Virtual Reality (VR) is one of the most exciting technologies of the 21st century. The scale of the revolution it can bring to society as we know today is beyond our understanding. VR has the potentiality to alter (partially or completely) the way we interpret our human senses. Even though there is a lot of room for discoveries, industries are already embracing changes, and we can enjoy the early steps of development.
The National Retail Federation Big Show 2017 had many highlights about customer experience and technology intersections. Virtual reality is a way to bring e-commerce to the store, enhancing both digital and human dialogue with clients. Imagine walking into a changing room where you have any piece of clothing you want with the tap of your finger; then you open a real time video call with your stylist without any mobile device. If you are going to a party, you can control the lighting and the surroundings to understand better the dress you want to buy. Ikea is already implementing VR into some of their stores; the power of imagination is becoming more visible with the help of virtual reality.
2. Health Care
The combination of VR, AI, and blockchain technologies are profoundly changing medical care solutions. Instead of practicing on dead bodies or animals, medical students and doctors will be able to practice on virtual bodies. Patients will be scanned before a surgery and doctors will have an overview of possible problems they may find, as well as a practice to have no doubts about what to do in the moment of the real surgery. On the flip side, patients can use VR instead of sedatives in certain cases to reduce stress and anxiety.
The entertainment industry is the broadest platform for VR technologies. The gaming world is being revolutionized, and everything from social media to museums is receiving significant investments. Facebook has already spent $2.16 billion on AR/VR technology. Soon our avatar’s will be meeting our friend's avatar in virtual reality. The public is more likely to be open to VR through entertainment than other industries and companies are starting to use it as a way to offer new experiences to their customers. United Airlines, for example, is implementing VR entertainment in their flights to distract clients of the traveling discomforts
Although NASA has been using VR since the mid-80s, contemporary VR is immensely more useful when it comes to spatial perception and 3D accuracy. As we get closer to landing humans on Mars, it is important for the astronauts to be as prepared as they can for possible outer space surprises. Astronauts can also film pre recordings with their families, so they never feel too homesick. For the public, space is coming to Earth with programs like “Destination Mars” that was open for few months at the Kennedy Space Center last year.
Architecture and urban planning are diving into VR’s simulation world. Bringing the client inside of a room before the room is even built opens a better channel of communication between the business and client. The real cost of the project just happens when everyone on board is in accordance with what will be done. Architects can test their guesses on proportions and structures, while urban planners can have broad views of cities before they start operating changes. Traffic, for example, could be highly improved as the simulation can happen for an extended amount of time. When modifications find a satisfactory place in the VR, they can be safely applied to reality.
6. Real Estate
When it comes to renting or buying a house, all the care is needed. Nobody wants to take long term decisions before being completely convinced about it. 3D scanning technology, combined with VR provides inside-the-property experiences before the final deal. Imagine you can enter the house, take your time, observe the neighborhood and inspect conditions from anywhere in the world to help make up your mind. Matterport, a pioneer in the technology, has many real spaces that can be virtually accessed on their website. Real Estate is turning its investments towards a more joyful and rewarding exchange with clients.
Family, business, honey moon and traditional tourist driven trips tend to prefer programmed agendas. It is safer to invest time and money on destinations that costumers know will be pleasant. With VR, tourism companies can provide tours of hotels, restaurants and exterior areas before the client makes the final decision. VR travel is also used to the opposite finality: bringing people where they probably won’t ever go physically. Adventurers and travelers usually have a unique lifestyle that makes it possible for them to travel the world with a backpack. They may have less comfort, but they see beautiful places that can be 3D scanned. Technology brings adventure that can be accessed from your home.
8. Law and Governance
If governance had access to VR technology now, the Harvey Hurricane aftermath would have its full area coverage by 3D drone scanning. Immediate images of the affected areas could help the work of volunteers by pointing the most critical regions and the best way to address the situation. Law can also benefit from scanning crime scenes 3 or 4 days faster than usual procedures. Criminal investigations would be way more efficient since they can have easy access to detailed materials even months after the occurrence.
9. Media/ Journalism
VR and AR are bringing the public into the news. Major business like The New York Times, CNN and Verizon are adapting to VR experience communication. RYOT is a startup tapping into the virtual reality activism. Innovations like this can move our generation from behind the computer into action by speaking our language: Technology. So much information may lead us to numbness, so the importance of VR on media and journalism is to provide empathy by putting us inside of the facts. The New York Times VR app can already be downloaded and explored, journalist and writers have now a more intimate dialogue with their audience.
Car lovers have a reason to celebrate. VR brings the best test-drives to the market. Using the Google Cardboard system, companies like Volvo, Ferrari and Ford are opening their doors and systems for early views, before the cars arrive to the market. The production and development of auto products also have improved from VR. Similarly, with the architectural use, pieces of the montage and completely done virtual cars can be virtually tested before they are materially fabricated; giving industries more space for innovation.