If you’re a follower of trends in technology, you know how virtual reality (VR) is disrupting the video game and entertainment industries. Immersive experiences have emerged in just about every way we digitally amuse ourselves since the introduction of affordable consumer VR headsets several years ago.
What you might be surprised to learn about is how VR is used in practical applications beyond entertainment. Virtual reality is quickly transforming traditional interactions and processes across sectors such as healthcare, business, and retail.
Here’s a look at five examples highlighting VR’s transformational impact.
Product Demos and Trials
Although online shopping has existed since the mid-1990s at an impressive scale, eCommerce has always had a disadvantage compared to brick and mortar retail—the inability for consumers to fully experience the product before purchase.
Virtual reality offers a solution with a range of immersive ways for consumers to engage with products.
Take Marxent, for example. The tech firm specializes in crafting 3D product visualization and VR platforms for leading retailers.
Marxent recently partnered with Macy’s to unveil a 3D room designer experience. Using a VR headset and app, Macy’s furniture-shopping customers can experience customized room designs and furniture arrangements. Pieces of furniture and decor are interchangeable in real-time, allowing customers to quickly dial in their optimal room design.
Enhancing Online Casinos and Poker Rooms
Like eCommerce stores, online casinos have populated the internet landscape for more than 20 years. Similarly, VR has lent an evolutionary transformation to the online gaming space.
Few places engage your senses like a casino. But the bright lights, busy sounds, and sheer energy have been impossible to capture in 2D online casino games.
Virtual reality is changing that with immersive experiences that look and feel exactly like playing in a brick-and-mortar casino. For example, PokerStars VR is one platform delivering superb realism and interactive entertainment to online poker games.
Remote Work Collaboration
Remote work arrangements for employees are also nothing new. Geographically-distributed teams have managed to collaborate in real-time for years by cobbling together tools like webinars, instant messaging, screen shares, and video chat.
However, VR brings a new level of realism to remote work.
For example, VR video conferencing creates the experience that each participating employee is physically present in the same meeting space, regardless of where the employees are located. Team members can interact with one another face to face, just as they would in a real meeting room. This immersive way of meeting unlocks faster idea exchanges and collaboration among team members.
Training Medical Students
VR is hard at work in healthcare facilities, as medical students use the technology to acquire skills faster. Students rehearse surgical procedures in VR simulations, reducing the time and risk associated with training in real-life surgeries.
In the virtual environment, complicated procedures can be practiced repetitively without putting patient outcomes in danger. Students no longer have to wait for procedures of the same nature to arise in a hospital or doctor’s office to gain mastery.
Employee Training and Recruitment
Similar to how medical students train with VR, the technology is gaining a foothold in the corporate world for employee training and recruiting.
Companies are increasingly turning to VR when training employees on real work procedures and challenges. Virtual simulations bring new employees up to speed faster by serving up the look and feel of typical work environments or interactions. Employees situated at different locations can receive the same training at the same time.
During the recruiting process, VR is used in simulating interviews and selecting the best candidates for open jobs.
The examples presented here are just the tip of the iceberg. Virtual reality is shaping a host of other industries in unique and progressive ways. Few previous technologies have landed with the revolutionary capacity of VR. Can you think of other ways VR will change how we live and experience the world around us? Don’t be surprised when the future proves you right.