The media typically cover the topic of virtual reality (VR) from an entertainment perspective. In recent years, a variety of other stories have emerged as businesses began exploring the potential of using VR technology to capitalise on cost-saving opportunities.
VR, however, has a number of other uses that extend far beyond shifting stock or entertaining customers. As a matter of fact, the potential for VR across multiple sectors is huge – and we haven’t even scratched the surface yet. Tech giants Facebook, Google and Microsoft are already working on leveraging their respective platforms with immersive technologies. The writing is on the wall: companies that do not invest in immersive technologies risk losing out to rivals.
According to financial experts, the virtual reality industry is estimated to rake in $44.7bn in 2024 – a growth rate of 33.47% over the next four years. The current market pales in comparison at around £14bn. These estimates demonstrate just how highly valued VR technology is.
Do you want to know why?
Virtual Crime Scenes
The introduction of VR in courtrooms could prove to be critical for reconstructing crime scenes and providing jurors with visual evidence that creates a bigger picture than photographs and various exhibits.
In China, VR was used in a murder trial, but there are other potential user cases such as car accidents, personal injury claims and helping the memory recall of witnesses.
Immersive technologies will play a significant role in online shopping and enhancing customer experience in stores. Brands such as Top Shop, IKEA, Walmart and Sephora to name a few are already experimenting with VR and augmented reality.
VR and AR create 3D visual representations of products and experiences. VR, in particular, puts consumers at the centre of the experience and enables people to try-before-they-buy. With the introduction of virtual payment gateways, shoppers can enjoy the thrill of shopping from their own home.
VR use in Education
VR is scientifically proven to help people learn. Studies show that participants can improve memory recall accuracy by an average of 8.8 per cent. In the same study, 40 per cent of participants scored at least 10% higher in recall ability after wearing VR headsets.
The technology has other advantages or schools, colleges and universities; the content enables large groups to interact with each other, and using visuals helps to explain complex data in ways that are easier to digest.
VR technology is starting to creep into museums and provide visitors with experiences they could not even imagine. Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute was among the early adopters, launching a virtual reality experience in 2016 that enabled visitors to journey to the depths of the ocean, explore the cosmos or even see inside the human body.
Since then, a number of museums have introduced VR for visitors to experience driving a Ford GT40, time travel through history, and observe the journey of evolution in 3D.
Training soldiers for combat situations is expensive and can be dangerous – even without being in the line of enemy fire. Because VR simulations enable developers to replicate real-life scenarios in the virtual world, military division throughout the world are adopting VR to train the troops in a safe environment – and for less cost.
VR simulations not only train soldiers how to survive in a battlefield but also give them an opportunity to experience real-life battlefield conditions and perform tasks such as administering medical treatments, parachuting from an aeroplane or flying a fighter jet.
VR can also be used to help rehabilitate soldiers suffering from PTSD. The technology is also been used in the medical field to treat patients suffering from psychological conditions to help healthcare providers understand what triggers patients suffer from and put appropriate treatment in place.
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