Virtual Reality – Past, Present & Future
When you consider that we have developed the capabilities to enjoy a technologically created, virtual world you begin to realize how far we have really come. Yet, Virtual Reality has been something that has enjoyed as many fails as it has successes and it is still something that hasn’t fully caught on in the mainstream world.
However, the latest developments in VR offer hope across many fields; from architecture to medicine and education to retail. There is nothing that can’t be created in VR with enough time and tech and so we thought it would be a great idea to take you, in collaboration with BetMGM, on a VR journey across time and into the future.
Virtual Reality Technology – What is it?
VR Industry Overview
VR in the Present
How VR Can Make Shopping More Inclusive
VR in the Fitness Industry
VR in the Travel Industry
VR in the Gaming Industry
VR in the Engineering Industry
VR in the Gambling Industry
VR in the Photography Industry
VR in Science
VR in Web Development
VR in Art
VR in Architecture
VR in Education
VR in the Future
VR Tech Forecasts
Virtual Reality Technology is the software and hardware that makes up the VR world in its entirety. VR was developed with the idea of allowing people to experience the world in a totally new and harmless way and give a range of industries and interests new life with the technology on offer.
VR technology is no longer just the domain of serious gamers and the rise in sales of VR headsets so that it is slowly becoming a mainstream interest. Imagine being able to visit anywhere in the world without even leaving your front room or trailblazing a new medical procedure without needing to try it on patients until you were happy you could actually complete it successfully.
VR has the power to change the world as we know it but has been slow to get off the ground as it is an expensive investment that takes years of development and evolution. However, as there is more mainstream interest now there is more money being spent on it which means we should expect to see new developments much quicker as time goes on.
VR software has been around for over twenty-five years and whilst it has grown and developed the concept of VR has not changed much from its inception.
The reasons behind the use of VR software are wide and far-reaching and offer a range of great options to a wide range of industries. Some of the main reasons for using VR software are:
- To give a user an immersive experience, so that they can really feel like there are there. This is great for the travel industry as well as gamers, medics, and education. It opens up the entire world to everyone.
- Developing education as it allows students to try out a process safely and see the results of their work without having to just listen to a teacher guiding them a hypothetical process.
- Helping science to move forward and giving medical professionals and scientists the scope to try out new ideas without needing to test them on people, animals or objects.
It can take many years to successfully pitch and then develop new software and VR developers are a new breed so the research and development phase of any new software will take much longer and cost much more.
The average price of developing a new VR app can be up to $60,000 whereas a VR game can skyrocket to around $200,000 to get the initial software for the game up and running.
There is absolutely no point in developing new software if the hardware isn’t up to scratch. VR Hardware comes in many shapes and forms; VR headsets and 360-degree cameras have been created to allow the user to engage with the VR world.
VR Headsets sit on the head of a VR user to help immerse the viewer. The cameras give off separate images to each eye and the images are shown from different perspectives to trick the brain; this is called stereo projection. VR headsets come in a range of budget options, the cheap Google Cardboard to the Oculus, HTC, PS, and other high-value headsets are all on the mainstream market and can be linked to your computer or device for VR use.
360-degree cameras are known as omnidirectional cameras and they work to create 360 images that can be made into 360 videos. The Google Cardboard allows users to watch the 360 videos by viewing them via the headset and thus getting a VR experience at a much cheaper rate than buying into VR games.
Many devices have been created to help users interact when in their chosen virtual world; gloves, motion controllers, guns and even sex toys are all available to enhance the VR experience.
Users hook up the devices to their computers or gaming devices and link them to the VR headset software so that they can extend the range of their VR experience by including areas such as limb movement and optical tracking capabilities.
This allows the VR experience to become fully immersive and is one of the main reasons that it is becoming more popular for users as they can feel fully transported into another world.
To access VR, people use VR applications. The most obvious VR niche is the gaming world and VR has slowly garnered more and more interest since the 1990s with gaming applications becoming more sophisticated and popular with VR headset owners.
