What is virtual reality? Basically experiencing a new world while sitting on your couch! Virtual Reality or VR can be a software technology, tool or even an app which will give you realistic sounds, sensations or similar sensory experiences. However, Virtual Reality is much more than just few pictures, sounds and sensations. Unlike the name, it is already amongst us and we are using virtual reality some way or the other. The most common example is Facebook 360 Degree which allows you to take an entire 360 degree view. Amazing isn’t’ it? So let us have a look at some of the top fields which have seen tremendous growth after the introduction of Virtual Reality.
1.Virtual Reality in Military Training
Applications of Virtual Reality across military training are not new. Simulators were used in military environment as flight trainers. They helped soldiers train for combating situations. At present, virtual reality has found its most useful applicability in military training. A VRS (virtual reality simulation) helps soldiers face difficult situations without any risk of serious injury or death. A particular scenario (or training) can be enacted multiple times for better engagement and practice. VRS in military training has proven to be less costly, safer and more effective compared to traditional training techniques. Some of the most popular VRSs are flight simulation, medic training, vehicle simulation, virtual boot camps and battlefield simulations.
2.Virtual Reality in Tourism
With correct equipment, a person can travel to any destination across the globe without having to leave their home. Well, not in reality but virtually. Virtual reality can be a big opportunity for the tourism industry and those who clinch this opportunity first, will not only gain first hand control over their market, but will also become the first to connect with their customers at a superior level. VR will enable consumers in making best decisions regarding travel, which in turn, will make these customers brand ambassador of the company. It can be especially beneficial to places which are not on the top list in terms of recognition, but have a lot to offer to tourists. A virtual reality tour will give them enough confidence and interest to venture these places. Individuals in vacations or trips are immersed with their destination all the time, with unique and varied experiences. While this cannot be entirely replicated in VR, one can certainly gain an understanding & preview of what they are about to experience during actual visit. Sounds fun!
3.Virtual Reality in Films
Virtual Reality is a treat to the eyes. What can be a better application of VR than in films? No, we are not talking about scripts based on virtual reality. Using special software and VR tools, an individual will not only be watching a movie, but feel it literally. Virtually Reality allows an individual to view movies theatre-screen size just sitting in their living room. What more, if you are watching a 360 degree VR movie, it is possible to step inside the movie as well as become a part of the movie! For instance, the film ‘Jesus VR-The Story of Christ’ was recently released in the Venice Film festival. Filmed in VR 360 Degrees, the audience is placed at nativity and they are taken right through the resurrection. This film is a good way to say that ‘the future has arrived’.
4.Virtual Reality in Theme Parks
Virtual Reality in Theme Parks is the new offering from the world of Virtual Reality marvels. Since 2015, many theme parks across the globe have installed VR onto their roller coasters. Some of the top examples are Galactica (Alton Towers), New Revolution (Six Flags Magic Mountain) and Alpenexpress (Europark). These roller coaster rides provide heightened experiences to its visitors. Thanks to advanced virtual reality, park visitors will get much more than just a plain roller coaster ride. Instead, visitors will be playing roles as well as experiencing rides in an entirely new form (such as flying across with superman or jumping with Gorilla), blowing off their mind!
5.Virtual Reality in Retail
A recent article published in Forbes online said that Virtual Reality is going to save retail. Another article from Harvard proclaimed that VR and AR (Augmented Reality) will quickly reshape the retail industry. VR offers retailers an incredible opportunity to alter the way people shop. A customer can try out t-shirts without having to travel to a store. Another customer can order furniture on spot, being confident that the product will fit the house. Virtual Reality technology can be used for numerous benefits, reducing the pain points of the customer. It also elevates the overall customer service, creating a differentiated and unique personalised experience. Incorporation of virtual reality in retail models has a huge potential to change the manner in which retailers think out their stores’ future.
6.Virtual Reality in Marketing
Virtual Reality has been able to solve huge problems that marketers face in terms of engagement, awareness and consideration. This is because of four major benefits. First, it is immersive. Customers wearing headsets are totally immersed, which means lesser distractions as well as more focus towards the image. Second, it is impactful. The intensity a VR experience has is much more compared to traditional media. Third, it is memorable. Our brains remember events attached to locations, which gives VR experiences longevity in the memory of audience. And fourth, it is novel. Early adopters can hugely benefit from VR as it will create strong brand association with its audience. Some of the best uses of VR in marketing were by Santa’s VR Sleigh Ride from Coca Cola and Happy Meal (VR) Headset & Ski App from McDonald’s.
7.Virtual Reality in Therapy
Life is difficult for people suffering from anxiety, trauma and depression. The symptoms are mainly psychological, so pills and drugs do little. Also, these drugs and pills can cause severe side-effects and patients can become heavily dependent on them. In recent years, doctors have discovered a more effective and least harmful therapy method by using Virtual Reality Platforms. Research on patients being treated under VR suggests that they get permanent relief from their pain as well as triumph over their phobias or fear by immersing in computer-general environments. Such is the power of virtual reality. Some examples of this VR therapy which proves it can be soothing, relaxing and curing at the same time are, Bird & Ball Therapy (Here patients catches flying ball via their hands and the ball turns into bird). Another is Coconut therapy (Patients catch falling coconuts from trees while they move around).
8.Virtual Reality in Education
Education is considered to be another aspect where virtual reality has immense opportunity of growth and benefiting the society. It enables a large number of students interact with one another and within a 3-dimensional environment. Complex data is presented in such as way which is not only accessible but easy and fun to learn. Also, students are able to interact first hand with objects within the environment to learn and discover more. For instance, with VR, astronomy students will be able to learn about their solar system as well as its working by physically engaging with objects within. Students can see across stars, move planets and even track a comet’s progress. VR in educations helps students to understand the abstract concepts across a 3-dimensional environment as well as easily understand & retain them.
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