The rise of virtual showrooms in the defence industry

7 August 2023 — Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Unlike virtual reality (VR), AR adds computer-generated information and images to a live view of the real world. AR showrooms enable companies to virtually transport an entire product range into customers’ hands so that they can visualise products in any space and to the correct size and scale. In doing so, these AR showrooms provide unprecedented logistical, financial and environmental benefits. 

Enhanced accessibility and collaboration

By enabling remote access to products and demonstrations, AR showrooms have the potential to bring the defence industry closer to its global stakeholders. By allowing stakeholders to virtually experience product specifications, features and customisation options, defence organisations can foster improved collaboration between manufacturers, clients and partners from around the world, without the need for a physical product.  

This immersive environment allows users to explore defence equipment and systems in a more cost effective and nimble way, offering a deeper understanding of their real-world functionality and applications. Users can virtually interact with the products, manipulate them and even simulate real-world scenarios to assess their performance in real-time.  

Furthermore, the immersive nature of virtual showrooms can contribute to training and education initiatives by providing realistic simulations for military personnel, which enable them to test out equipment in a safe and controlled virtual environment.  

Overall, the immersive aspect of defence showrooms adds value by enhancing engagement, knowledge transfer and training capabilities, ultimately leading to a more improved decision-making and a more streamlined procurement process. 

Cost and logistics

Traditionally, showcasing defence equipment requires transporting bulky and highly sensitive machinery to various locations for exhibitions, conferences and demonstrations. From packaging, insurance, storage and manpower, the cost implications of transporting defence equipment are vast. 

AR showrooms, however, enable defence companies to showcase their products remotely, eliminating the need for physical transportation and saving valuable time and resources. As well as reducing overhead costs, AR showrooms offer a scalable solution that allows multiple users to access the showroom simultaneously, thus maximising reach and potential customer engagement. 

Sustainability and environmental considerations

In addition to the logistical and cost benefits, AR showrooms can also contribute to sustainability efforts. By eliminating the need for physical transportation and reducing resource consumption, AR showrooms help minimise the carbon footprint associated with traditional showcases. As the defence industry strives to become more environmentally conscious, AR showrooms provide an avenue for reducing waste and energy consumption. 

Future implications for workplace design

The rise of AR showrooms in the defence industry reflects a broader trend in workplace design. As technology continues to evolve, physical constraints are being transcended, and hybrid collaboration is becoming the new norm. AR showrooms are at the forefront of this transformation, reshaping traditional workspace dynamics.  

With the ability to virtually showcase and interact with defence equipment, the need for large, costly showrooms and may diminish. The integration of AR showrooms into existing work environments is therefore becoming a more viable option. Compared to traditional, large-scale aircraft hangars and warehouses, an AR showroom can integrate seamlessly with existing workplace design, significantly reducing infrastructure costs and promoting collaboration between hybrid teams and global customers. 

AR in other industries

Defence isn’t the only industry embracing augmented reality. AR is also making waves in the construction industry. From planning to progress capture and training, AR is being leveraged to provide unparalleled project visibility and ensure accuracy throughout the design and construction process.  

Traditional 2D sketches are being usurped by 360-degree drone footage, 3D models and interactive site experiences, all of which offer significant opportunities to improve the project lifecycle. With AR, teams can conduct virtual walk-throughs of the project prior to delivery, prevent schedule delays and identify any issues before they arise.

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The rise of virtual showrooms represents a shift in the way defence products can be showcased, marketed and sold. Their logistical benefits have the power to transform the industry, enabling manufacturers to reach a wider, global audience while maximising profitability. 

Virtual showrooms could very well foreshadow the future of workplace design as a whole, where we will see an increasing emphasis on hybrid collaboration and an increasingly digitalised customer journey. As technology continues to evolve, we expect that the defence industry will continue to embrace virtual showrooms as a pivotal tool in driving innovation, sustainability and cost efficiency. 

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