You might think you’ve experienced Virtual Reality (VR), and you might have been pretty impressed. Particularly if you’re a gamer, there are some great experiences to be had out there (or rather, in there) today.
But over the next few years, in VR, as in all fields of technology, we’re going to see things that make what is cutting-edge today look like Space Invaders back in the day – the popular shoot ’em up arcade game released in 1978. And although the games will be amazing, the effects of this transformation will be far broader. This technology completely blends in with our daily lives. Video games, medicine, education… Virtual Reality is here to stay.
Today’s most popular VR applications involve taking total control of a user’s senses (sight and hearing, particularly) to create a totally immersive experience that places the user in a fully virtual environment that feels pretty realistic. Climb up something high and look down, and you’re likely to get a sense of vertigo. If you see an object moving quickly towards your head, you’ll feel an urge to duck out of the way.
Very soon, VR creators will extend this sensory hijacking to our other faculties – for example, touch and smell – to deepen that sense of immersion. At the same time, the devices we use to visit these virtual worlds will become cheaper and lighter, removing the friction that can currently be a barrier. From headsets taking the simple form of sunglasses, experiencing what life on Mars would really be like and being able to overcome some of your biggest phobias and fears, VR is set to transform the world as we know it. Here’s what the future of Virtual Reality will look like in the next five to ten years and beyond. Question is, are you ready?
1. Virtual Reality and The Travel Industry
Businesses operating within the travel industry have been especially quick to adopt virtual reality technology and for good reason. Typically, their customers are looking to purchase experiences, rather than products, and virtual reality offers an effective way for marketers to give them a taste of what they can expect.
Travel customers usually require lots of information before they book a hotel room. This may, for instance, require them to read descriptions, view images, look at videos, read customer reviews or seek opinions on social media. Through intelligent use of virtual reality, however, this process can be shortened significantly.
Virtual Tours of Hotels – One of the best examples of virtual reality in action within the travel industry is the use of the technology for providing virtual tours of hotels and hotel rooms. The key benefit of this is that it allows potential customers to experience what the hotel looks like before they arrive, offering more transparency than standard images.
Virtual Booking Interface – Some companies have taken the use of VR a step further, offering an entire booking process and user interface that can be experienced through a virtual reality headset.
Virtual Travel Experiences – Finally, virtual reality is offering hotels, travel agents, and other businesses within the tourism industry the opportunity to provide prospective customers with a virtual travel experience.
For instance, a hotel in Paris may be able to provide a virtual experience of what it is like at the top of the Eiffel Tower, while a hotel near a theme park may be able to provide a virtual roller-coaster experience.
2. VR and The Evolution Of Education
Education is the base for a thriving society, and the transfer of knowledge has been a top priority for civilizations since the very beginning. People are constantly looking for ways to make knowledge transfer more easily, more quickly, and more effectively.
In the era of digital devices, we have an opportunity to enable better learning with technology. Virtual Reality (VR) seems to be the natural next step for the evolution of education.
Experiencing “Real” Life. Students can get some idea of what life was like in ancient Rome through descriptive passages in a textbook, but this just doesn’t seem real to them. You could show them a video about the life of Syrian refugees, but it just won’t be the same as experiencing it.
Education as we know it today often falls short of presenting students with hands-on experiences. What if you could take your students right now on an immigrant ship as it arrives on Ellis Island? What if you could put them deep in the ocean to observe the habits of marine life firsthand? VR has the potential to bring these experiences to life for them and give them a deeper, more authentic understanding.
More Empathy. The bubonic plague. The Holocaust. The rigorous lives of the early American pioneers. We want our students to learn more than mundane facts and dates about these events. We want them to develop the capacity to feel what others feel and to empathize. Such empathy gives them a deeper and wiser perspective on events in the world today, and they cannot get this simply by reading a textbook or writing an essay.
Help for Struggling Students. Traditionally, it has always been challenging to deliver a quality educational experience to students with special needs. With VR, such students have a way to easily access deep learning regardless of their developmental or cognitive challenges. Virtual Reality levels the playing field, giving the same learning opportunities to all.
3. Virtual Reality in Healthcare
VR is revolutionizing healthcare as we know it. While major companies have introduced a range of virtual reality products in the past few years, most of these apps are mass marketed to the public as gaming and entertainment experiences. Still, the healthcare industry stands to benefit the most from VR products.
From telemedicine appointments to even surgery simulations, VR healthcare apps are poised to transform the medical industry as we know it. Below are some of the many ways in which virtual reality can be incorporated into the healthcare sector and help improve the medical methods and tactics provided to patients.
