testing or live presence to evaluate human factors.

Reduce marketing costs. Virtual reality marketing applications can be realized once, and deployed on multiple sites, easily transported, shipped, and deployed in front of the customers. An entire catalog of complex products can fit in a portable headset.

Why should you include haptics in your VR marketing/sales solution?

The added value of haptics in a VR marketing/sales application rely on three main points:

Realism/Differentiation of active haptic elements. Haptics can differentiate and bring closer to reality product aspects and characteristics important for the marketer. For example, demonstrating how an HMI system of a virtual product responds to the touch or how a lever activating a certain command can be delivered with the right haptic technology. The user will gain a visceral understanding of how the physical product would behave.

Immersion. Well-designed haptics enhances the user immersion during the marketing activities. The user will feel more present and in control of the situation, resulting in greater retention and engagement during the experience. In the end, greater customer engagement means a greater chance of a conversion.

Accessibility. Haptics guarantees that the virtual reality marketing content is accessible like the real product. Users simply use their hands, feel the feedback of the virtual environment, and act much like in reality.

Which haptics characteristics should you optimize while designing your content and choosing your haptics device?

Wearability. Virtual reality marketing needs to meet operational targets to justify its ROI. Therefore, the haptics device used for these applications should be easy to wear, comfortable, and not impede users’ natural movements.

● Embodiment. What is the continuum between passive haptic realism and simulated active haptic from a cost and fidelity perspective? Marketers have to consider the purpose of their content and the target user. They have to balance the passive haptics effect, generating a believable, albeit incomplete, sensory experience, with the stronger embodiment and deeper experience delivered by simulated active haptics. There are existing haptics solutions balancing passive haptics capabilities vs. fully simulated haptics. The material, integration, and experience design budget usually grow with higher experience fidelity. Marketers should define the success criteria for the experience and derive the best haptics solution.

Scalability. Marketers need to identify what determines the scalability of their content. Will the solution be used by VIPs in high-end retail stores or realized in hundreds of units and shipped to customers? In both cases, the right haptics can fit with the required scalability.

User experience (WOW effect). Great haptics elicit the WOW effect among potential users. This is a powerful tool for marketers to substantiate sensorial marketing applications and make the experience memorable.

Content enablement. The implementation of haptics in existing content requires the specification of the haptics experience to be created. This can be delivered by purchasing existing haptics assets to be combined into the scenario, using haptics design software to create the necessary content, or with the support of a service provider delivering specialized haptics development.

Overview of VR marketing/sales use case

Virtual reality technologies have the capability to showcase products and experiences that are impossible or extremely costly to build. It has applications for trade show experiences, in-store experiences for retail, experiential marketing, and raising user awareness for specific topics.

This use case achieved the customer’s goal of increasing engagement and enabling the marketing of a very novel experience. The haptic component of this use case needed to be usable in a trade-show environment, be scalable, and create a WOW effect for the target customers.

SenseGlove has created a VR environment where the symptoms of nerve damage can be experienced. This simulation was used in a worldwide campaign for Procter & Gamble Health to raise awareness of nerve damage and build empathy for those suffering from it.

Nerve damage experience

Customer Goals: Product/experience insights.

Haptic Technologies Used: SenseGlove DK1, Unity plugin by SenseGlove.

Role of Haptics: Immersion, user experience, create empathy.

Outcome: For P&G Health, it is hard to communicate a marketing message of a disease commonly overlooked by people and general practitioners. Therefore, they wanted to create a campaign to increase awareness of nerve damage. The SenseGlove tool was the ideal one for P&G Health. At conferences, they can let GPs experience nerve damage symptoms themselves, so GPs can learn to diagnose these symptoms earlier. This innovative way of marketing also created significantly more traffic to their stand at conferences and roadshows. The project lasted for a year. It kicked off with a movie in 2019, and the showcased traveled around the world in countries like Brazil, the Philippines, Malaysia, Switzerland, and Portugal. Through spreading the video, P&G Health was able to increase the awareness in the public of the symptoms of nerve damage and build their brand in an effective and innovative way.

Who is Interhaptics?

Interhaptics is a software company specialized in haptics. Interhaptics provides hand interactions and haptic feedback development and deployment tools for virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), mobile, augmented reality (AR), and console applications. Interhaptics’ mission is to enable the growth of a scalable haptics ecosystem. Interhaptics strives to deliver top-notch development tools for the VR/MR/AR, mobile, and console developer community, and the interoperability of haptics-enabled content across any haptics-enabled platform.

If you are interested in designing high-fidelity haptics or integrating haptic feedback to your virtual reality (VR) project, download Interhaptics Haptics for VR and MR. To collaborate with Interhaptics on your AR/VR/MR project, you can contact us here.