The Gaza Post | The News of Palestine – Washington
Virtual Reality hit the mainstream recently with the arrival of affordable, consumer-friendly headsets. Already businesses are keenly embracing the opportunities created by this amazing technology. That isn’t surprising, given the possibilities it creates for freeing our minds from the physical shackles of our body, and allowing us to “see” into places that only exist in the digital world.
In the digital world, the rules are different – objects can be conjured into being by simply describing them. Travel between destinations takes place in the blink of an eye. And any damage that you do can be undone with the press of a button.
All this makes virtual reality – and its sister tech, augmented reality, which I will be covering in a separate post soon – a powerful tool for business. So here is an overview of some fascinating ways it is already being used and some glimpses of what could be achieved in the future.
VR can impact every field of business
Much of the hype around the release of mainstream VR headsets last year focused on their potential for enhancing entertainment experiences. Uptake of VR in business, however, is forecast to outpace leisure use of the technology in coming years, with spending reaching 9.2bn by 2021 according to research from Tractica.
Just about any process that can be carried out in the physical world – and in business that would range from customer services to marketing, finance, HR and production – can be simulated in VR. In general, tasks that it can carry out can be split into one of two categories– training, or practical application.
For training purposes, VR offers the potential to immerse ourselves in any situation that can be simulated on a computer. Increasingly photorealistic visuals “trick” our brain into believing, to varying extents, that what we are seeing is real, allowing us to monitor, and learn from, our interactions. A great example is the public speaking training systems which have been devised using the tech, such as Oculus’s VirtualSpeech.
As for practical applications, they are virtually unlimited – key factors here are the potential for enabling humans to carry out tasks without being present (telepresence) and the possibilities for modelling and interacting with simulations of real-world objects that wouldn’t be feasible in real life.
Prototyping and design
In manufacturing and production-driven businesses, VR allows every characteristic of a part, process or mechanism to be simulated and tested. Performance or reliability can be tested and examined under any condition, far more cost-effectively, quickly and safely. Of course, there are usually up-front platforming and tooling costs. But increasingly these are likely to be mitigated by the arrival of VR-as-a-service (more on that in a bit.)