“At its very core, virtual reality is about being freed from the limitations of actual reality.”
– John Carmack, CTO of Oculus VR
Often times, innovation comes from places we least expect, and even when innovations sparks from predictable areas, the application of such innovations can go beyond our initial expectations. Virtual Reality (more commonly referred to as VR) has been around for decades, being developed in military, entertainment, and scientific fields, among others. More recently however, VR has begun to insert itself more in the mainstream with companies like Google and Facebook investing tens of millions of dollars in the new tech. Most of the public currently considers VR most prominent in the entertainment field with millions of units being used for video gaming and similar tech. But with the increasing popularity and technical capabilities of VR, non-entertainment businesses have begun to utilize the tech.
With immersion being a key factor in virtual reality, business minded innovators seek to employ this heightened immersion in ways that transcend typical forms of communication. Some see VR as a useful tool for marketing, providing the customer or coworker with a 360-degree view of an environment. Understanding this, businesses that deal in property, architecture, and similar fields have begun utilizing VR to display and market physical spaces in a more immersive and interactive ways. Most, including businesses unrelated to these fields, see marketing with VR as a way to eliminate outside distractions and keep the customer more actively engaged.
Others see VR as a potential upgrade to training and recruitment. Along the same lines of the marketing uses of VR, these innovators believe employee training in such fashion increases engagement and overall effectiveness. As opposed to PowerPoint or video conferencing, VR as a training tool would potentially allow the trainee a more interactive “feel” for the material they are trying to learn, as well as decrease distractions. Training in this fashion would be a more hands-on experience and better prepare future employees for the reality of their future work.
At its current state, the potential of VR for businesses seems endless. There may be a day soon, if not already, where certain businesses operate exclusively through VR, providing customers with a virtual storefront that can be entered remotely, among other things. Though the current high prices and competing technology may limit this as a permanent place in the mainstream, there is no telling what innovations in immersion may come next in the field of business and virtual reality.
Kelly D. Scott
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization