Do you know what the 21st century runs on? Data… Loads and loads of them. From cell phone GPS signals to sensors used in collecting shopper information, census data, social media posts, digital photos and videos, our very existence is surrounded by data. According to Domo, the famous American Software Company, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated on the Internet every single day! And as data continue to pile up, the need for a powerful tool to help us digest and make sense of them become extremely important. This is where data visualization comes in. And with virtual reality on the rise, big data visualization is in for a pathbreaking revolution.
What helps us connect with our environment in the real world? It is the ability to easily touch and feel the objects around us, isn’t it? But what happens in a digital world? For long, we have relied on mice and keyboards to facilitate this sense of interactivity. But now, with virtual reality, we can gain a more natural sense of interaction by physically pushing buttons, moving the objects around and by even controlling data streams. So, just as you walk around your sofa or computer table, you can literally move around huge volumes of data. Pretty cool, uh?
So what are its benefits? Well… The obvious one is, of course, you could gain a deeper analysis of data quickly and easily. And thus businesses could make faster decisions and improve employee efficiency.
There is a huge difference between viewing data on a computer screen and being surrounded by them! Once you are totally present in the data, you get the actual magnitude of the data which is otherwise impossible to comprehend. And when your complete field of vision is focused on one single objective, there won’t be any distractions bothering you, which will maximise the result of your data analysis.
Take a look at this video of archaeologists discovering new places of interest during an excavation
and a guided tour around the history of Nasdaq Stock Market and you will know why it is so important to be free from all the other distractions.
Multidimensional data analysis
Okay, let us talk about living in the real world again. There are five senses that determine our existence in the real world, but in a typical scenario, we could only use our sight to analyse and interpret data. But what if we could use other senses too? This is exactly what Virtual Reality offers in data visualization. For example, take the case of hearing. With data-audio relationships, we could easily determine the location, subject, and significance of a specific data through its direction, loudness, and type! With haptic feedback gloves gaining popularity, we are not far away from a period where we could actually feel the data.
Think about this. You are surrounded by data 360 degree. That means there is room for more data and one could gain access to even the minutest of details. Take a look at this proof of concept of Bloomberg’s virtual reality trader terminal that clearly showcases this advantage. Space is no more a constraint for data visualization!
Improved data processing
Do you know that our optic nerve can transfer information at the rate of 1MB/S? That is almost equal to a computer! But what happens when we just read words on a screen? Well, we can then make use of only 0.1% of this capacity. The various data visualization techniques that have been developed over the years have enabled us to improve this rate, but at the end of the day, it is still information from two-dimensional screens. Enter virtual reality and this is in for a total changeover. By completely immersing you in a stimulating 3D environment, virtual reality would totally engage your brain and help you make full use of your optic nerve’s bandwidth.
According to International Data Corporation, the augmented and virtual reality market would touch $162 billion in 2020. We have already heard numerous stories of virtual reality igniting significant breakthroughs in several industries. With data visualization gaining a whole new level of strength through virtual reality, we would definitely hear more of such amazing stories in the near future.