Introduction

The worldwide penetration of virtual reality hardware is expected to grow from 9.6 million in 2016 to 64.8 million by 2020 (International Data Corporation [IDC] report, 2016), and virtual reality is already making a significant impact within a number of different sectors, including retail, entertainment, automotive, and health care.

However, the use of virtual reality in commercial research is still very much in its infancy and despite increasing industry interest, there is little available evidence as to its benefits. Consequently, we decided to run a trial project to understand how virtual reality could be incorporated into a quantitative research survey.

Working with 02 and our technical partner, Gorilla in the Room, we developed a research approach whereby we integrated a virtual reality experience in to an online mobile survey. The study was designed to measure the effectiveness of in-store communications around a new smart home product launched by 02, called 02 Home. 02 Home allows users to monitor their home remotely and manage home energy usage from their mobile phone.