Virtual reality is not just for gamers; it can help you sell

We spoke to Samsung’s head of marketing, Philip Oldham, to find out how its Gear VR headset is helping sales pitches and what new office trends – such as BYOA and adaptable environments – we can expect to see in the near future.

How are you expecting the virtual reality space to grow?

A lot of people assume that virtual reality is about gaming and movies, and just for consumer use. What we’re finding now is that it’s having a lot of traction in the business sector.

VR can be used to give customers a virtual experience as part of your sales or as part of your workflow process. We’ve done a lot of work in the automotive sector. If you think about a city centre car showroom, how do you easily offer someone a test drive? How do you offer them a chance to customise the vehicle? How do you let them look at other cars in the range that aren’t actually there? Samsung’s Gear VR headset is a brilliant way of doing this.

The Gear VR works with the Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy S6. You just click your device in to the headset and you can have this 360-degree experience.

We’ve worked with Audi, allowing customers to sit in its new TT in the showroom, put on the headset and get a full test drive. This is a really exciting way of using virtual reality and it really gives a whole new level of flexibility and potential for that business sales process.

What other Samsung products will impact business in the near future?

We’ve got such a broad B2B portfolio ranging from air con, CCTV and fingerprint scanners, to business tablets and large format displays. We’re continuing to develop our B2B range and we’ve got hundreds of new products in the pipeline, including the next wave of mobility products, which will launch at the end of August/beginning of September.

The wearables market is getting really interesting in the business space. It’s a classic example of a product line where people tend to write it off as a gimmick, or something only for sports enthusiasts and early adopters. But actually the technology has a brilliant application for business.

The range of smartwatches that we’ve been commercialising now for several years has already had some really good examples of being used in business. Especially where people need to be hands-free – you don’t want an engineer up a telegraph pole fishing around for a phone. Having a fully connected smartphone with a SIM in it on your wrist gives a whole world of possibilities for business users.

What marketing initiatives have you got planned for the rest of the year?

On the channel side, we’re making sure we deliver the best in class training, support, and sales collateral to the channel. We are investing a lot of money in that area for our channel partner portal and programmes.

Also, it’s really important for us to recognise the channel partners that are doing a really great job. We recently took our top performing resellers and distributors across the market for an afternoon of rugby fun on the turf at Twickenham. As a partner of English Rugby, we’ve got quite a unique chance to be able to do that. We’re absolutely committed to our channel model, we’re a channel company, and we only sell through the channel.

Samsung has great brand awareness in the consumer world, but we’re actually looking to drive that awareness in the B2B side and generate a lot more understanding of what Samsung’s mobility, office, corporate and enterprise solutions can do for businesses.

We found that showing people what our products and solutions can do for a business is the best way of getting the message across. We’ve got a really strong partnership strategy where we work together with a lot of third party app developers, system integrators and solution providers so we can actually deliver to end-users a really strong business proposition.

How is the office environment changing?

Today, we’re seeing a faster change in the expectations for an office environment than we’ve ever seen before. That change is being driven by two big things: One is the expectation that people will work completely mobile. In research we’ve done recently, we’ve seen that a huge number of people are what we call ‘work/life blending’. They are doing personal things during traditional working hours and business things on personal time. People are now being more productive by choosing how and when they work rather than being tied to a traditional 9-5 working day.

We’re discovering that people are bringing their own kit to work because sometimes it’s better than what was issued to them. We’re now even seeing BYOA – bring your own apps. People want to find the most efficient way of getting their work done through the apps that are best designed for the process, which are not always the ones offered by their company.

The second area that’s really driving this change is IoT. You’ve probably seen a lot of talk from Samsung around how we believe IoT is going to drive change in the consumer world, but also in the workplace too. People are going to expect workplaces that are more flexible where the environment can adapt to business requirements.

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