In the past years, we’ve seen virtual reality championing the cause of the entertainment industry. From VR pods offering an immersive cinema experience to gamers slashing and hacking their way against invisible enemies, the development phase of the VR technology has made innovative ideas come into fruition. But aside from the entertainment industry, virtual reality has also impacted other industries and businesses such as manufacturing, retail, healthcare and more.
How did the VR technology redefine innovation in the recent years for businesses and industries? Here’s how.
Thanks to virtual reality, the design and safety processes for select industries have seen a much faster pace and have become more cost-effective through visualization and product behavior-testing. In automotive, the VR technology’s realistic elements have made it possible to test a car’s performance in the early production stage, eliminating the need to build multiple models. For instance, car manufacturer Ford has taken advantage of the VR trend, becoming a vital part of their building process since 2015.
The same holds true for the aerospace and manufacturing industries, both included virtual reality as part of their manufacturing processes. Designers, engineers, and manufacturers from Airbus and BAE Systems, for example, are enabled to simulate and test product features and models without the need to create full-scale working prototypes, saving millions in the process.
Furthermore, the architecture industry also benefits from the VR technology through the onsite experience it can simulate. The said innovation allows architects to experiment with their design, visualizing how the layout, materials, and lighting would go before setting a single stone in place. Virtual reality also allows their customers to tour around their finished concepts, experiencing the look and feel of their soon-to-be homes or workplaces—great when preselling real property.
Virtual reality has also changed the landscape of client presentations, helping businesses get better reach and eventually, more conversions with ease. From retail and marketing to real estate and tourism, and even in finance, providing a visual experience to customers has now become the trend large-scale businesses should venture into.
Take for example Ikea’s virtual reality showrooms. With virtual showrooms, customers can view the range of products the Swedish furniture giant offers without leaving their homes, a convenient alternative for people living in the digital space. All they need is to put their VR headsets on and voila! Aside from the virtual in-store experience, the VR technology can also help retailers and marketers analyze consumer behavior from data collected during the showroom tour.
When it comes to tourism, travel and booking companies know too well how virtual reality can improve their respective businesses. Such technology enables them to showcase destinations and accommodation, and even go as far as simulating the travel experience through realistic presentations, aroma, wind and other stimulants. One fine example is the travel agency Thomas Cook, which generated nearly £12,000 and a 40 percent ROI in the first three months of their virtual endeavor.
The VR technology even emerged in the finance industry, allowing customers to enter branches through a virtual environment. Mobile banking apps were also launched to keep up with the digital age, enabling customers to do their banking transactions and activities virtually. Indeed, virtual reality has greatly impacted in-store experience in just a few years.
One great advantage of the VR technology is that it offers immersive training that is already being used in a wide range of industries. The best example of this could be the healthcare sector where one mistake can be fatal to the patient undergoing the operation. Virtual reality allows doctors and surgeons to perform a new or high-risk procedure in a realistic virtual environment, preparing them with insights before doing an actual operation. In the video below, the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles demonstrates how VR simulation helps residents become more confident and better-prepared doctors.
Other industries that benefited from the VR innovation include education, equipping teachers with experience to better handle unruly and disruptive behaviors in class. Pilots have also found VR solutions more cost-effective, with its state-of-the-art simulation providing a more efficient training experience for them. In New Jersey, law enforcers are also using virtual reality to prepare themselves for scenarios they might encounter from simple traffic routines to life-threatening situations such as being gunned down.
The VR technology is still in its development phase, yet it has already achieved great feats in the past years. What more can it offer a few years from now, with breakthroughs such as eyeball-tracking technology and the potential brainwave-controlled virtual environment greatly changing our way of living? With its promising impact on processes of several industries and businesses today, it is only but wise to start early to get on this trend and keep up with such technology to innovate your game.