Businesses are too hesitant to adopt immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality.

That’s the view of Jonathon Clark, business and technology manager at LCR Activate, a £5 million project formed to put Liverpool’s digital and creative sector at the forefront of research and technologies.

He says harnessing the power of immersive tech can drive digital growth.

“Immersive tech is driving digital growth in many sectors, but some business leaders are not fully convinced of its value,” he told BusinessCloud.

“It can be difficult for businesses, particularly smaller ones that aren’t working in immersive tech itself, to calculate its true return on investment.

“As the hardware and software required to participate in immersive experiences becomes more accessible and widely adopted though, the use cases will diversify, the quality of the experiences will improve, and the benefits will become more apparent.”

A real turning point in the adoption of immersive tech will be how small businesses perceive the success of large businesses in utilising it.

This is where Activate says it can provide a helping hand: the programme provides support and funding exclusively for digital and creative businesses in the Liverpool City Region with the aim of helping them grow.

For small businesses within the digital and creative sector, the initiative can provide expertise around potential uses, the business case and the technical feasibility of implementing the tech into existing processes, products and services.

It can also help businesses identify the practicality of developing immersive tools themselves.

“The businesses that are introducing immersive tech aren’t just benefiting themselves and their customers,” explained Clark.

“By implementing an emerging technology like this, they’re developing employees with new, high-tech skills and helping to develop the broader high-tech workforce in the process.

“In Liverpool City Region, we’ve recently seen the successful deployment of an AR tool by AR Independent, which, supported by LCR Activate, developed a customised AR dining experience for its client – Dockside Dining Club.

“Using the Aug-It! app, customers can access information about food and drinks offers, their serving staff, special offers, and they can share their experience directly to social media.

“This can provide huge benefits to the client in terms of social media profile, customer loyalty and ultimately their bottom line.”