It sounds like science fiction, but virtual reality technology is already here. VR (as it’s referred to), and Augmented Reality are definitely the next big technologies to change the way we do business. They will without a doubt create new experiences and define new interactions. Some simpler experiences are already very easy to create. But what if all major brands join the bandwagon? Imagine the kind of interactions with content that could exist for consumers! The idea is at the very least intriguing, if not exciting, right?
With big investments from almost every major tech company like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Sony and Samsung, the cost is dropping fast. Virtual Reality is becoming more and more affordable, as free apps and advanced VR headsets are popping up everywhere, more than ever before.
The lower production costs have made the potential of virtual reality for everyone a real thing, growing beyond excited gamers and massive corporations to new audiences – maybe even small businesses in the near future.
Like any new successful technologies, virtual reality could affect many aspects of your daily life. As consumers, we can imagine eventually having virtual shopping malls, or Skyping in a virtual space, sitting next to our loved ones instead of staring at a computer screen. But what about business owners? What benefits could come from VR? Here’s a few:
Training your staff or providing career development would become much easier using VR. Some companies are already using it, allowing their staff to move around a 3D space to interact with environments. The applications are countless. It could be as simple as an interactive tutorial on how to assemble IKEA furniture, or as complex as learning how to repair a shuttle in space!
Imagine not having to spend hours driving back and forth to client meetings. Virtual reality would allow you to connect in “real-time” without the hassle of leaving your office, but still allow for a more intimate experience than simply talking on the phone.
Thinking of hiring new employees as your business grows? How about setting up a test project in a simulated environment to see if your potential employee can actually do the job?
What if you could develop strategies, or plan products with the flick of a wrist, or the wave of a wand. Sounds like something from a Harry Potter book, doesn’t it? Think again. Virtual Reality applications like Google’s Tilt Brush let you create 3d artwork by moving your hands around in a simulated environment. This is just a simple example, but it’s very inspiring nonetheless. Take a look at this promotional video:
Even though Virtual Reality is almost at our doorstep, it may be a few years before we start seeing VR websites, but try to let your mind imagine it for a moment. You put on your headgear and slip on your gloves and suddenly, your eyes transport you to a new dimension. You are now walking around Google, a white empty, endless space. You are wearing a device on your arm. You enter the URL into it, much like you would type something on an Apple iWatch. A colorful portal opens up before your eyes – something out of an alien movie – and you jump through it. The portal connects you to a new room; your website. Your website is now an interactive room, much like a museum, but you can read and touch and explore everything by yourself, with no limitations. Wouldn’t that make the Web fun again? Imagine selling your products this way!
Online shopping would be redefined, cutting down on costs and saving customers a trip. They could even try on clothes in your 3D store. Or, what if you’re not sure that ridiculously cheap hotel in Cuba is really a 5-star resort? You could go for a stroll down their beach, talk to their staff, or walk through their rooms.
These simple examples just go to show how the online VR landscape is opening for small businesses.
Everything will be affected by VR, creating a more tailored and intimate relationship between companies and their clients. The future really IS now when you realize that virtual reality has so many applications for any kind of business!
Of course, at this time, all we can do is sit and wait, but we thought we would share where our research is taking us. How do you feel about Virtual Reality as a small business tool?