Digital Themes

Virtual Reality

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality (VR) refers to computer-created, simulated environments that allow for user interaction when wearing electronic equipment outfitted with sensors, such as goggles or gloves. In these artificial, three-dimensional (3-D) realms, users are immersed in realistic-feeling worlds and able to act with consequence within those virtual worlds. This differs from augmented reality (AR), as AR superimposes graphic illustrations onto the current environment, but is not interactive.

VR systems utilize both software and hardware. Software programs are the base, but specific hardware such as headphones or goggles are required to allow the user to fully participate. The gaming industry has adopted this technology with the implementation of VR games. Big gaming corporations have created some of the most advanced VR technology within their gaming systems, such as Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, HTC Vive Cosmos, and the Sony PlayStation VR system. These gaming systems utilize a VR headset to transport players from their living room to science fiction and fantasy worlds.

Outside of the gaming industry, VR uses are seen in 3-D movies, virtual tours of homes and even cities, and in training simulations. Movies with 3-D technology use virtual reality to involve viewers in the motion of the film, from action flights to gentle breezes. Virtual tours have become increasingly popular in this day and age, allowing viewers to tour homes for sale without leaving their car or curl up on the couch with a virtual tour of the Louvre in Paris. Training simulation is invaluable for high-risk jobs such as pilots, healthcare professionals, and first responders. Virtual reality software can create patient emergencies, airplane engine failure, hit and run scenarios, driving scenarios, and more. Training for real-world emergencies in a virtual space is quickly becoming the standard.  

What benefits are there for Virtual Reality in business?

  • Training - Virtual reality enables real-world scenarios experienced in a virtual space. This is a great approach to training staff on important safety measures and new equipment functionality in a low-risk way.

  • Advertising - Within VR experiences and games also come opportunities for new and interactive advertisements. Allowing customers to tour factories, have interactive product experiences, or even see your company logo integrated into a VR game are all ways a business can advertise within virtual reality.

  • Try before you buy - Many companies have adopted the "try before you buy" concept, allowing consumers to test their products with a guaranteed ability to return if they aren't satisfied. Not all products and services lend themselves well to this idea however, with a virtual "try before you buy" experience, customers and prospects can test out products and services in a virtual environment. This eliminates a lot of shipping and returning overhead, and reduces the chances of broken or mismanaged products.

  • Fewer returns - VR software not only allows consumers to test products but also allows for design interaction. For example, VR technology can enable furniture store customers to visibly test multiple couches' measurements and aesthetics within their own living space and alongside a chair that they might also purchase. Doing this experimentation in a virtual space creates a full picture of the result for the customer, reducing both buyer’s remorse and the subsequent returns and exchanges.
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