Monday, May 9, 2016

Product Marketers: 3 Action Items to Keep in Mind About VR and IOT


As a product manager, Virtual Reality (VR) and the Internet of Things (IoT) poses interesting challenges - as these technologies become more accessible to consumers, you have to think about how to position these new technologies to consumers. As an undergraduate at Northwestern University studying Psychology, Business Institutions, Integrated Marketing Communications, and Entrepreneurship, I have found two interesting articles for product marketers that relate technology to psychology and could help them become aware of the impacts of VR and AI on the consumer psyche.

What Does Virtual Reality Do to Your Body and Mind?,” in the Wall Street Journal by Jack Nicas and Deepa Seetharaman discusses the side effects to using Virtual Reality, a topic often glossed over by the media. Although Virtual Reality is an innovation that will contribute greatly to the future of technology, there are potential side effects of using VR. Many people in the tech industry, especially consumers themselves, haven’t considered that there are potential psychological effects after using VR. For example, after 30 minutes of using VR, consumers are advised to take a 10-minute break because of the effects it can have on our perceptual capabilities. Using VR can also cause fear and anxiety, as consumers are completely immersed into an alternate universe. Product marketers need to take these facts into consideration before mass marketing VR to consumers.

Source: The Guardian

In a TechCrunch article titled, “AI is not athreat to humanity, but an Internet of ‘Smart’ Things may be,” Abdalla Kablan discusses what occurs with Artificial Intelligence is integrated with the Internet of Things. Artificial Intelligence has been combined with Internet of Things to enable certain technologies to have brain-like intelligence. With the way this technology has been progressing, it is possible that soon robots can predict distinct human emotions like human irrationality. This could pose a threat to humans in the future, which is a scary reality for consumers. The differences between human nature and technology are slowing being blurred with each new innovation in AI and consumers are taking notice, thus product marketers must keep this in mind as they start to educate consumers about AI and IoT.

I have developed 3 action items product marketers should consider as they start to strategize how to bring Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence products to market, especially as these innovations because cheaper and more accessible.

-       Avoid the creepy - Don’t scare consumers away from the AI and IOT combination; frame this innovation in a positive light.  
-       Be aware -  Acknowledge the dangers of VR by always being vigilant.

-       Tell the truth - Make sure consumers know about the potential side effects of using VR.

Based on an analysis of these two articles and my experience at Northwestern, I believe that as Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality continue to grow, transform, and become more accessible to consumers, product marketers must think of the broader impacts these technologies have on the psychology of consumers 

Neha Kumar is a senior at Northwestern University studying Psychology and Business with a concentration in Integrated Marketing Communications and Entrepreneurship. She is particularly interested in product marketing, consumer behavior, and entrepreneurship.

Contact Neha on LinkedIn and Twitter

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