Right now, the words ‘virtual reality’ are on everyone’s lips. Pre-orders for Oculus Rift, the virtual reality headset that promises to transport us to a million new worlds, are already booming. So, how will this technological shift in how we perceive and explore environments impact different parts of our lives? Let’s take a look at the key areas it will impact and the opportunities virtual reality will create.
For keen travelers, as well as those who don’t want to fork out for expensive holidays before they’re sure they know where they want to go, virtual reality is fantastic. It means you can ‘try before you buy’, getting a taste of a destination before making any financial commitment.
Airlines and holiday companies are starting to realise that VR represents a brilliant sales tool, as well as an excellent way to help customers explore the travel experiences they’d most like to have. Can’t decide between the New York’s Broadway and the Las Vegas Strip? Give them both a go and then make up your mind!
Of course, gaming is where VR really began. Indeed, it was the gaming community that threw its weight behind Oculus Rift itself, and the technology will certainly help the industry move to the next level of pleasure and engagement.Imagine being able to walk through plush casinos, greeting the regulars you often play with, chatting with old friends and enjoying a game or two, all from the comfort of your own home… In the future most online casinos will provide Virtual Reality experience, offering players unprecedented levels of ‘reality’ that will completely reinvigorate the industry.
Education has long been a sector that’s receptive to advancing technology’s latest tricks and innovations. From online learning via webinars, to discussion groups hosted by social media sites and study notes stored on the cloud, tech and teaching go hand-in-hand. Virtual reality is already finding its place. What better than teaching a class about the squalor of Elizabethan London or the horror of WWI battlefields than by taking them there? Avatars and carefully constructed worlds combine the best of online learning with that of real world classes, making VR a spectacularly inspiring teaching tool.
In advertising virtual reality is an exceptionally exciting notion and one that could revolutionise the entire industry. How about walking through the world at the centre of the upcoming blockbuster movie? Or, what about exploring the new homes not yet built on the edge of town? VR gives consumers the chance to live an experience before they buy it. Of course, the headset itself also represents a money-spinner as an advertising platform. While the user waits for her interactive leisure experience (say a film or game) to begin, advertisers have a captive audience and one whose cultural choices they have a unique insight into.
These are very exciting times for the creators, innovators and designers behind VR products, as well as for us as users. All we have to do now is watch and wait as the technology evolves and becomes ever more accessible to the layman’s pocket.