Bringing Virtual Reality to Business (Part 1 of 6)
Aug 19, 2016
Virtual Reality in Business
What’s your first thought when someone mentions “virtual reality”? Teenagers playing video games? Computer geeks building fantasy worlds? Time to update your perceptions. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have progressed to the realm of business and industry. Both are now poised to change the way we shop, learn, receive healthcare, create, and travel. Defining Virtual Reality
First of all, what defines virtual reality? Virtual reality or VR means blocking out the “real world” to experience a computer generated alternative. True VR experiences meet the following criteria:
— Believable: you must believe what you are experiencing is real.
— Interactive: what you are seeing or experiencing must be responsive to your body’s movements.
— Computer Generated: high-speed computers produce the virtual world
— Explorable: the program must offer a place for you to explore and allow you to choose where to go or what to do.
— Immersive: engages several senses to experience the virtual world (sight, sound, touch, etc)
Fully immersive VR usually involves 3 components:
— computer generated world to explore
— powerful, high-speed computer
— linked hardware, such as headsets or goggles
VR allows you to walk on the Moon, take the field in the World Series, or explore the U.S. National Parks. Businesses can use it to allow home buyers to tour houses, pilots to practice landings, and travelers to select hotel rooms.
Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) shares some similarities to VR, but differs slightly. AR enhances the “real world” with computer generated images. Google Glass and other “smart glasses” are examples of AR. Cars windshield displays of maps and directions also employ AR.
Virtual Reality Gets Real
VR is not new to business and industry. Some of the earliest applications involved training airline pilots and surgeons. However, new technology and affordability are bringing VR to more disciplines. Headsets are now available in all price ranges. Additionally, they are more comfortable and easier to wear. Powerful computers are able to create more realistic experiences.
The success of Oculus Rift headsets indicates both industry and the public share an interest in exploring VR possibilities. We are in the early days of exciting new opportunities. In this series of articles I will outline innovative uses of VR in education and training, real estate, healthcare, retail, and travel. The next installment discusses how VR and AR are changing how we learn. Stay tuned!