Ever wondered why Virtual Reality is considered the hottest tech to come out in the 21st century? Well, the hype is real: the market for VR is already worth tens of billions of dollars and projected to grow exponentially. There’s a good reason why the likes of Microsoft, Google and Facebook have invested heavily into Virtual Reality technology.
But contrary to popular belief, VR is not just for gaming and entertainment (though its awesome for these!) and has serious and hugely beneficial as one of the newest business tools in varied sectors.
So if you are an entrepreneur, a small to medium business owner or a business manager looking for efficient ways to implement helpful business tools, surprisingly Virtual Reality could be the next great tool for you. Read on to understand how VR can make a positive impact for your clients and your companies.
Ways to Use Virtual Reality as One of Your Business Tools
Virtual Meetings and Conferences
Want to avoid traveling to the opposite side of the planet to attend that tech conference or meeting? Worry not, as Virtual Reality will enable you to actively participate in the sessions, ‘see’ new products and speak to your peers and clients all from the comfort of your home or office. Want to interview a promising candidate from across the country? Have an ‘in person’ interview in a virtual office using a VR headset and you’ll be able to see his reactions and responses to your difficult questions.
The cost savings and more productivity benefits that come with a Virtual Reality-based conference are immense as more and more corporates are shunning old technologies like teleconferencing and adopting VR as a business tool.
Businesses are increasingly turning to Virtual Reality to test out their products before launching them into mainstream markets. Think how painful it can be to create awesome products only to find no one’s buying them. Instead, using VR you can understand consumer behavior much better than orthodox testing methods.
Here’s how a leading organic baby food brand Happy Family benefited from using Virtual Reality: By displaying their baby foods in various shelf layouts in a virtual environment, they enabled test subjects to explore, pick up products, read their labels and add them to their shopping carts. This real-like shopping experience helped the company understand their customers’ buying patterns and conclude which product layout scenario was most optimal in a retail store, resulting in quick and accurate product testing.
Virtual Reality has become one of the most efficient and cost effective business training tools. Ultrasound and CT scan images can now be transformed into virtual 3D models that help new surgeons to practice complex surgeries before actual operations. The military, which has been one of the earliest adopters of VR, uses simulators to train soldiers in realistic, yet virtual environments before their deployments.
Similarly, if you’re an entrepreneur or a business manager and need to train new hires, Virtual Reality applications can enable you to train them in ‘real life’ scenarios, thus helping them learn faster and more efficiently.
For business owners and executives in the manufacturing space, Virtual Reality is a real blessing. No more expensive models that eat up time and money, as VR models allow engineers and designers to virtually examine every part of a prototype without needing it to be manufactured. Such simulations are being used extensively in the car manufacturing industry with leading brands employing VR for designing and prototyping vehicles.
Virtual Reality is a win win for retailers and shoppers alike as it offers a much more efficient shopping experience for customers. Customers can just don a VR headset and revel in a new kind of shopping minus the noisy fellow shoppers and annoying salespeople. Want to get their friends’ opinion on that new dress? They can simply try it out and ask their pals to join them virtually. And yes, one can purchase items too in a virtual store.
If you are in the retail business, this means more ‘footfalls’ in your store. No need to maintain a bulky website or a huge catalog of products. Let VR magically bring a shopping experience as your customers have never seen before and let them shop to their hearts’ content.
Besides the above mentioned industries, VR provides lucrative benefits to many other sectors such as real estate, healthcare and education.
How to Create VR to Use as a Business Tool
While the technology has existed for many decades now, Virtual Reality is only now coming into the mainstream. If you want to use VR as a business tool, here are a few things you’ll need:
A special 360° Camera that can capture video footage from all angles to create virtual reality videos. We like this one because it can interact with smart phones for more versatile use, it’s the Samsung Gear 360.
VR software that merges the audio and video into the footage and brings about a magical, immersive experience for the user. Certain VR applications are free while the high-end ones can cost significantly.
And finally, you will need a VR headset to immerse yourself or your customers into a virtual environment. The main brands in the VR hardware market are lead by Oculus Rift with Samsung and HTC following it. Google has an interesting, very low cost device called Google Cardboard that is literally made from cardboard and costs just $20. Wear it and it turns any Android-based phone or iPhone with a gyroscope into a Virtual Reality display.
There has never been a better time to employ a cutting edge technology such as Virtual Reality in your business. Regardless of whether you are a manufacturer, retailer, business professional, or budding entrepreneur, you will find Virtual Reality benefiting your business.