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BMW + AR: What Students in Automotive Sales Training Can Expect from Virtual Showrooms

Published on April 13, 2017 by in Blog, CATI

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For years people have purchased cars the old fashioned way, by visiting a dealership, touring vehicles they were interested in, test driving a couple of promising contenders, and eventually buying one that was the right fit. But what if that all changed?

BMW’s new augmented reality app allows car buyers to view two of BMW’s models anywhere, anytime, in various colours and with different features. This never-before-seen technology could dramatically change the way people research and shop for cars in the future.

If you’re interested in an auto sales career, read on to learn more about this exciting new technology!

Students in Auto Sales Training Should Know BMW Uses Google’s Tango Technology

BMW’s augmented reality (AR) app is made possible by Google’s new Tango technology. This groundbreaking technology is swoon-worthy for even the most critical tech enthusiasts. It uses a cell phone’s cameras and sensors to display realistic digital images on top of what actually exists. The technology doesn’t just display an overlay of the image; it carefully assesses the environment in order to display the overlay as accurately as possible. In BMW’s case, the app can show a vehicle in different environments like a garage or driveway, giving buyers a real sense of what the vehicle looks like out in the world.

Currently, car buyers can view just two BMW models: the i3 and the i8, which can be explored in six various colours and with four different types of trims and wheels, helping car buyers experience first-hand what their dream car looks like, both inside and out.

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The BMW i8 is one of the vehicles that can be viewed in augmented reality

Students in Auto Sales Training Should Know the Technology Is Very Realistic

In order for AR to become a legitimate way to show cars to buyers, it has to be realistic. If the augmentation is glitchy, it won’t add value to the experience and it’ll quickly become a novelty. Luckily, much to the delight of professionals with an automotive career, that’s definitely not the case with BMW’s virtual showrooms; so far the technology has had great success!

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The head of augmented reality business development at Google, Eric Johnsen, notes that “The thing that sets Tango apart is the fact that it understands the context of the space that it’s in. So the wheels are really on the floor, for example, giving the whole experience a much more realistic feel.”

Students in automotive sales training may find it interesting that during the program’s pilot period, several people who tried out the app physically reacted to what was being displayed. Several users even ducked their heads when “entering the vehicle” and lifted their feet to “get inside”. How’s that for realistic?

How Students in Auto Sales Training Can Expect the Technology to Change the Industry

This type of technology has the potential to change the way cars are purchased in the future. Currently most car buyers rely on the traditional approach of visiting a dealership, touring vehicles, and then purchasing a vehicle. However, if the technology is adopted by the automotive industry, entire AR catalogues could be developed that let car buyers browse vehicles and try out different features.

As of now there are only two cell phones that have the technology to support Tango, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and the Asus Zenfone AR. However, with the growing popularity of AR among companies like Snapchat and Facebook, it may not be long until cell phone manufacturers upgrade their devices to accommodate the growing interest in and demand for AR capabilities. In fact, IDC estimates that between 2016 and 2020 the AR/VR industry will grow from $5.2 billion to a staggering $162 billion.

The technology still has a long way to go before AR becomes a standard in the industry. If it does, though, it’s more than likely that car buyers would still need the assistance of professional sales people to help them finalize their purchase. AR will become a welcomed addition to the typical sales process, but not eradicate it altogether.

Are you interested in learning more about auto training schools?

Contact CATI today to find out where an automotive career could take you!

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