What does virtual reality mean ?

Let’s do a quick survey.

What’s the first idea that comes to your mind when you think about “virtual reality”?
A good 80% of you will tie VR to gaming.

The truth is, as technology progresses, VR is evolving and more applications surface every day.

The list of uses of virtual reality is long and it is becoming longer and longer day by day. I refer to “virtual environments”, new fields where this new technology is proving to be useful in a way which we had never been considered before.

There are a variety of applications for virtual reality that many industries are starting to use for job training, a better customer experience, to optimize time, to save money or to be more competitive.

The benefits provided by virtual reality are endless.

Which industries?

A few examples of the companies that are using virtual reality and how they are incorporating it to bring their business to the forefront.

  • Health care and surgery
  • Rehabilitation and treatment of phobias
  • Space
  • Museums and Art
  • Automotive manufacturing
  • Courtrooms
  • Shopping
  • Military
  • Entertainment
  • Education (I have already talked about it)

Entertainment

If it is true that gaming is the first connection with VR, it is also true that entertainment and gaming generate jobs for many workers.

When we consider “entertainment”, it also includes theatre and cinema where you can enjoy 3D shows and movies feeling deeply immersed in these experiences. You can transport users to see a Cirque du Soleil performance or watch a movie, creating an illusion of exclusive preview for the viewer.

Same goes for sport and music fans. Virtual Reality give us the chance to watch a concert from the very first line, or next to the singer, or to enjoy a football match with your friends, from the comfort of your couch, experiencing the same thrill of the game as you were seated in the stadium.

Even the tourism industry (read the article link …) has started to use virtual-reality platforms, promising to take people all over the world. For example,you can go with a click to Honolulu in 50 seconds or visit the Giza pyramid from the top.

Remember to not consider all these just from a user’s point of view, but also from the perspective of employees who are choosing to adopt VR to make their business more effective and competitive.

Health care

Health care and surgery are widely adopting virtual reality tech for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. Thanks to VR simulations, it is possible to build 3D models of a patient’s anatomy and see inside the human body. Moreover, VR serves as an effective and engaging tool for rehabilitation of injury victims that practice virtual exercises and receive real-time feedback, making them more motivated and reactive.

For all these reasons, medicine is one of the biggest beneficiaries of Virtual Reality since the development of surgery simulation and 3D models.

It is also used as a training aid, as a diagnostic tool that provides a more detailed view of the human body compared to X-rays or scans.

Virtual Reality has also an innovative application for psychiatrists and cognitive behavior therapy to treat patients with phobias and social anxieties. The patients are exposed to simulations that give them the chance to cope better with their feelings.

Space

Scientists use cutting-edge technology to control robots and to help astronauts to de-stress. NASA has been using VR for years, especially in training situations.Researchers can simulate a walk on the Moon to prepare astronauts to potential human landing or experience what it is like onboard various spacecraft.

One recent use is connected to the mental health of astronauts on long-term missions: it is called “Virtual Space Station” and consists of a set of interactive behavioral health training and treatment programs with NASA support.

Museums and Art

Another alternative use of Virtual Reality for professional jobs is related to art and culture. Virtual Reality can add a lot of culture in our lives. Students, tourists, and normal people can be transported in few seconds to the MOMA in New York City, to the National Gallery in London or to Placa Major in Madrid.

The great number of museums have tied up with developers to create VR projects and virtual spaces. Through this people get to “experience” the artist’s works in a very different way or can take a tour of the museum with a smartphone and a Cardboard VR headset.

Education

I have already covered the infinite possibilities of VR for education at schools. Read the whole article here.https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/vr-education-yes-we-can-ivan-ghirlanda?trk=prof-post

Shopping

The e-commerce world is growing day by day. Virtual Reality will add more value to online shopping websites and completely change customers’ experience. How? There are apps on the market that provide a virtual tour of the store and the opportunity to try on clothes, shoe and bags and finally, do real-time shopping even with your friends.

The next step will be a partnership between developers and big online retail companies. Buying something there will be as easy as drinking a cup of coffee.

Courtrooms

In a short time, crime scene evaluation will be revolutionized by Virtual reality. Crime scenes will be analysed through 3D tours replacing bi-dimensional photos. This will help jurors to understand the details of the case and to visualize how people and objects were moving in at that point in time and space. They can also track the path of the bullets in the air! The results will be faster and more accurate than using the traditional techniques. It will also allow jurors to make right decisions regarding a suspect’s innocence leaving no room for speculations or errors.

Automotive Industry

For car industries, virtual reality is a consolidated technology they have been using for a while. Ford, for example, has made virtual reality central to its automotive development. You can inspect the prototype of the car inside-out before the car exists for real. This process allow engineers and designers to test their products, inspect different elements, check potential problems and make modifications.

Another benefit would be to make all the product development process faster, without having to wait for the physical prototype of a new model.

Moreover, virtual reality applied in car industries is useful to educate teenagers and parent about distracted driving, thanks to the distracted driving simulator. Such an unforgettable experience!

Military

Military often handles virtual reality to train soldiers before they are deployed, preparing troops for combat. Through VR simulators the team can practice and work together in a very realistic environment with real equipment too. This kind of training is also more effective than the traditional one because what you learn from a “real” experience is easier to remember, training sessions can be repeated as many times as needed. Thereby you know better how to avoid mistakes.

What is the impact of Virtual Reality on business? What will it mean for enterprises?

The Benefits of Virtual Reality at work

Good VR will have a huge impact on business.

Firstly it is a way to differentiate themselves from the competitors and secondly a means of creating connections with customers, making them feel that they are trying out a product, a car, a dress, a smartphone, before they actually purchase it.

Third it is a better way to work with employees that are located remotely.

“Think about employees being able to work from home , at the same time, working from virtual offices, surrounded by their virtual peers,” said Enderle.

“This could make the worker feel more like a part of the meeting or a part of the team,” leading to possible productivity boosts.

“If you are more tightly coupled, it can be instrumental to make your boss more confident that you actually are working and not just goofing off at home,”Enderle said.

What will that mean for all those employees who generally work in their jeans or sweats? Well, if they use an avatar, they won’t need to change their attire at all.

Another advantage of use Virtual Reality at work is connected to business travel. Instead of taking a flight to go to Melbourne for a meeting, business managers and officers can use VR videoconferencing.

That means you can make it seem like a manager is talking face to face to you in the same room, while you are alone in the office. This is an effective method to save time for workers, money for the company that can reduce costs in business travel and pollution as well (less flights). VR helps scientist and health care professionals, like dentists, to do periodic updates for their work and to keep relationships with workers and engineers remotely. As we said before for “Shopping”, Virtual Reality can completely change the customer buying experience.

Thank to this technology, you can compare two different products before buying one, after testing them both. The same advantage can be applied for all the goods like car, mobile phones, dresses, rings, bikes, and houses. With Virtual Reality, the buyer can really experience what they are going to buy and make the best decision without regrets. Virtual Reality is not just in the shops, but in restaurants too. Imagine doing your order not on the phone anymore, but via a 360 video. With this you can see the list, choose your dish and see the food before it arrives on your plate. Probably in few years, we will be also able to smell the food. The key of this example is to give more value to the customer thanks to VR and improve the level of your business through a real investment in technology. The possibilities are endless. How it could change and improve your business will depend on how soon you embrace and adapt it.

Are you ready for that?