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The capabilities of virtual reality technology has been explored in dozens of movies, television shows, and novels. Star Trek: Voyager and Vivian Vande Velde’s novel Heir Apparent convinced a teen version of me that if I did not experience interactive, full-body immersive virtual reality in this lifetime my life would not be complete.
Technology has advanced rapidly and fantasy has become reality. Virtual reality (VR) cameras, head sets, and programs are available for the modern consumer. Basic virtual reality gaming is here and will continue to develop. My inner ten year old is jumping in glee.
What my fifteen-year-old self didn’t realize is that VR gaming is just the tip of the iceberg. VR can revolutionize how many industries function. Many businesses in fact have already begun to utilize virtual reality to streamline their work, marketing, and development processes.
Virtra: Employee Training
Arizona based company Virtra creates interactive simulations meant to train new military and police personnel. More than 100 simulations are meant to help train officers and soldiers how to work through high stress situations and make the right calls in order to save lives. The VR tech even has a Taser function that goes off when an officer is shot in a simulation to help them work through pain. Right now the Arizona police department are seeking funds to incorporate the technology into their police training.
Corporate businesses can create their own simulations to help train employees. Interactive learning can be far more effective than watching videos, being handed a book, or being lectured. It might even cut down the time that it takes for employees to be effective.
Ford Motor Company: Testing Mock Prototypes
Ford Motor Company, American car manufacturer, started incorporating virtual reality into the day to day processes sixteen years ago. Today they create virtual prototypes of all potential new car models.
VR headsets allow employees to evaluate how the interior and exterior components of a new car design collectively and individually look before moving the car to production. Flaws in the design can then be tweaked before Ford spends the money to create the first prototype. In 2013, Ford was able to test 193 potential car designs with the virtual technology.
VR mock prototypes could be a useful addition to any inventor, manufacturing company, or construction company. The ability to evaluate a blue print or design before it hits production can save a lot of time and money.
Nestle: Price Evaluation and Product Placement
Nestle, a Swiss food company, utilized virtual reality to conduct market research to maximize their profits. Nestle created a virtual store that presented study participants with different ice cream cup product placement scenarios and product costs.
The study found that the cups sold better when placed behind dedicated doors and that shoppers were more willing to purchase the cups when the price was set at 10 for 10 instead of 99 cents per cup. Nestle retailers reported the sales of the ice cream cups increased by 53% when they followed the researchers recommendations.
Businesses can utilize virtual reality product research to maximize their own profits. New technology like eye tracking software can give a more accurate sense of how buyers react to products on a shelf. Other than product placement and prices, businesses can also test customer reaction to advertisements or special displays.
Big corporations have already started to utilize virtual reality in their business processes. Right now VR tech might be a tad too expensive for small businesses, but as the tech continues to develop the price will fall. And when that time comes, small businesses should be prepared to incorporate the new technology into their company.
VR on a commercial level to the masses
Another industry where VR technology is being used more and more to differentiate its user experience is the betting industry. 2016 is tipped to be the year of VR in gambling and you will actually find out bingo sites are branching out further into VR as well as online casinos. The first VR headset went on sale to the general public this month the Oculus rift and will cost around $599.99. It is expected to change the gaming industry as we know it with Sony already announcing that they will release a rival headset to the Oculus later this year at a more affordable price. Sit tight because VR is coming soon and will be available to you.