Virtual Reality for Medical Training
Perhaps one of the most important and groundbreaking benefits that can be attributed to virtual reality applications in healthcare is the ability of this technology to provide a safe and innovative learning environment for medical training. While VR tech is especially beneficial for medical students who may not yet have the skills or experience to treat or operate on patients, it also provides established doctors and surgeons with a platform from which they can practice difficult procedures or test the outcomes of various treatments prior to performing them on actual patients.
Below, we explore the various advantages of virtual reality for medical training as it applies to both students and attending physicians.
Healthcare VR Programs for Established Physicians or Surgeons
The number of hospitals offering practitioners the opportunity to test the nuances of virtual reality in medicine and surgery are growing. Just as VR can help medical students, the benefits also extend to established physicians.
For doctors or surgeons who have an impending complex treatment to offer or medical procedure to undertake, virtual reality healthcare programs can help with practicing a complicated technique. VR MedTech apps also offer similar benefits in the fact that they can offer a play-by-play of their techniques used during simulated surgical procedures so doctors can learn from their errors and avoid the same potential mistakes when it comes time to operate on the patient.
In sum, virtual reality healthcare applications allow both students and trained medical professionals to practice and perfect their skills. Instead of having to rely on the old-fashioned method of trial and error with a human patient, VR prevents potential mistakes from happening by allowing doctors to work through their tactics and either confidently provide a patient with a course of treatment or enter an operating room knowing they have reviewed numerous potential scenarios and can offer their patients the most accurate and tested treatment method or approach possible.
4. VR in Retail: The Future of Shopping
There are many things consumers have long disliked about shopping, from poorly lit dressing rooms to lack of information to pushy salespeople. Digital and mobile technologies have started to chip away at those irritants, but it turns out those are just the beginning. With digital signage now the norm and the mobile revolution well underway, virtual reality (VR) is set to completely transform the shopping experience, replacing the pain points with captivating, interactive experiences that both inform and entertain.
This is probably one of the most fitting and actionable use cases for VR technology. Virtual showrooms are cheaper to set up, they offer extended functionality, don’t require any logistics, as well as any additional staff to maintain, and can be easily customized by customers themselves.
Imagine how showrooms like these could impact revenue. Have you returned something to the store because it didn’t fit the interior of your apartment? Well now the store doesn’t have to worry about that, because you have the opportunity to actually see how a piece of furniture would fit into your room. By the way, IKEA has been on the VR bandwagon for at least 4 years, and this says a lot about their corporate vision of the impact and value virtual reality brings to retail.
Other big brands also realize the value of a virtual space, especially in niches, where it’s hard to actually imagine what the purchase would look like. For example, construction materials, which are pretty hard to pick for consumers. Individuals are usually picky about the interior of their homes, as many consider their homes to be their sanctuaries. VR helps to bridge that gap between a need and a purchase.
Why go to Paris for a fashion show, if you can just sit there in the comfort of your room and enjoy the whole experience?
All that excessive cash can now be spent in a virtual fashion boutique. You don’t actually have to go to the store and meet people. The introvert in you is hyperventilating over this exciting news.
At the same time, ‘virtual reality in retail’ is now practically synonymous to fashion and trends for many people. That’s why fashion brands keep experimenting with VR. They’ll even let you ride with a virtual pack of huskies in hopes that you’ll buy their apparel.
This is just a basic idea. Imagine what marketers and designers within big fashion brands will be able to come up with. Soon the fashion industry will find even more creative ways of approaching VR and its potential.
5. VR will Impact the Future of Tech Careers
VR is not just for play, though, and there’s no doubt that this technology will change the way you work in a major way. This is especially true for developers or other technical folks, but the evolution of VR will have an impact on every industry.
And this expanding industry is about to make your job way more exciting. Here’s how.
You don’t have to be a hardcore gamer to know that VR’s influence on the video game industry is huge. And as the industry grows, it’s likely that development jobs in VR will grow, too. The best part? You don’t have to be a game developer to find opportunity, as the industry will need support from those with experience in UI/UX, legal, marketing, business development, and more.
Marketing Will Become Immersive
Marketing agencies are usually among the first to experiment with new digital technology, and VR is no exception. “We are definitely watching VR trends with a keen eye,” says Gareth Price, Technical Director at New York-based digital agency Ready Set Rocket.
