Up until a few years ago, Virtual Reality (VR) was seen as a novelty for technologists and storytellers. While it’s been around for a long time, since 1935 to be precise, technologists have been working to improve it drastically. With the recent developments of tech, more people are choosing to implement VR in their lives. The current age of VR began in 2010 when the first prototype headset was evolved into the Oculus Rift. After a successful Kickstarter project, the creator later sold the company for $2bn to Facebook’s CEO. Ever since, the popularity of VR has continued to soar, with more companies and people using it than ever.
What is virtual reality?
VR technology seeks to create a realistic 3D image or environment that an individual can perceive as real, and can sometimes interact with in different ways. The headsets are designed with a mixture of software and hardware, and sometimes cutting-edge VR projects work to tactile sensation and even smells. However, in the consumer market, most VR is limited to vision, handling objects and hearing. Most VR technology uses a headset that is placed onto an individual’s head, with a strap around the back to secure it in place. After the headset is in place, the image/video can be played for the user to experience as if it were a reality.
How is it helpful?
The value of VR applications is endless. It is excellent because it allows anyone to work on things that don’t exist yet or have disappeared. The moving image can create a whole new environment for someone to experience. Many industries use it to their advantage, as it allows for situations or experiences that wouldn’t always happen. Plus, it’s a great way to test the usage of a product with actual users as well as identify conception errors earlier. The sooner you identify a design flaw, the cheaper it is to fix. Therefore, despite being initially expensive for a company to purchase a VR headset, it saves money in the long term.
What industries use it?
Many industries have found a use for VR over the last few years, but below is a quick list of the ones that are using it to benefit themselves hugely.
- Real estate
Imagine being able to fully immerse yourself into a world that doesn’t yet exist. Property and real estate companies use VR to show clients their newly developed properties, as well as their off-plan developments that are yet to be built. RW Invest, for example, has used VR to show potential investors what their new North West properties will look like upon completion. Another interesting way that this industry is using VR is to show potential international investors any properties they can’t visit for themselves. Similarly, it’s a great way to showcase a property that hasn’t been furnished yet by furnishing it in VR and showing this to anyone who wants to invest.
Automotive companies spend millions of pounds every year on prototypes that never make it to sale. However, they’ve found that VR technology can save them all of this money if they build it in a virtual world rather than the real one. Large companies like BMW also use VR technology to display virtual reality showrooms to anyone wanting a new car. In a VR environment, the consumer can customise their vehicle for any make and model you wish. This gives a more personalised experience, which proves essential when someone is purchasing an expensive car.
VR is currently changing the face of retail. Since there is so much potential for using VR in online retail and for training instore purposes, more companies are jumping to try it out. Plus, VR doesn’t have to copy the real world. eBay Australia recently created a virtual department store that had no walls, ceiling or escalators, in which customers could browse through an infinite space of products. The technology is truly revolutionary to all aspects of different industries.