According to Jenny Dorsey from TechCrunch, augmented and virtual reality will reshape the food industry.
Augmented reality content can be found on everything from wine bottles to IKEA’s catalog and virtual reality experiences are much more detailed, with rich layers of interactivity from hand controllers to gaze triggers, and a VR film has even won an Oscar. With Apple and Google both debuting augmented reality platforms (ARKit and ARCore, respectively), Facebook heavily invested in its Oculus headset and Amazon unveiling augmented shopping features, AR and VR is primed to change many parts of our everyday lives.
Within the food industry, AR and VR have also begun to make headway. Although development costs are still high, more and more F&B businesses are beginning to realize the potential of AR/VR and see it as a worthwhile investment. Three main areas – human resources, customer experiences, food products – have seen the most concentration of AR/VR development so far and will likely continue to push the envelope on what use cases AR & VR have within the industry.
Streamlining Employee Training
One of the most tangible payoffs of AR/VR technology is using it for consistent and thorough employee training. The current process of developing training materials can not only be costly, but also vary in quality by team, store, or region. Many times, human resources face the conundrum of choosing between low-touch, high-efficiency (i.e. mass group workshops with the potential downside of low retention and lackluster individualized learning) or high-touch, high-cost (i.e. small group sessions with in-store, real-time training).
Enter virtual reality. Virtual reality can create a detailed visual world for employees to safely interact with their to-be everyday job surroundings and mentally and physically learn the tasks required. These VR lessons range from managing Walmart’s holiday rushto cooking noodles at Honeygrow to perfecting the espresso pull.
On the flip side, augmented reality allows for side-by-side training and execution by layering additional information on top of an employee’s direct view. For instance, a research study found AR to be effective in helping subjects visually estimate serving sizes. Maintenance and repair, a necessary evil of the food world, has benefited from equipping technicians with AR headsets to disassemble and reassemble products without being on-site.
These new possibilities for learning and development for businesses small and large not only increase the effectiveness of training material, but also allow companies to employ a wider breadth of workers with different needs and learning styles. As headsets begin to decrease in price and more developers pour into AR/VR, it’s likely more and more companies will begin to trial and A/B test these new learning platforms. Perhaps one day, we’ll even view former mass conference workshops with the same nostalgia as the milk delivery man.
Creating Wonder in the Customer Experience
“Experiential marketing” has fundamentally changed the purpose and construction of food and hospitality driven events. Millennials especially view experiences as a means of social capital, and sharing their attendance and participation at an en vogue experience is an important piece of their curated social identities. The success of events such as the Museum of Ice Cream and 29 Rooms have convinced many brands – Grey Goose, Red Bull, Zappos, to name a few – to begin reallocating advertising dollars to experiences and sponsorships.
Augmented and virtual reality play naturally into this shift. Both are vehicles to activate all senses and immerse the consumer within a specific branded experience. VR experiences in particular have seen growing traction for use during food & beverage events.
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Source: Yahoo News
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