How virtual reality could transform your business

Mark Curtis

TechCrunch: VR is set to make a big splash. 

With orders for the first batch of Oculus Rift headsets currently being processed, VR has finally moved out of the development phase to become a real and tangible technology that anyone can now get their hands on. For businesses this could mean a whole new channel to experiment with. From education to shopping, VR is exciting businesses with the possibilities.

Not since the golden age of VR in the 1980s has the technology generated so much anticipation amongst consumers and businesses alike. The early vision in the 1950s from VR pioneers Douglas Engelbart and later Ivan Sutherland, then Jaron Lanier has now become a reality.

Outside of the gaming sector where VR will show what it is capable of to a waiting public, VR as a business tool has also been rapidly developing. Since the early developer units were available from Oculus, many enterprises have been experimenting with these new virtual spaces. Jaguar created what it called its ‘Actual Reality’ VR experience with a custom headset and a hydraulic platform with six-degrees of movement to create a fully immersive experience for its new F-Type car.

Shopping has also experimented with virtual stores that you can move through albeit on a two-dimensional screen. Cheap access to a VR-like environment thanks to Google Cardboard makes for the perfect platform to offer a more interactive and tactile virtual shopping experience, as Trillenium is developing right now. We could all be experiencing what has been dubbed ‘V-commerce’ pretty soon.

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Techradar Pro: With a number of VR devices available or coming this year, should small business owners place VR in their marketing strategies?

Mark Curtis: “No – it’s too early. It’s a good investment for large businesses to begin to think what this means, but too early to invest the cash. Any marketing at this stage would be highly experimental.”

Techradar Pro: With a range of VR platforms from Google Cardboard to Oculus, how should small businesses evaluate which platform they use across their operation?

Mark Curtis: “Try them. Observe where you think the market is heading. There’s no need to make heavy investment yet in most industries.”

Techradar Pro: Is a lack of standards in an industry that is brand new an issue for the business use of VR platforms?

Mark Curtis: “Yes, for sure and will be for a while. It did not hold back smartphones though, and we still have at least two (some would say three) competing standards. We have some distance to go before it becomes a serious issue, and winners will emerge.”

Techradar Pro: Can you point to a business sector other than gaming where you think VR will have the most profound impact?

Mark Curtis: “Health, travel and media. All of these have clear use cases already for VR. These range from virtual/distant medical procedures, to holiday trip trials (or full-on experiences) to three-dimensional journalism. Probably no-one has yet imagined the major winner. Back in 1995, very few predicted social at the dawn of the web – remember ‘content is king’? Turned out that connectivity was the rather powerful queen that sat alongside.”

 

Read the full article on TechRadar

Mark Curtis

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