How the rise of VR impacts businesses

3-D design and development have opened up a number of opportunities for other technologies to provide immersive experiences. Numerous improvements have been made to virtual reality over the past few years as organizations experiment with ways to use this technology for their own gain. As VR continues to advance and rise in popularity, it will impact business operations, services and marketing capabilities.

Transport users to another world

The gaming industry is one of the biggest beneficiaries of VR technology. While gamers have always imagined what it would be like to step into the shoes of their favorite characters, Oculus showed that this is now a very real possibility, Forbes contributor R.L. Adams noted. Other organizations have started to catch on to this trend, releasing platforms such as Gear VR, Google Cardboard and HTC Vive to be used with PCs and smartphones. Even gaming giant Sony is planning to release a PlayStation PS4 VR platform this year, along with a catalog of compatible games, marking the first major VR effort from a leading game system developer.

VR transports users to another world.VR transports users to another world.

Educators can also leverage VR systems as a means to transport students while teaching them important information. After all, why read about historical events or places, when you can virtually go there? These types of interactive experiences will help better engage students and make information stick. VR can also be used to make up for a lack of resources, such as during dissection lessons, critical training and other topics.

Show users what they're getting

When it comes to real estate or traveling, you don't really know what you're going to get until you look at it for yourself. Pictures only show so much, and there's no knowing what condition the place is currently in. VR is taking over the real estate and travel industries as a means of showing users what they're getting through room-scale simulations. Adams noted that VR enables users to move through the space, survey your surroundings and get a true sense as if you were physically present. Experiences like these will help ensure that customers make the best decision for their needs and that their plans go as smoothly as possible. In theory, this will also lead to more sales conversions and better marketing techniques.

VR also provides training for science and medicine professionals to show what to expect before doing anything for real. Doctors and nurses might use the technology to train for surgeries, mitigating the need for donor corpses and reserving available resources, Ghost Productions noted. Industry organizations can also leverage VR to improve research and development for everything from biologic drugs to medical devices.

Test and showcase products

"Organizations are using VR to showcase their ideas without having to experiment with a physical product."

Consumers place a high value on convenience – as can be seen with the rapid rise of e-commerce versus in-store sales. However, customers want to apply this type of experience to other purchases. VR technology is now being used by marketers for product testing to try out the product before they buy it. Users can even test drive a car without needing to go to a showroom thanks to VR platforms, Fourth Source contributor Anna Lemos stated. This feature will bring in serious customers who are looking to make a purchase, increasing in-store sales.

Similarly, organizations are using VR to showcase their ideas without having to experiment with a physical product. Creating a new product or service takes time and money. If this effort fails, those resources are wasted, and more experiments must be conducted to determine what assets will be most beneficial. VR will provide a better feel for the product, eliciting the feedback needed to make improvements. Organizations can have more confidence about the success of their initiatives and minimize potential risks.

VR has gone beyond just a pipe dream exclusive to gaming experiences – it is now a viable technology applicable to a number of business uses. As VR technology advances, it will provide more opportunities for immersive customer engagement. Organizations should gauge the case for VR within their operations to improve overall sales, bolster products and serve consumer needs.