Virtual reality has proven to be more than just a video gaming gimmick. Businesses are now starting to realize the benefits of virtual and augmented reality, giving people 3D experiences that might otherwise be too costly or too unsafe to replicate in real life.
It’s thought that VR will become a vital part of most businesses in the distant future. For now, here are just a few of the innovative ways that businesses worldwide are making use of this technology
VR could transform the way in which we conduct certain tours, giving consumer better previews before buying into experiences.
For example when choosing a college, it may often be beneficial to take a look around multiple campuses, but travelling to these campuses can often be expensive. Companies such as YouVisit have begun using VR to allow prospective students to take virtual tours of multiple institutions. This could be particularly worthwhile when considering overseas courses.
Such tours have been taking off in other areas too. Many real estate companies are allowing potential buyers to take virtual tours of properties that offer more transparency than a few interior photographs. Travel companies are also using VR to transport potential holidaymakers to their vacation destination, whether it’s a tour of a hotel or a 360 view of a beach on a typical day.
The immersive style of marketing can also be used in business to business trades. Companies looking to outsource manufacturing processes to companies can take virtual tours of some factories to see if they have the right machinery and conditions worth investing in.
VR is thought to be a gamechanger for many manufacturing companies. Alongside the internet of things, cloud computing and increased cybersecurity, the use of virtual and augmented reality is thought to be a major component of Industrie 4.0 – the next industrial revolution that will speed up and automate manufacturing further.
Companies have built prototypes virtually for some time, but now such technology can create fully-functioning working virtual prototypes that can be tested in all manner of ways that would be too expensive in real life. Some companies like BMW are now even designing their products with a VR headset on, giving designers the ability to walk around their product and get a feel for its dimensions as they sketch it out. Such tech has come in use in architecture and when designing big machinery, allowing designers to fully sculpt everything more ergonomically.
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Advanced Spectator Experience
In the sports industry, VR could be about to transform the way we spectate sports events. Instead of being limited to whatever the camera is showing on the screen we may be able to switch between cameras manually when watching a sport, as the likes of Formula E have already put into practice as part of one of their four highlight packages.
Sports teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers have also been using VR to enhance the experience of spectators in the stands. Members of the crowd were handed out VR headsets, enabling them to experience player intros and tour the locker room in virtual reality.
Companies such as Rukkus have meanwhile been improving the ticket buying experience for sports and entertainment events. When choosing a seat, you can now get a better idea of what the view might look like by using a VR seat preview. This could prevent you getting stuck behind a pillar or placed somewhere with a skewed view.
Want to win over an investor? VR could be about to transform business presentations too. New company Skofield has come up with a brand new way of handling presentations allowing a more interactive experience for both the person giving the presentation and those watching. Both the speaker and those listening to the presentation put on VR headsets. The speaker is then able to take all the listeners on a virtual tour, surrounded by interactive information.
A presentation on a building project may be able to take its listeners around a virtual construction site guiding every step of the way. For now it may sound like something from the Matrix, but perhaps in years to come this will be how business presentations are held.
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Augmented reality has long been for training pilots – although today’s tech is much more sophisticated than it would have been in the beginning. This can allow pilots to train for flight scenarios that would be too dangerous to test in the air.
Other industries have now also started to see the benefits of VR training. In the military, virtual reality can be used to mimic a warzone setting to see how soldiers react. Such situations could be impossible to mimic in real life due to the danger or simply too costly in order to create a sense of realism. In the medical sector meanwhile, VR training is being used to practice for risky surgery. A group of surgeons may be able to trial test various methods with different factors at play to see which one is the most effective.
Athletes meanwhile have been using virtual reality to train for big games. This can help train for testing scenarios without risking injury. The NFL and many college organisations have been finding such technology beneficial for analysing players reactions to certain scenarios and getting them to improve upon these reactions.
VR training may already be branching out into other less risky industries. Already Walmart has started using virtual reality to train its employees for the Black Friday rush. Could we see a day when even small retail outlets are using VR to train their staff to make coffees and pull pints?
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