Imagine as an online consumer you could see the exact version of the thing you wish to buy say a house, a car or even an outfit; not just that but also make the desired customization to the final product you will receive and evaluate. Imagine the kind of power it will give you to make the right decision. This is what Virtual Reality can do for consumers when transposed to various business applications.
Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman / CEO of Facebook, Inc, famously quoted - "We're making a long term bet that immersive, virtual and augmented reality will become a part people's daily life." There is no denying that Mr. Zuckerberg has stated an undeniable fact that is bound to become part and parcel of everybody's life in the days to come.
For instance, nowadays, when people set out to purchase their dream home, builders present them with a vague notion of how that place would look like through demo flats or static 3D/2D imaging of the same. A student who desires to study ancient Egypt has to be content with boring text and monotonous images that are far from real. Shopaholics who wish to buy clothes/ cool accessories online end up nursing grudges against unsatisfactory products due to often misleading images completely contradictory to how they perceived it to be.
Now suppose, the consumer is given the power to customize unmapped dwelling places as per their tastes, comfort and requirements. Imagine them doing a walkthrough of the apartment or villa furnished to last detail before even the construction begins! Imagine a history student witnessing ancient Egypt come to life. Wouldn't it be cool to say 'Hi' to a Pharaoh who passed away thousands of years ago? Or a Manchester United fan trying on the club's jersey on an online portal; picking up the one that fits perfectly, just like it happens in trial rooms of malls without actually going to one! All this is no longer mere imagination but reality, thanks to Virtual Reality (VR)!
VR has been around for a long time but unlike the popular notion, its usage is not limited to entertainment and gaming. There much more to VR than just witnessing special effects of a film. The reality is that human race hasn't tapped the gigantic potential that VR holds yet in the right manner. In fact, we have just begun to scratch the surface. However, times are changing and the masses are becoming more and more aware of the power of VR. Owing to the rapidly evolving consumer behaviour and digital ecosystem, VR is now set to discover multifaceted application in various walks of life.
E-tailers or Retailers are constantly brainstorming on innovative ways to appeal to the psyche of consumers. One of such way include giving consumers a virtual tour of the entire e-store allowing them to examine all products from all angles thus getting a real hands-on feel on the offerings. A car manufacturer based in UAE can showcase multiple virtually scaled models to a consumer sitting in LA.
VR has enormous potential in several walks of life, for instance, a child with learning disabilities can better adapt to a customized VR training model. VR makes education fun by gamifying the entire learning experience which in turn breaks the shackles of conventional teaching-learning approach and spawns new methodologies. If we take medical science into account, its application is again enormous given its potential to train budding professional much more efficiently hence saving uncountable lives. Another sector where VR provides a rejuvenated peek into the future and fits naturally is Real Estate. Changing design of apartments, moving furniture around, changing colours of walls and curtains and even maneuvering the lighting to realize how the place looks like during various phases of a day are some applications that are bound to revolutionize the way real estate sector operates.
All major players are looking at AR and VR as the future and investing heavily into the technology considering the launch of new HMD's like the Oculus, Samsung VR, even the HoloLens (more AR). Recently, Facebook acquired the Oculus for 2 billion; Google invested 542 million dollars in Magic Leap, Microsoft launching the HoloLens. What was primarily seen as a mere gaming technology; VR has far more deep reaching applications and implications across multifarious industries.
VR provides interactive and futuristic environments that stimulate potential users in to experiencing products and spaces that haven't even been physically built yet. Hence, it can only make the buying experience more immersive helping consumer decide & invest better. This unique 'Immersive Technology' (VR) can transform day to day life by putting the control back to where it belong, i.e., the Consumer. The time is not far when virtual reality will revolutionize every sphere of life.