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What Is Virtual Reality And How Is It Going To Change Our Future !

Author: Shijo Date: 10/10/2018 Category: Augmented Reality

You’ve certainly heard of Virtual Reality or ‘VR’ – but you might think it’s just a bit of fun for extreme gamers playing with VR games or VR apps. So, what precisely is virtual reality?

Whereas there are plenty of fun examples of virtual reality games – whether that’s virtual roller coasters, snooker, or even space exploration, virtual reality has so much to offer across healthcare, business and even marketing.

  • What about a surgeon operating on you from another country with the help of a colleague holding the scalpel for a VR experience with real life results?
  • Or if you could experience your dream wedding in the virtual world, before you’d even spent a penny on flights?
  • Perhaps through a VR simulator you can try your hand at the trickiest parts of space exploration, or experience something that you would never do in your wildest dreams – like scaling a building!

If it sounds like fantasy, then read on, because virtual reality is becoming a reality for many businesses, healthcare providers and individuals across the world.

What is Virtual Reality and How does it work?

Virtual reality refers to computer-generated environments or realities that are designed to simulate a person’s physical presence in a specific environment that is designed to feel real. The purpose of VR is to allow a person to experience and manipulate the environment as if it were the real world. To experience VR you need to be absorbed in the virtual world, which is why you need VR Goggles or a virtual reality headset (sometimes called virtual reality glasses) and a compatible phone or a specific virtual reality device.

To get these on your face, you need a mount, which is where you might have seen VR ‘Cardboard’ sets (and wondered how something so digital and new age can be facilitated by a cardboard box.)

Simply, VR headsets – also known as HMDs or head mounted displays – create the ‘screen’ around your face. Unlike watching a TV or a phone, as you turn your head and move up and down, your eyes should stay within the virtual scene.

So what does virtual reality feel like? The best explanation is:
A virtual experience includes three-dimensional images which appear life-sized to the user. A virtual reality application or device tracks the user’s head and eye movements and adjusts the on-screen display to respond to the change of perspective.

Virtual reality is not just about the visual experience; it’s augmented by sounds and device movement. In a virtual environment “immersion” is the feeling of being inside that world and the depth of which the feeling is felt. Add the interaction with that environment, and we experience “telepresence”.

The future of Virtual Reality

  • When it comes to marketing and advertising, you can bet that anything purchased by Facebook for $2 billion (Oculus Rift) will definitely start to creep into our lives as marketers look to connect with consumers through virtual reality marketing and virtual reality experiences!
  • According to a survey by L.E.K. Consulting, as many as 80% of consumers who consider themselves early tech adopters ‘are interested in using VR to enhance their shopping experience’.
  • It’s a trend that retailers are keen to move with and in October 2017 Walmart’s e-commerce CEO Marc Lore said that in the next decade he sees ‘a future where consumers can experience in-store interactions via VR in their homes.’
  • IKEA has already started trialing a virtual test kitchen and MasterCard and Swarovski have put their efforts into a VR shopping app that lets shoppers browse, learn about and purchase items.
  • It’s not just about looking at products either. Jaguar have created a campaign that put you, via VR, into Wimbledon and Coca Cola created a virtual reality sleigh ride for their well-known ‘holidays are coming’ campaign in Poland.

When storytelling and being authentic is all key for today’s marketers, experiences even through VR could help overcome some of the challenges in running events and promotions.

Time will tell how VR could be utilised to create consume generated content and experiences that feedback to the retailer but for now it’s clear that future could certainly see more businesses, from clothing retailers to hotels and airlines using the technology to make booking or buying even easier.