Virtual reality (VR) is emerging from being a niche gaming novelty. Its potential practical uses are making many industries sit up and take notice. With near-endless configuring possibilities, VR is seeing more and more companies exploring its implementation. Digital media means that not only is any VR device completely customizable, but also easy to share and duplicate once created.
For these reasons, many companies are integrating or planning to integrate VR technology into their business plans. Below, 13 members of Forbes Technology Council share the best use of VR that they’ve seen and what makes it so effective.
1. Reuniting Families
I’ve seen virtual reality enable a father who is remote, out of the country or on a military obligation to virtually be in the delivery room to witness and take part in the birth of his child. I’ve seen VR give people the ability to be at the bedside of a dying relative. The ability to bring people together, regardless of location or other impediment, is the best use of VR that I have seen. - James Carder, LogRhythm
2. Medical Treatment And Diagnosis
Big players like Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Samsung are currently evaluating VR for pain reduction and therapeutic purposes. At Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, VR is allowing teams to understand a patient’s anatomy pre-surgery. While it can be fun and exciting to place yourself in a virtual space, there’s no application for VR and AR that is more exciting than healthcare. - David Isaac Murray, Doctor.com
3. Physical Therapy
VR has lots of potential in healthcare, but I see immediate adoption in physical therapy, making it affordable and something that can be pursued at home with the convenience of a device. I first saw this application at a Neuro Rehab VR presentation. VR exercises are effective because it is easier to quantify the progress of the patient as a direct response to the stimuli that is virtually generated. - Spandana Govindgari, Hype AR Inc.
4. Post-Trauma Care
There have been fantastically successful applied studies where VR was used to help patients get through their care following traumatic events. Two specific examples: one, help patients with PTSD by providing a safe VR environment to identify onsets of triggers and manage their reaction through imagining a safe place; and two, help patients with prosthetics by using VR to ease their transition to a new normal. - Florian Quarré, Ciox Health
5. Workplace Training
VR is a low-cost, highly effective training tool. VR allows people to get highly dangerous, high-cost training with a small investment and low risk. Walmartis ahead of the trend and has added VR training to many stores, with plans to increase. They have taken over valuable storage spaces to make this happen. It gives companies an easy way to test user experience of retail as a bonus. - Tom Altman, Leverage, powered by Clickstop
6. Customer Engagement
Using VR with customers has improved many companies’ engagement levels and customer experience ratings, because consumers love to see what a product will feel like or how it could change their life. This immerses them in that. - Chalmers Brown, Due
7. Classes Held In 4Dx
I participated in a 4Dx big data class from MIT Sloan Executive Education. Using the technology, we were able to join from around the world, but never leave the comfort of our home or office. The technology broke down the barriers of language, race and gender. The student next to you could have been a male from Brazil, speaking Portuguese; a female from Paris, speaking French; or me, from Indiana. - Jeffrey Ton, InterVision
8. E-Commerce Marketing
Ikea’s VR experience is a great example of how virtual reality can change the game for e-commerce. The ability to see their products in three dimensions and put things together like you would in a room improved the shopping experience drastically. If you operate a business that sells physical products, take a look at ways that you can incorporate virtual reality to boost sales. - Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
9. Home Sales And Rentals
When people move across country, the last thing they have time for is spending hours or days figuring out where they want to live. VR is a great solution to allow people to remotely evaluate properties for rental or purchase. VR will allow them to rule out properties and locations that aren’t suitable, narrowing down their final selections to the properties that best fit their needs. - Kathy Keating, Apostrophe, Inc.
10. Engineering Design
At EmTech NEXT 2018 at MIT there was a demonstration of a VR platform for engineering design. The new VR implementation added significant visualization depth, which promises to enable new ways to connect with remote teams. The utility revolution will come from answering the question of how we best adapt our approaches in design to the new technology, rather than waiting for it to become great. - Harald Quintus-Bosz, Cooper Perkins, Inc.
11. Construction Design
VR represents the next level in 3D modeling, placing the user directly inside the built environment and enabling different project stakeholders to truly “experience” a building before breaking ground. This technology is improving design and enhancing coordination and collaboration during the planning/preconstruction process, helping to prevent future rework. - Justin Morgenthau, Triax Technologies, Inc.
12. Remote Equipment Diagnostics
From heavy industrial equipment to domestic appliances, when machines need an expert to service them, it becomes challenging to dispatch the experts onsite within the cost and time the user expects. VR now offers possibilities of at least diagnosing, if not solving, maintenance issues by experts joining remotely via an augmented reality session, reducing the cost of support and achieving customer delight. - Anand Mahurkar, Findability Sciences
13. Experiencing Distant Destinations
The tourism industry has plenty of potential for VR to communicate the experience of far-off destinations and alleviate the perceived risk of an intangible purchase. One use case for the technology is including VR in the planning process of the buyer journey. In tourism, VR experiences can eliminate boundaries with immersive sensations and attach positive sentiment to particular destinations. - Sanjay Malhotra, Clearbridge Mobile