Virtual reality was once a technology and concept that was reserved for the tech elite and was likely more associated with gaming and enhancing gamers’ experience. Gaming brought virtual reality into our homes and is the start of the technology becoming part of our real-life experience.
However, virtual reality technology is becoming more and more prevalent in other industries. Tools such as virtual reality headsets and virtual reality showrooms are being used in innovative ways in fields that you might not usually associate virtual reality with.
In our ever online-connected world, virtual reality is helping to make remote work more accessible as well as bring a much more engaging online experience.
What industries are using virtual reality?
For some time, the gaming industry has been mostly associated with virtual reality, and it has in fact taken to the technology’s tools rapidly and enthusiastically.
Virtual reality headsets have helped propel the industry to innovative and engaging heights. However, other industries have taken notice of the potentials of virtual reality.
Here are some industries that are using virtual reality technology to transform and enhance their fields:
1. Automotive – The automotive industry has truly embraced virtual reality technology in almost every sector.
From design to sales, virtual reality technology has permeated throughout the industry to streamline the process from production to sales.
Major automakers are using virtual reality at the beginning of the process to help designers and engineers make creative innovative updates to their vehicles. They are also utilizing virtual reality in their dealerships.
Virtual showrooms are fast becoming a necessity for dealerships. They allow for the buyer to view a dealership’s inventory and modify vehicles with specific features to their liking, and all before they even step foot at the dealership.
These virtual showrooms benefit the dealers as well as buyers come in more informed and more committed to making a purchase. This makes for quicker and easier sales for salesmen.
2. Retail – Online retail continues to grow and grow each year. This growth has become so significant that many retail stores have closed as consumers continue to prefer online shopping over in-person shopping.
Because of this preference, virtual reality technology is merging the convenience of online shopping with the interactive and engaging experience of in-person retail stores. Just like virtual showrooms, shoppers can browse store inventory but also “try-on” clothing and other items.
Retailers like Target and Ikea are using augmented reality and virtual reality to allow shoppers to see how home furnishings will look in their home before even purchasing them. Using virtual reality headsets or smart glasses, users can shop virtually as if they are actually entering a storefront.
Virtual reality technology can help retailers reach customers in a more engaging way than just simply browsing a website.
3. Marketing and Advertising – The appeal of augmented reality and virtual reality technology comes from its ability to immerse users in an actual experience and environment that might not otherwise be possible.
Marketers and advertising agencies are seeing how this appeal can bring big potential to their advertising campaigns.
OmniVirt is an advertising platform for brands, companies, and publishers to monetize and distribute VR content that can be sent out to various platforms and viewed on smartphones, tablets, and websites.
4. Healthcare – Just like the automotive industry, the healthcare industry has been experimenting and embracing virtual reality technology in many different applications.
Virtual reality has been a big platform for telemedicine and has been especially useful for behavioral and mental health treatments.
Virtual reality technology can and has been used as a tool to educate new healthcare workers by creating safe virtual environments to practice the application of procedures they are learning.
5. Education – Education is a field that is often trying to adapt the latest technology to make learning more engaging and interactive.
Virtual reality technology can help educators bring concepts and information to their students that might otherwise be impossible.
For example, Nearpod, an educational technology firm, is using Google Cardboard to help a number of public schools bring their students to “virtual field trips” to places such as Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef, and even Mars.
Students can travel around the world and learn about new environments and cultures without ever leaving their classroom.
6. Tourism and Museums – It might seem counterintuitive for virtual reality and tourism to work with one another, but many travel companies are utilizing virtual reality technology to give potential travelers “samples” of their destination.
This is a great marketing tool for travel companies to use as a way to entice more travelers.
Museums are also jumping on the virtual reality bandwagon by providing exhibits that use virtual reality and VR tools such as headsets to help engage visitors with their exhibits and learn more.
7. Real Estate – Real estate professionals are starting to see the capabilities of VR in their field.
Just like major automakers, virtual reality technology can help real estate agents reach clients that might usually be far from their reach as potential buyers can view properties from anywhere around the world.
8. Military and Law Enforcement – The various branches of the military have been using virtual reality for several years now in different ways.
It has long been a way to bring an immersive experience for training and also has helped to optimize operations.
Whether through equipment repair or as a way to navigate landscapes, virtual reality technology has made military and law enforcement operations much more precise and safe.
9. Space Exploration – Thanks to virtual reality, we are able to visit different cities, countries, and even worlds from the comfort of our homes. Virtual reality has been especially useful for scientists and astronauts who want to further explore space.
The International Space Station is utilizing Microsoft’s HoloLens to conduct research and explorations in space more accurately. NASA is using virtual reality headsets to create a virtual reconstruction of the surface of Mars in order to depict a more accurate rendering of the planet’s actual surface.
10. Engineering – Virtual reality and augmented reality are completely innovating the field of engineering and its many sectors. Engineers are using the technology to help with the designing phase to make it much more streamlined and cost effective.
Virtual reality can allow engineers to make quick changes and edits to designs that are rendered in virtual reality. Instead of making a physical model and then making changes based on that model, the designs can be manipulated on a virtual reality model instead so that costs to make models are cut down.
Engineers for automobiles seem to especially be keen on this technology when it comes to designing and updating new car models. Major automakers such as Ford and Honda are using virtual reality to help their engineers create a more streamlined and collaborative design process.
What are the different types of VR?
Virtual reality tools such as headsets are the primary way these companies are taking advantage of the technology for their industry. Virtual reality headsets can completely modify how a company runs and is a great way to reach audiences from all over the globe.
Understanding the types of virtual reality can help companies know which type will work best for their needs.
There are three types of virtual reality:
- Non-immersive Virtual Reality – Non-immersive virtual reality is the most commonly used form in everyday life.
Essentially, it provides a computer-generated environment but does not take over the space of the user and the environment is contained to a computer.
Video games are the prime example of this type of virtual reality experience. A virtual showroom is another example of this type of virtual reality technology.
- Semi-immersive Virtual reality – Semi-immersive takes users one step further by creating a partially virtual environment.
It gives users the perception of being in a different reality while looking at a virtual image using 3D graphics. This type of virtual reality provides realism and depth that you would not get from the non-immersive.
This is popular to use in education and museums are using this type of virtual reality technology to enhance their exhibits.
- Fully immersive virtual reality – Fully immersive virtual reality creates a truly immersive experience for users as it also includes sights and sounds. This experience is the one most typically used with headsets. This helps transform a user’s entire environment to bring them into new worlds.
Virtual reality is fast becoming part of our everyday lives. While implementing virtual reality technology can be costly, the benefits of using virtual reality clearly show that an investment into these tools can help increase profits for many different industries.
In our ever evolving online world, the experience of living life virtually is becoming easier and easier. This is all thanks to virtual reality startups like RelayCars who are enhancing the virtual experience for consumers.
Virtual reality is becoming a big part of our real-life realities and it is clear that many industries are ready to embrace it.