The tech world is waiting with bated breath for 2016’s virtual reality (VR) boom, with heavy hitters like Google, Sony, Samsung and Facebook vying for the top spot with their soon-to-be-launched VR systems for gaming, social and mobile platforms.
Gamers aren’t the only ones titillated by the impending explosion of VR on the mainstream market—business owners are also keen to learn more on how they can capitalise on the emerging technology. Indeed, VR promises to revolutionise the business world just as dramatically as live Twitter walls and interactive online events have transformed the way we engage with customers.
What is virtual reality?
VR technology creates an artificial environment designed to simulate a real-time physical presence. Users are fully immersed in that computer-generated environment, hearing and seeing the virtual world just as they would see the real world; for example, the direction and distance of sounds change with the user’s movements, and objects grow smaller as the user walks further away from them.
How VR works
While there are various VR systems, there are generally four elements to each of them:
Old technology that’s new to consumers
Although it’s a hot topic in the news today, VR has actually been around for decades in various forms and has been used in military training and filmmaking since the 1970s. In recent years, however, VR’s evolution has been nothing short of groundbreaking, and VR devices now deliver extraordinarily convincing graphics and effects. As the technology has matured, overcoming major obstacles like motion sickness, VR is now sufficiently robust for broad consumer use.
How VR might change the world
While the VR gaming system race is drawing considerable attention, the technology is set to make waves across all industries. For example, architects currently use basic VR systems to let clients virtually walk around their designs, but we may soon see estate agents offering virtual property viewings. Similarly, we can expect to see VR increasingly being used in the health and safety industry to simulate emergency situations. Therapists can also employ VR to help patients suffering with phobias and post-traumatic stress disorders, while many anticipate that VR will soon overhaul the entertainment and retail sectors.