Virtual reality new avenue for marketers

Virtual and augmented reality provide new ways to engage with consumers.

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are technologies that have been experimented with for decades, but never quite saw success. However, they have now reached the point where commercially viable products to create and deliver immersive experiences are coming to market.

As VR and AR become more viable options, marketers are now looking to use these to engage with consumers in new and innovative ways.

VR is fully immersive, typically using a head-mounted display that is often connected to headphones, controllers and other peripherals that let users navigate through a virtual world or experience. 

In contrast, AR involves overlaying virtual objects and other types of digital information over the real world, which can be delivered through hardware like smartphones, tablets and head-mounted displays. 

Large companies such as Google and Facebook have invested heavily in this market, which is expected to offer lucrative opportunities to marketers. 

Many other companies working on immersive technology, content and services have reportedly received investments to expand their VR and AR capabilities. Venture capital researcher CB Insights found that from Q1 2014 to Q2 2015, more than $1 billion (£700 million) was invested across 91 deals worldwide. 

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