Technology in the 21st century is ever-changing with new concepts being tested and introduced to the public at an accelerated rate. Add a global pandemic to the equation, and we begin to experience innovation that is birthed out of pure necessity. People need tech products that enhance connections with their fellow humans and simplify their daily tasks.
Virtual reality is filling that void for people and businesses alike. Whether for work or play, virtual reality is stepping into the forefront of technology and becoming a popular tool that offers users the ability to stage realistic and unique environments. Some use it to escape reality, while others implement VR to create a new version of it. Long gone are the days where it was a niche market. It has now become increasingly popular across multiple industries from retail to corporate. The use of virtual reality in business alone is predicted to reach sales of up to 4 billion dollars by 2023. That is primarily due to the increase in remote working. On the retail front, consumer use of augmented reality for shopping increased by 32% when the pandemic began in early 2020.
The reality of remote working
Corporations are empowering employees across various geographical locations to deeply engage one another on intricate work projects while sharing ideas and building upon their skill sets. Virtual collaborative platforms like Somnium Space take a creative approach to virtual reality. This software is powered by blockchain, enabling the user to have a sense of autonomy to shape the platform with input and feedback. Essentially, corporations can purchase virtual land where they build their own VR facilities and experiences.
The possibilities are endless on what can be accomplished in Somnium Space with a little imagination. It’s like these companies are playing a real-life version of the video game Sims, and the collaborative environment is their canvas to design various kinds of immersive experiences for employees to stay connected and engaged.
Another popular tool being implemented into the workplace is Facebook’s VR headset called Oculus. This technology allows a geographically scattered team to utilize headsets to collaborate in a virtual environment. A business team can convene in a boardroom or any other type of multipurpose room. Employees can sit at a table with one another, just as they would if they met in person. For example, if a team of designers needs to schedule a time to discuss the style and marketing of their next shoe launch, they can meet from the comfort of their homes with the Oculus headsets, stand around a table that displays the product, grab it to assess it from all angles, and explore its fine details. They can even have a whiteboard present to jot down notes, just as they would in a physical meeting. In most cases, a virtual avatar is mimicking human movement within the virtual space.
Retail businesses are incorporating VR into their customer experience as well. Juggernaut retailers like Amazon are making it even more appealing to shop online and never leave home. They ushered in an augmented reality feature called View in Your Room, that allows consumers to use the camera on their device to view products in their home before they make a purchase.
With the increase in remote working, many people are purchasing office furniture for their homes. Amazon allows shoppers to see exactly how a desk or a chair would fit in a specific area of a buyer's choosing. They can even see how a new piece of furniture will complement the existing pieces they have in the home–no need to pull out the measuring tape to calculate inches or centimeters. The work is done for the customer, allowing them to visualize it more realistically.
The gaming industry and leisure activities
With all the stressors that life can bring, people need ways to let off some steam and have a mental break from their responsibilities. Virtual reality has surged in the gaming and leisure activity industries. The Oculus headset previously mentioned not only caters to remote working scenarios, but also to enthusiasts of video games, pets, dancing, and baking.
Amongst the gaming community, virtual reality arcades are becoming increasingly more commonplace. Well-established entertainment businesses like Dave and Buster’s and Funplex have increased the implementation of VR games within their facilities. Patrons who frequent these establishments are gaining the full VR experience without having to purchase a headset of their own.
The future of innovation
With all the advancements that have come to pass throughout time, virtual reality will continue to be at the forefront. It went from being a whimsical figment of our imaginations to an extension of our current reality; simplifying and enhancing life for the human race. VR is now a sophisticated and useful resource for both business and entertainment purposes. As virtual reality products and services become more affordable to the average consumer, the demand will continue to increase.