How is virtual reality changing business?
After years of research and improvements, virtual reality (VR) has now hit the mainstream. Tech giants like Google, Facebook, Samsung, HTC, Huawei, and many others have been introducing VR devices that bring realistic worlds to life. In the 1990s, virtual reality was mostly associated with science fiction movies and games. Virtual reality is increasingly seen as a technological powerhouse in a multitude of industries, including healthcare, education, training, and retail.
Before delving into the current role of virtual reality and its future prospects, let’s take a look back at how it all began. The first virtual reality device, Sensorama, was used by a cinematographer named Morton Heilig in the 1950s. The Sensorama machine featured a built-in seat used for 3D movies and generated vibrations and sounds to make the users feel as though they were a part of the movie. Since then, many pioneering innovators have been motivated to create new gadgets that deliver a high-quality experience, such as the Oculus, PlayStation VR, and others.
Virtual reality use cases
VR has several business use cases where it is improving processes, safety, and knowledge in many firms.
Ikea: A whole new home and retail VR application
In 2016, Ikea launched a one-of-a-kind virtual reality kitchen in Australia, allowing customers to explore a virtual kitchen and visualize its features. This immersive experience was set up to influence the way customers shop for IKEA products. Through this feature, customers could choose different types of fabric, wall colors, and lighting depending on their preferences. This way, Ikea inspires confidence and helps in customers’ decision-making.
Nike: VR experience in Nike stores
Some of Nike’s physical stores are equipped with VR tools. Nike offers clients a virtual reality experience that immerses them in various phases of the supply chain. Customers can scan items such as shoes or apparel to access information about the item. They can also enter a virtual reality environment to experience the many processes in Nike’s supply chain and walk through Nike’s manufacturing process.
Boeing: The use of VR to upgrade the Boeing manufacturing process
Boeing is using VR in the manufacturing of the 737 MAX 10. This experience allows engineers to visualize the manufacturing process, the tools, and the technologies displayed so they can predict potential problems. All of that helps engineers gather data, make any necessary changes, and incorporate these changes into the production system. The company also uses VR for wiring airplanes. Using VR, technicians can readily identify where the electrical wire runs by walking around the airplane, examining the wire renderings in full detail, and receiving instructions hands-free.
Renault: The Renault Group’s Virtual Reality and Immersive Simulation Center
The Renault Group uses virtual reality for vehicle-related virtual design. Virtual reality helps the engineers see the vehicle architecture through an immersive 3D experience and upgrade the designs of the trucks. It allows the designers to test the vehicles without having to make a physical prototype, which saves time and costs and helps in decision-making.
Verizon: VR to enhance employees’ self-defense
Verizon, which is a wireless network operator, has started using VR for training to guide employees through dangerous scenarios. Verizon is investing heavily in training its employees. The company is offering self-defense training to teach its employees how to act in case of a robbery or any attack on their commercial shops. Verizon gives headsets to their employees and teaches them how to defend themselves in case of a robbery. This is done by displaying all the steps and instructions to be followed.
The future of VR in business
According to Statista, virtual reality is rapidly expanding. The consumer and corporate VR industry is predicted to exceed USD 12 billion in 2024, up from USD 4 billion in 2020. According to the projections, businesses are very interested in this technology and are willing to invest in it as it saves time and money and allows them to keep up with the market’s technological advances.
VR headset unit sales are expected to increase significantly from 5 million headsets in 2020 to 14 million headsets in 2024. Analysts are also expecting an upgrade to more fashionable, accessible, and small devices. Otherwise, interest is significantly turning to VR in business, which will automatically increase sales of devices and foster competition between the biggest producers to innovate and discover more features that will make the experience more enjoyable.
To conclude, virtual reality is shaping the future and is significantly evolving compared to the last few years. To that end, the world’s largest technology companies, such as Google, Microsoft, and Sony, are making significant efforts to innovate and keep up with changing and rapidly expanding markets. This is so palpable throughout the investment in virtual reality devices.
Being successful today is more about being open to new technologies than it is about mastering processes and value chains. Otherwise, being present in a highly competitive market is not something easy, and companies are aware of how technologies can make a difference, bump sales, inspire confidence, and help in decision making.
Author: Abdesslam Falsy