What Impact Will Virtual Reality Have On Businesses?
By no means a thing of the distant future, businesses are already utilizing VR in ways that were unimaginable even a few years ago
Admittedly it’s not exactly a necessity just yet, but virtual reality (VR) is beginning to find its place in the market. Going forwards virtual reality has the potential to change the way we shop, experience, view, communicate and even conduct business.
First things first, we need to understand what virtual reality is. Essentially, the goal of virtual reality is to change and adapt the way we see things using virtual systems. This works by creating a fabricated world that appears so real that our brains recognise it as so.
Although use of the technology in society is currently sparse, as it develops businesses are starting to pinpoint ways they can use it.
Let’s take a look at a few industries that are already taking advantage of VR and reaping the rewards:
The use of VR gives retail stores the opportunity to offer visual representations of their products to any potential customers, without actually having to have their products on-site. The visual aspect of sales is a fantastic tool; I don’t know about you but there are very few things I’d buy without having seen it first!
It’s correct that a lot of retail stores have the capacity to showcase products on-site, but not all products. Using VR means that space is no longer an issue.
There are also plans for social shopping to be rolled out over the next few years. This will allow consumers to carry out their shopping trip from the comfort of their own home, (virtually). The whole experience will be built around the consumers’ needs and going forwards will allow for clothes to be tried on, again virtually, once a body scan has been performed.
The introduction of VR has given us the opportunity to go on tours anywhere around the world remotely. This has the potential to completely revolutionise the tourism industry as it provides a ‘try before you buy’ aspect. Travel and hospitality companies can allow consumers to experience the location or accommodation before they book.
Even now some companies have created a full virtual environment for consumers to sample, (including wind, scents etc.).
Virtual reality has had a great impact on the automotive industry. It has changed the way we design, test and purchase vehicles as well as increasing safety procedures. Using VR allows designers to see what a car would look like and how it would function without them having to actual build multiple prototypes.
By recreating outdoor environments using VR developers can perform tests on a vehicles safety without the need to physically carry out the tests. This saves valuable time and energy.
The use of VR in Automotive is not confined to the manufacturing process. Some of the major brands such as Hyundai, Ford and Volvo are already using the technology in a sales capacity. With VR customers are able to test out a number of the vehicles features, as well as test drive them. This technology may spell the end for the car showroom as we know it.
Although the majority of VR content is pre-recorded the introduction of VR for live events was introduced this summer. The innovation is provided by the partnership of NextVR, a virtual reality company, and Live Nation, a major concert promotor.
The difference between a VR concert and simply watching it on TV is clearly outlined by Canadian VR expert Stephan Tanguay:
“If you want to see what the crowd’s reaction is, you could turn around and look at the crowd. If the drummer’s doing something, and maybe it wouldn’t normally be in camera view but you find it interesting, you can turn around and look at it.”
VR can create virtual models of the human anatomy that will give doctors and nurses a realistic experience before actually carrying out procedures on a real human. This can be beneficial for not only students but also healthcare professionals who are carrying out new or high-risk procedures.
The emergence of VR in healthcare also compliments the idea of remote patient care, or decentralised patient care. Healthcare applications are being compiled that look at a patient’s condition in the same way that a doctor or nurse would. This is extremely useful when it comes to saving time and resource allocation.
VR can also play an important role when it comes to patient experience:
“Virtual reality is like dreaming with your eyes open. As a healthcare provider, I view VR as a compelling technology that opens our imagination to a new class of therapeutic interventions. VR can temporarily transform the hospital into fantastical and healing environments. I’ve watched as patients and their families cry tears of joy during the VR experience.” : Brennan Spiegel, MD, MSHS – director, health services research at Cedars-Sinai Health System.
In reality (non-virtual) it’s unlikely that you’ll be directly using some of the more complex VR applications on a day to day basis, at least in the near future. However, you’ll no doubt begin to recognise and embrace some of the simpler solutions such as virtual conferencing and interviews.
Design and Architecture
New VR tools will allow architects and designers to create products, structures and even buildings in 3D using the space around them.
By being able to physically see their creations around them will give the architects and designers a better understanding and appreciation of their potential creation and allow them to identify, and therefore rectify any initial misjudgements.
Virtual reality technology is set to become a major part of real-estate. It will give estate agents the platform to begin selling property developments off-the-plan. This will allow prospective buyers to experience the space even before construction has started; with them having a better understanding and feel for the property should have a positive impact on buyer experience and subsequently sales figures.