Public Access

Community storytelling.

This post was created by a member of the Public Access community. It has not been edited for accuracy or truthfulness and does not reflect the opinions of Engadget or its editors.

Editor's Picks

Image credit:

Using Virtual Reality to Put Customers in the Real Driver's Seat

Ale Resnik, @AleResnik

Sponsored Links

Year 2016. Consumers are demanding a new way to transact seamlessly and ubiquitously. The generation that's driving commerce growth across all industries has had access to a smartphone since they were 14. No wonder they don't want to drive to a store, spend time with the salesmen and transact in the presence of information asymmetry.

Beepi's mission has always been to free people from the stress and hassle associated with car buying and selling, giving them all of the information about their car without the need to visit a dealership. With that in mind, this week we launched Beepi 360˚, using immersive 360˚ technology to revolutionize the way we buy and sell cars.

360 Exterior Video from Beepi on Vimeo.

This technology enables that experience and the feeling of sitting in your dream car (or several contenders!) from the comfort of your home. Not only can you access an inspection report, but you can virtually walk around the car and see everything from the sparkle of the paint to the glint of the hood ornament all by yourself.

I believe virtual reality will play a huge role in our future. The news will be able to virtually transport you into important moments around the world, video chat will feel like sitting in the same room as your loved ones and e-commerce will allow you to see, feel and smell the items you are considering for purchase. The most exciting aspect of virtual reality is the way it encourages people to share experiences and connect openly as though they are living in that same moment. The potential for this technology to increase human empathy makes me truly hopeful about our near future.

I predict this massive shift will transform many industries. We're already starting to see automakers jumping on this movement, with Cadillac considering eliminating traditional showrooms in favor of VR headsets. This has big implications for both car buyers and sellers – you can set up a VR 'dealership' anywhere, and people can virtually walk around ten cars in ten minutes. Visiting a car could be as simple as visiting a website or putting on a headset.

People today want authentic experiences that enrich their lives in a meaningful way– i.e., the opposite of traditional car buying. Spending time on a non-enriching experience is considered a waste of time. Consumers demand a more seamless, painless transaction, and they expect to be able to conduct that transaction from wherever they are. Not only that, but they require a lot of information and want to know exactly what they're getting before they see it in real life. There should be no barriers to information and feelings about the car you're considering, so that you can make a choice that you are 100% confident in. If you can feel like you are sitting in your new car, it builds excitement, commitment and trust before the car is in your driveway for real.

20 Sec 360 from Beepi on Vimeo.

The real estate industry has known this for years. Virtual tours have been a key sales tool for realtors hoping to effectively bring the buyers into the property from their computers. And, as that buyer, if we like the house, we might then use Google Map's "Street View" to get a sense of the neighborhood. VR will take this to a new level, just as it will the automotive sector. And it has to. These are the two biggest ticket-items people will buy in their lifetimes, so the experience has to be that much more real than if buying, say, a new pair of sneakers.

That's why Beepi 360˚ is incredibly important to us. It's our first step into using truly immersive technology to transport consumers into true 21st century commerce. It makes the whole process that much more immersive. You can even see the grain on the leather, or examine every inch of bodywork.

And one day, VR will help drive this even further. One day, not far from today, you will just virtually test your car, lower your window and enjoy the spectacular scenery and feel the wind on your face, as if you're there in person.
Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr