Virtual reality can be used in a number of ways, such as experiences and business processes
Virtual reality (VR) has come a long way in recent years. The aim is to alter a user's perception with virtual systems, usually delivered via a headset.
One of the earlier attempts at consumer-driven VR was Nintendo's Virtual Boy. But it was a flop, with its small userbase reporting feelings of vertigo and general illness. But more recently, the Oculus Rift championed VR in the consumer space.
It has particularly proven to be popular in the gaming industry, but more and more businesses are deploying the technology for a variety of purposes, from architecture to manufacturing design and tourism. These are some of the industries that have put VR to good use so far.
Major brands in the automotive industry like Ford, Volvo and Hyundai have been using VR for more than just business process, and have since changed processes for design, safety and purchasing.
There have also been other deployments of VR in the industry such as showing the dangers of unsafe driving, as demonstrated by Toyota in partnership with Oculus Rift in 2015.
In healthcare, VR has been used in a number of ways to simplify surgical processes. For instance, since the adoption of VR surgeries can be viewed in 360 degrees and real-time around the world using VR apps.
There are also more applications being designed to help learn about patients and examine them in the same way a healthcare professional would in reality.
Travel and hospitality firms have particularly taken advantage of VR to be able to showcase destinations and accommodations. This means that guests are able to virtually explore destinations before booking.
Thomas Cook and Samsung Gear VR is one example. The two partnered to provide realistic views of Thomas Cook's locations around the world, delivering a 40 percent return on investment within the first three months.
VR in the aerospace industry has developed a long way.
Using the technology, designers and engineers are able to create products faster and easier due to the help of behaviour-testing and visualisation.
It also cuts costs for the engineer as there can be less reliance on the need to invest in costly prototypes.
Virtual Reality has the ability to transform the way architects design buildings and sites. This is because the technology enables architects to experiment with different aspects of the design process such as lighting, material and layout.
It can also help in giving customers virtual tours, similar to the tourism industry, of their new homes and buildings before buying.
VR will also minimise the need for revisions and re-constructions as feedback can be delivered in a more
VR has progressed dramatically in the education industry, transforming the learning experience for both students and teachers.
With VR deployed in education, immersive and interactive content can be accessed on a large scale from anywhere.
Google, for example, began to offer its 'Google Expeditions' software for both students and teachers via an app in 2017. The idea was to allow students to experience parts of the world as if they were there.
VR has been a strong source of transformation in the industry with the rise of smart shopping.
Popular retail stores like IKEA have been able to showcase furniture to give customers a view of how it would look in their surroundings before purchasing. This feature is available via the company's app.
Other retailers like Adidas and Nike have used VR to allow customers to virtually try on clothes and footwear.
The finance industry has also jumped on board with VR, with the launch of various banking apps to provide more digital banking experiences.
For instance, BNP Paribas launched its VR app in June 2017 to enable users to access their account activity in a VR environment, along with a separate app which gives a guided tour of steps to buying a home.
Marketing is one of the first industries to explore VR, delivering more immersive experiences for businesses and customers.
An example is Volvo, which developed its first virtual reality test drive of its Volvo XC90 to give customers a chance to test the car at any time. This was delivered in 2014 with an app using Google's Cardboard VR headset.
VR has been long underway in the manufacturing industry, boosting the rise of autonomous and self driving vehicles around the world.
Car maker Ford was one of the first manufacturers to make use of the technology in 2015, when it began using VR to design new vehicles at its immersion and innovation labs in the USA.
Others like BAE Systems and General Motors are also testing VR.
11. Film and entertainment
Various films have been released to deliver VR experiences, with many Hollywood directors taking to projects that use VR technologies.
An example is a VR short film called ‘Wild,’ which was produced as an interactive virtual reality film.
And Samsung Gear VR users can also watch some films and TV shows in VR.