25 years ago Venezuelan-American computer engineer Carolina Cruz-Neira and her team developed the world’s first cubic immersive room, The Cave, an invention that recalled Star Trek’s holodeck.

 

Virtual Reality (VR) has come a long way since 1992: head-mounted displays (HMDs) are now a key part of the armoury of mobile phone companies, 360 photography marches towards omnipresence and the range of VR gadgets continues to grow.

 

Irrespective of the industry you are involved in, VR is not a fad, bridging technology, or joke that has yet to receive its punchline: VR is coming for your business.

What is VR?

 

VR is a three-dimensional, computer generated representation of reality. All VR shares this trait and the differentiating factor is the reality that is being represented. It incorporates the use of HMDs to immerse people in this reality and gives users the ability to interact with their surroundings.

What is the significance of VR for your business?

As I mentioned earlier, VR is not something to be treated lightly. It’s a massive technological jump forwards, is not restricted to the gaming industry, and is already becoming a big part of the business strategy of the major mobile phone companies.

 

Here are some of the ways that VR could be set to impact upon your business

Advertising

HMDs are becoming cheaper and more popular; it is expected that 22 million units will be sold in 2017 and that this annual sales figure is predicted to rise to 67 million by 2021. As usage rises, the number of adverts that incorporate VR will too.

 

Your own advertising strategy will determine whether you consider it necessary to access these 67 million users, but the likelihood is that your competitors will believe that it is.

Virtual Shopping

 

A customer’s desire to get a feel for the product, or service, they are buying is where VR comes in here. The immersive nature of VR will allow customers to see and experience the product they are considering.

 

Businesses that offer an immersive shopping experience for their customers will customers will be able to combine the convenience of online shopping, with the granular quality of in store purchasing.

 

If you are in the business of selling goods, or services, being unable to provide this dual approach to your customers will put you at a disadvantage in relation to rival companies who can.

How you work

 

Cloud storage facilities have given businesses the ability to move data out of the office and into the universe. VR has the same potential for you and your staff.

 

Picture this: your employees strap on an HMD and plug themselves into a virtual office. This could help you to reduce your overheads by scaling back, or withdrawing, your physical office space.

 

It also raises the potential to hold client meetings, attend conferences and interact with your regional colleagues face-to-face, without having to move from your chair.

 

Whatever your industry, VR gives you the opportunity to be more efficient in the way that you work.

 

Four years ago Valve unleashed low-persistence displays into the world, meaning that VR content no longer need to be hindered by lagging or smearing. 

 We can’t predict what great advancement in VR technology will come in 2021. However, what we can say is that VR is here, on the rise and the impact that it will have on your business will be determined by how important it is for you to move with the times.

 

Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she offer tips to writers and businesses on how they are able to take advantage of developments in digital technology.

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