Technology:

Virtual Reality: What are the Benefits Beyond Gaming?

Jordan Green
  • Digital Editorial Assistant
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The hot topic in digital is Virtual Reality (VR), and although it’s still early days for the technology, it’s already become apparent that the possibilities with it are pretty much endless. Some businesses are already utilising VR for many purposes beyond its initial application, gaming. This post aims to look at what Virtual Reality is and how early adopters are already using this new technology to benefit their businesses.

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality can be seen as the next step forward after Augmented Reality (AR); where AR is a computer-generated image blended with a real life environment, VR is a completely immersive computer-generated environment that can be interacted with as you wish.

Many people have already witnessed the rise of AR in business, so with Virtual Reality having ever more features developed, it’s inevitably going to be hugely popular across the board; various applications, beyond gaming are already being developed (from the medical field to selling your home and all the retailing in-between), so the only limitation seems to be imagination!

Who’s Who in Virtual Reality?

There are a few different Virtual Reality headsets available, with some big names in the running to change the face of technology as we currently know it. The first to market was Oculus Rift, who received funding through Kickstarter; after being acquired by Facebook, the Rift’s headset essentially started the current craze of VR. Up next, we have the HTC Vive, developed by HTC who teamed up with Steam to revolutionise the gaming and entertainment market. Samsung, who have also worked with Oculus to develop their Samsung Gear, have produced a headset to work perfectly with their Smartphones – creating a completely new experience for their users.

So How Could Virtual Reality Benefit my Business?

Many brands have already embraced Virtual Reality, for example IKEA is one company who have utilised the features by allowing customers to design their own kitchen around them.

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Virtual reality is developing quickly and in five to ten years it will be an integrated part of people’s lives…it could be used to enable customers to try out a variety of home furnishing solutions before buying them…
Jesper Brodin (Managing Director of IKEA)
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The likes of Google, Apple, Sony and Microsoft are all working on designing various hardware specifically for use with Virtual Reality. Google haven’t released too much information at this point, but have hinted that it’s going to be aimed very much at Smartphones, purely to enhance their Android experience.

Apple is even more secretive,

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No, I don’t think it’s a niche… It’s really cool and has some interesting applications.
Tim Cook (Apple CEO)
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– Reading between the lines, we can probably expect big things from them I’m sure! Sony and Microsoft, the two big names in gaming, have already released their competitive headsets for the gaming market, the Microsoft HoloLens and the PlayStation VR.

Virtual Reality has the potential to be applied in any industry, For example in fashion and beauty, Trillenium (a company that specialise in Virtual Reality), have recently teamed up with ASOS to create a completely virtual online shopping experience. The premise is to develop a real-time, immersive shopping experience where consumers have the ability to browse, try on and purchase products, just as they would in the real world – discover the future world of online shopping, V-commerce:

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Although it is still early days for Virtual Reality, this is a pretty exciting time – this is a market that is predicted to grow as big and as quickly as mobile phones have (think about how rapidly the Smartphone evolved, over as little as 10 years!), and the more people, companies and developers that get involved, the more accessible (and cheaper!) this type of technology will become.

Can’t wait that long? Among the more expensive Virtual Reality headsets there are cheaper alternatives such as Google Cardboard:

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Go on, have a go because the future is now!

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