Virtual reality has long been a sci-fi staple, but we’re closer than ever to seeing VR becoming just as commonplace as our smartphones. It’s only been in the last several years that the idea of VR, 360-degree video, and augmented reality (AR) for more everyday use has really taken hold. We explore the business applications of such technology and why it pays to invest now.
Systems like Facebook’s Oculus, Sony’s Gear VR, the Microsoft Hololens, and more have dominated the VR space recently and brought the technology to individual consumers. However, it doesn’t come cheap – these systems cost hundreds of dollars, which has made their adoption slow. That’s where new VR centers like “The Void” come in. Customers pay a one-time fee to experience a virtual reality game that doesn’t tether them to chairs, allowing them to fully experience and move around in a virtual universe. Expect to see more concepts like these arise in 2017, as movie studios, theme parks, and others jump on board.
The business implications for these centers are also interesting to consider. The idea of customers shopping in a completely virtual store, digitally purchasing products they see through their headsets and having those products shipped directly to their homes, is not outlandish (in fact, Alibaba is aiming for just that).
Retailers and car brands are also experimenting with the use of virtual reality and 360-degree video to bring customers new ways to interact with their products. Last year, Ikea launched a virtual kitchen experience on the popular gaming app Steam that allows users to walk through several kitchen designs, changing cabinet and drawer colors with the click of a button. BMW has created virtual tours of vehicles, both inside and out, that customers can take on their smartphones using Google’s Tango technology.
Why is all of this important for your business? Virtual reality is poised to change the way consumers want to shop. While the applications are in early stages right now, these capabilities are only expected to grow in the coming years, and as research indicates, multiple demographics are excited to try VR. Experimenting now can help you decide what strategies best work for your business and consumers going forward. It’s an opportunity too great to ignore. If you’d like to learn more about virtual reality and 360-degree video capabilities, contact Launch Agency.