When you hear the words “virtual reality” the first thing that probably comes to mind isn’t business applications. Virtual reality has long been associated with gaming and simulation software, but the reality is that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have come a long way and are likely going transform the business world moving forward, with both internal and external applications.
Internally, VR has the ability to completely revolutionize teleconferencing. Rather than just watching a video image of the person you’re talking with, as is currently the standard technology with Skype or similar video conferencing software, virtual reality has the ability to bring you face-to-face with business colleagues and/or clients such that you can have direct eye contact and actually see details such as facial expressions. Not only does this have the ability to reduce the need for costly business travel, but it also begins to eliminate the notion of geographic barriers.
Additionally, VR has the ability to have sweeping impacts on businesses by providing better ways to educate and train employees – from doctors and nurses who can practice responding to real life critical care situations without the stress of a patient’s life on the line to manufacturing workers who can learn highly technical assemblies of costly products before they ever hit the assembly line. Virtual reality has the potential to save lives and money by ensuring that complicated processes and procedures across a variety of sectors are increasingly performed with a higher degree of mastery.
From an external perspective, VR boasts the ability to enhance the customer experience by creating story-driven experiences that would allow consumers to have emotional bonds and reactions to a businesses’ products and/or services. One great example of where this technology is already being used in a limited capacity is in the luxury cruise industry. Telling potential guests about what their experience at sea will be like is one thing, but being able to immerse the customer in the actual experience and allowing them to tour the ship “firsthand” before they commit to making a purchase is much more impactful, and has the ability to shorten the sales cycle, particularly for more expensive purchases such as luxury vacation experiences. Furthermore, augmented reality (AR) has the ability to completely change the way consumers shop online – from helping customers visualize how furniture will fit into their room to virtually “trying on” clothing before making a purchase.
Virtual reality is on its way to becoming the next big thing in business. And though VR headsets are still a ways off from being totally mainstream, the reality is that demand for VR sets designed for business applications is on the rise. And as more vendors begin to design and sell increasingly functional yet affordable VR headsets, such as Google’s recently released Daydream View – a hybrid VR device that combines a headset shell with high-end smartphone technology – you can be sure that more and more businesses will begin to incorporate VR technology into their day-to-day operations.