It can be tempting to write off virtual reality (VR) as a gimmick reserved for science fiction and video games. However, the applications for VR stretch far beyond its entertainment value. More and more industries are adopting VR for a wide variety of applications, and it has cemented itself as a useful tool in both business and entertainment.
Virtual reality is changing the way that the business world operates, and in order to keep up with this disruption of the status quo, businesses need to consider why investing in and adopting VR has become so prevalent.
Effective Market Research
The world of retail has always depended on understanding what your customer wants. Traditionally, businesses figure out what the customer is interested in by holding focus groups, surveys, or shop along. However, modern market research uses VR to glean all the same information, often yielding better results for less money spent. Researchers can quickly change the layout of a virtual store, from the arrangement of products to signage placement to learn about shopping behavior, all through a VR headset.
Virtual stores are not the only way that VR is changing the way marketing research is conducted. Eye-tracking software used during virtual tours can help companies pinpoint the optimal placement on the shelves for their product, and even influence design choices for packaging. Virtual focus groups can be scheduled and held for up to half the cost of traditional focus groups. All in all, though initial set up costs can be high, over time VR marketing research has no problem paying for itself.
Even the very concept of market research itself can be disrupted by VR. In addition to the cost savings and speed associated with VR led market research, it is also easier for companies to keep new products under wraps as traditional means of gathering shopping data require companies to roll the new product out to select locations. VR market research can also obtain information that is impossible in the real world by having a global sample pool to pick from.
Groundbreaking Software Development
Virtual reality allows you to go places that you’ve never been, interact with people from all around the world, and experience things you never thought possible. While the software developed for use by VR systems is impressive in and of itself, more impressive is the fact that VR is changing the very art of software development. By no means is software development using VR systems taking over the world of coding by and large, but it is still an incredibly interesting shake-up to the system.
Using VR to actually create software is still in its early stages, but the possibilities already presented by it are staggering. Software developers that use VR rigs to code have the ability to manipulate the code with their virtual hands or through gesture interaction or visualize data in real time. Software development using VR also affords programmers the unique opportunity to collaborate remotely, allowing multiple programmers to work together instantly.
Overall, software development for VR is not going anywhere as VR gains more traction in both the business and entertainment world. The future is bright for VR software developers due to this lucrative, rapidly expanding technology. Software developers will need to build upon new skills like spatial processing, proprioception, cognitive loads, and embodied recognition, but granted that they do, there will be plenty of job opportunities going forward.
Virtual Public Relations
VR technology has the potential to transform public relations, both in implementation and perception. VR can completely change the way that we tell stories, allowing for virtual tours of factories, a virtual test drive of a new car, or a quick immersive tour of a hotel a thousand miles away. It is an unprecedented level of connectivity between business and customer, and VR almost guarantees a captive audience.
Using virtual reality to enhance public relations makes organizations seem more relatable and tangible to the public because of the dynamic and personalized experiences that aren’t possible with static images. It also allows for pitching ideas in new ways, completely upending what we think of as visual content, engaging media professionals in a unique and exciting way. VR could potentially spur a PR revolution through a more interconnected business, and a more relatable connection between businesses and their customers.
This tactic of using VR as a PR tool isn’t new, in fact, it has been widely used by a variety of different companies since at least 2015. The North Face has seen success with their VR experience of a climb in Yosemite National Park, Birchbox has worked to provide VR experiences of flying in helicopters and riding the waves on a surfboard, and Marriott hotels use VR to transport prospective customers to the beaches of Hawaii. While VR is still coming into its own as a business tool, these companies have made good use of it so far.
Virtual reality isn’t going anywhere. It has proved itself to be a useful tool not only in the field of entertainment but in the business world as well. VR technology does something truly amazing by bringing anyone from anywhere in the world together with another person on the other side or taking them to places that they would never see otherwise. It is not only making the lines of distance blur between people in general but between customers and the businesses, they utilize. Even as this technology makes the world so much bigger, it brings us closer at the same time.