I have been working on the NETV Immersive Lab project for almost a year now. Its major goal is to engage and support the adoption of immersive technologies by traditionally non-digital corporate businesses. 'Non-digital' is a really broad term and in my time working within the Lab I have sat down with companies from almost every sector imaginable. Having a tried and tested process within the Lab is extremely beneficial and fits most circumstances well enough, but each client is still unique and as such we always have to be ready for some improvisation. Below is a good breakdown of how we work with clients from non-technical backgrounds, but as stated it greatly depends on who from that company we are dealing with, as well as any previous engagement they have had with the technology.
Gauging knowledge and understanding
The first point of contact for us would be a sit down meeting with the client, in the Immersive Lab, in order for us to explain the process that we use. This lets us provide the best on-boarding support, as well as discuss their interest in the technology and assessing their level of understanding of the technology. On most occasions clients from a corporate background are normally at the start of their journey learning about immersive technologies. Thus the first steps we would take with them are to explore the relevancy of the technology based on their type of business.
There is always an element of managing expectations needed when meeting a business for the first time. If a client does not understand the technology they may lose faith in it and deselect it as something they want to use - now or in the future. We prevent this by explaining the current limitations of the technology as it is available today, discussing the ways in which the technology can be used and has been used in similar case studies, as well as alternative ways to be able to achieve the same outcome. This gives our clients the chance to begin to explore new solutions or innovations they had previously not thought of, but that actually is something they want to pursue.
Providing a technical demonstration - 'seeing is believing'
It is all well and good discussing potential applications and internal issues that need immersive solutions, but as previously stated in many cases the people that are involved in the initial meeting have limited or no experience using the technology. This is where the physical assets of the Immersive Lab play a part, as it is home to a large selection of augmented and virtual reality technologies that the client is able to try themselves. This gives them a real life appreciation for what it is capable of, whilst discussing the use cases that are relevant to their business. Being able to try out the hardware, without making any form of commitment or investment, is a great way of allowing people to get used to the idea of using it. It plays on the 'seeing is believing' aspect, that immersive technology needs in order to be able to give the maximum first time user impact. This also gives clients a taste of what it would be like to use the technology if implemented in their business. Understanding the interactive and visual capabilities on a more personal level allows them to take first hand feedback, back to the rest of their team and filter the knowledge through to the relevant people.
Understanding the ecosystem is a big selling point
As we are not in the game of developing solutions ourselves, we sit as an impartial body that allows a business to safely discuss and explore possible solutions with several different relevant companies that work within the immersive sector. This boosts the chances of adoption in two ways: the first being that we can advise on the number of available businesses working in a particular area, as well as the support available should they choose to adopt an immersive solution.
The second is that the size and activity of the immersive sector in the region helps to validate the viability of immersive solutions. I have found that getting businesses to understand the landscape is one of the most important things to do during this initial phase - as with all things the more knowledge that person has the more comfortable they are to proceed with putting time and effort into adopting something new.
Everything I have said almost sounds like pure common sense in a general selling sense. But, when considering the still infantile status of the industry to the broader range of clients, it is important to stick with the basics. We give clients and companies the knowledge and understanding of not only the product, but the industry that works with the product, building credibility and piece of mind that in adopting this technology it will benefit the client's company as a whole. Being able to make the links between your client and the technologies capabilities is very important, managing those expectations whilst allowing for creative thinking to see alternative routes to the same goal. It may not seem like much, but is has been tried and tested by our team over the last year, and I have seen some great successes because of it.
Safe to say something must be working and I hope that for those of you trying to sell immersive solutions to a client find this short breakdown useful, whether it is a new perspective and new formats to pursue, or just a positive reminder that it can be done and is being done all over, in all sectors.