Touted as the "next big thing" over the past few decades, Virtual Reality (VR) is making new waves and reaching wider consumers. Getting better and more realistic, this technology-driven tool is already accepted by those entering the workforce. Holding enormous potential in numerous fields, VR is poised to transform the way we communicate, shop, view, experience, and even conduct business. Although consumer adoption of this technology is still in the nascent stages with innovations picking up the pace, numerous businesses are identifying new ways to use VR and reap maximum Virtual Reality benefits in businesses.
Here's a list of industry verticals which can reap maximum advantages by leveraging virtual reality -
In the automotive industry, VR has changed the processes for safety, design, and purchasing. VR's realistic elements enable engineers and designers to analyze how a new vehicle would look and perform without building multiple models. Besides, the outside environment can also be virtually replicated for conducting safety trials on vehicles, without exerting the energy and time required to run the actual tests. Today, major brands, such as Hyundai, Ford, and Volvo are using VR for designing and sales. All the vehicles are made available to the customers who can now try everything from examining vehicle features to test driving. Therefore, with the advent of VR, the need for a dealership showroom will now be obsolete.
With numerous industries benefiting from Virtual Reality, retail has also experienced a huge leap by employing VR. Using VR, retail showrooms can now showcase everything from multiple shades of a fabric to different furniture models, without having to physically store these products on-site. An additional benefit to retailers comes with an insight into customer behaviors, as customers get to try and test various products before purchasing.
Virtual human anatomy models and realistic virtual environments allow healthcare professionals to gain an insight without working on a real human body. This is useful for both experienced professionals as well as for students who are performing new, high-risk procedures. Therefore, VR training offers these professionals with the best, hands-on, online training which enables them to provide uncompromised patient care. Ultimately this translates into fewer cases of negligence and malpractice, thereby lowering liability insurance costs.
Architecture is one of the major industries benefiting from VR. This is because VR has the potential to transform the way engineers design buildings, as it enables them to experiment with different aspects of a building, such as layout, material, and lighting. In addition to this, VR also allows customers to take virtual tours of these projects and understand how it looks and feels. Further, editing the architectural design before or during construction saves enormous money, prevents complicated re-works, and avoids miscommunication.
While modeling is important in automotive VR training, gamification is the core of skilled trades and construction. Today, VR provides a virtual, game-like environment for workers to practice using tools, without touching any hardware. For instance, consider the program created by Campfire Union for tower crane operators. This program employs cloud-based, multi-player technology allowing two operators in different locations to easily co-ordinate activities in the same virtual space. One immediate benefit of VR training is that it saves a lot of money, which otherwise has to be invested in materials for practice. Today, similar programs are available for other high-risk activities, such as forklift operation. Even lower-risk skilled trades, such as painting and welding are also using VR, where labors can refine their skills before they dive into the work.
VR enables guided tours to any place across the world, thereby allowing tourists to virtually visit the destination before they plan an actual trip. This particularly helps travelers to learn more about smaller and less-explored places. Besides, travel and hospitality firms also showcase their accommodations and destinations using interactive technology to enable potential guests to experience and explore the grounds before they book. The collaboration between Samsung Gear VR and Thomas Cook is one such successful example, which offers realistic presentation of all the Thomas Cook locations worldwide. This endeavor reaped nearly £12,000 along with a huge return on investment of 40%, within the first 3 months.
The aerospace sector is becoming highly immersive as the VR technology enables collaboration during every step of building and maintaining processes. This collaborative technology supports better communication and improves understanding among employees working in different departments. Engineers, designers and manufacturers are now able to interact better and create quality products at a faster pace using visualization and product behavior testing. VR allows realistic visualization which enables a strong relationship between different departments, which promotes better understanding at every stage of designing and building. As the communication gap is bridged, grounds controllers, service workers, pilots, and engineers can maintain the products efficiently.
Virtual Reality technology is majorly used for training purposes in the education industry, from surgeons to mechanics, harness the benefits of VR. However, for the younger students, VR in classroom includes immersive games, virtual field trips and some interactive sessions for children having special needs. Such immersive, game-based experiences make students highly innovative, as things which are not possible in reality are possible in virtual reality. Therefore, the virtual platform serves as a new tool that inspires creative learning among students.
Although there are a lot of aspects yet to be discovered about VR, with virtual reality industrial applications making new waves, one thing that seems certain is, it is on the "up-and-up". Usage and sales are estimated to soar in the years to come, with consumers becoming comfortable using VR devices.
According to the Goldman Sachs research report VR has the potential to emerge as the next big computing platform. With an ability to re-shape existing businesses, right from watching a concert to buying a new home, VR is here to take several industry sectors by storm. Although the business benefits of Virtual Reality in industry are numerous, here are some of the industry sectors that are hugely benefiting from VR.
Below is an estimate made by Goldman Sachs on the investment in VR technology by 2025 -
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