Agencies like his are building relationships with specialists who can create VR content for digital marketing campaigns. The next generation of Digital marketing campaigns will be immersive and game changing. Price believes these types of tech jobs “will blend the skills required of designers, developers, filmmakers, and 3D artists in new and more collaborative ways.”
His advice to digital agency employees is to get to know this technology as soon as possible. Ready Set Rocket has Oculus and Samsung rigs in-house for testing purposes, and Price encourages his staff to take them home for a spin. “Start experimenting on your own time right now as an investment into your career,” he says. “Today’s side project will turn into tomorrow’s high-flying job.”
Every Industry Will Get a 360 View
Not in tech? That doesn’t mean VR won’t impact your career. Research from product strategy, design, and development company Yeti shows that close to 54% of U.S. product developers are already working on VR projects, with applications ranging from entertainment to education, healthcare, and travel.
According to Gareth Price, the biggest challenge companies face with VR right now is figuring out “how to tell stories well [using virtual reality]”, so brush up on your plotting, writing, and storyboarding skills, or read up on brands who are already doing it well. Once you figure out what you want to show your customers—say, the benefits of your hospitality brand’s swim-up bars—you’ll be able to see how VR could enhance it. All that’s left is to find a development partner to bring your brand story to life.
6. VR and the Future of Gaming
For decades, virtual reality has tantalized gamers with the prospect of a fully immersive experience. But the technology has yet to deliver on this promise.
Tech companies are looking to change that. Huge firms like Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Sony — and startups like Magic Leap — have invested considerable resources to develop VR hardware and games.
When it comes to VR gaming, we’re still in the early days. There are promising developments on the horizon. What can we expect from video games when it comes to VR? Below are three trends to watch for in the future.
Headset Adjustments In Recent Years
Standalone headsets will allow consumers to simply put the headset on and use without any sort of installation or other complication. There are no wires, and all you need is the device that is associated with the headset (i.e. mobile phone). Products like the Oculus Go will allow users to download games, apps, and other experiences right from their phone and sync them to the headset itself. There is no need to connect it to a VR-ready computer, which products like the Oculus Rift require.
VR Arcades Are A “New Old” Development In The Video Games Industry
The target demographic for video games continues to change and evolve, but one thing remains the same; gamers are looking for the best game experience possible. As VR makes its continued push into the gaming world, players are looking to experience this new type of play, and many want to do it at an affordable price.
VR arcades are becoming more common among the gaming community. They are allowing players to fully experience VR gaming without having to purchase a headset of their own. These arcades can serve a variety of customers and can be catered to different parties and events.
New Hardware To Watchout For Beyond Headsets
You’ve probably seen this concept before, either at an arcade or on a YouTube video, but never at such an attainable level. Beyond just your regular virtual reality experience, this is simulated reality at its best. Virtual reality startup Virtuix is building a VR treadmill for your home. “The Omni One” is an elaborate full-body controller that lets you physically run, jump, and crouch in place while playing inside video games and other virtual worlds.
It’s not a traditional treadmill — it’s a low-friction platform that’s used with special low-friction shoes or shoe covers and a harness. (You may remember the overall VR treadmill concept from Steven Spielberg’s 2018 “Ready Player One” Movie .)
Whether it arrives this year or next year, the future of gaming is on its way.
Virtual Reality is arguably the next footstep towards a modern/post-modern era of development. The potential groundbreaking effects that loom behind these machines is mysterious. With the ability to save lives, act as a medium for business development and confrontations, and provide its users with endless hours of entertainment, learning, and discovery.
The latest 5G standard can also provide very interesting scenarios for the evolution of VR. This standard will allow more devices and large user communities to be connected. In addition, its almost imperceptible latency will make it possible for consumers to receive images in real time, almost as if they were seeing them with their own eyes.
All this means that Virtual Reality is no longer science fiction. It is integrated into our present and, in the coming years, it will lead to advances that will shape the future.
Virtual Reality Will Transform The Travel Industry – https://www.revfine.com/virtual-reality-travel-industry/
VR Seems To Be The Natural Next Step For The Evolution Of Education – https://www.robotlab.com/blog/a-vision-for-the-future-of-virtual-reality-in-education
Virtual Reality in Healthcare: The Future of MedTech – https://www.koombea.com/blog/virtual-reality-in-healthcare-the-future-of-medtech/
VR in Retail: The Future of Shopping – https://www.iflexion.com/blog/the-future-of-vr-in-retail
VR will Impact the Future of Tech Careers – https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-ways-vr-will-impact-the-future-of-tech-careers
VR and the Future of Gaming – https://builtin.com/media-gaming/future-of-gaming