The gaming industry is not the only area that utilizes VR applications to engage audiences. Scientists, medics and educators are all harnessing the power of VR and developing apps to support their specific industries.
Medical apps have recreated theatres so that trainee surgeons can practice without the need for humans to test on and the apps can also simulate workspaces so that medics can undertake training in areas that they may not get access to until they are qualified.
Educators have created apps that allow students to explore the world from the classroom and give them the opportunities to engage with things that until now have only been spoken about by teachers. Classroom VR apps are slowly revolutionizing the classroom space and children can experience the VR world first-hand when they may not have the funds to access it through their own VR headset at home.
It’s clear that the components of Virtual Reality Technology have all been created to allow humans the chance to experience things, locations and moments that they may never be able to recreate in reality and this is what makes VR so special.
You’d be forgiven for believing that the VR industry is the same as the gaming industry because this is where the majority of money is spent but it is much wider-reaching than this! VR is everywhere and lots of industries are utilizing it for a myriad of reasons. Here we take you through some of the industries that are engaging with VR and share with you what their purpose for using VR is.
Retail has been slow to decide how best to use VR but it is gathering speed with both online VR shopping experiences and in-store VR. Some big-name fashion icons are getting on board, such as Karen Millen’s virtual store that was open for a short time and allowed people to buy items through VR. Other retailers like Swarovski have also dabbled in creating online stores for people to spend their hard-earned cash in.
Fitness is an industry that has clear benefits for VR and companies are enjoying being able to make workouts that people can do with a VR headset. One of the greatest benefits is the ability of the software to track if you are completing each specific exercise properly and give you feedback immediately, both verbally and through haptics. VR fitness can come in a variety of forms and people can shed weight through gaming in VR as well as undertaking fitness routines; with VR, fitness no longer needs to be a chore.
Travel industry experts are harnessing the power of VR to allow consumers to try before they buy and by allowing people to understand the area, local highlights and key facts it is making more money for the industry than ever before. Many developers have come up with VR tours of hotels, flights, and destinations so that people can decide if they are choosing the right place for their vacation. There is even a VR interface that can be used to book your next flight or hotel so that you don’t get stuck in front of the computer with no idea of what you are booking.
Gaming is one of the fastest-growing areas for VR and developers are working hard to keep up with the latest demand for new gaming experiences. Some of the biggest names in the industry fund the development of VR and it is this work that is helping to pioneer VR in other areas too. The gaming industry made $3.6 billion in revenue back in 2018 and this is projected to soar to $30.6 billion by the end of 2021!
Gambling online has been due to an online upgrade and with VR people can now visit an online casino for a fully immersive experience. By offering online casinos, gambling businesses can access more players and avoid gambling hacks that are often tried in real life. They are also bringing in people new to gambling who were nervous to visit a real casino for fear of not understanding the rules. VR gambling is a learning experience that can then become a customizable gambling experience that meets a user’s needs.
Photography is one industry that has been turned completely on its head with the VR revolution. Rather than taking one perfectly curated image, photographers can now create stunning panoramas and curate 360-degree virtual tours. Rather than printing images and storing them in a dusty old box in your closet, VR photography can be enjoyed whenever you want by donning a headset and then stored in a cloud. This is great for VR photographers who can sell their skills to any industry that wants to market a product.
Science lends itself perfectly to VR as it is an area that is based on discovery, just as VR is slowly improving and growing in popularity. It’s an industry that has never been so popular with graduates and it is clear that science is the way forward in learning about the world. VR is being used in science for a wide range of reasons; conducting experiments without the need for chemicals allows scientists to try things they have been unable to try before or as a 3D microscope to really get to grips with what is happening with the matter on each slide.
Art is seen as a leisure activity and getting to see some of the most famous and beautiful works of art is an expensive hobby and can take lots of queuing to even get a glimpse. VR can be used to allow users to get up close to their favorite piece of art whenever they want, from wherever they are. Maybe the most exciting part of VR art is the artists that are using it to create their own art; sensory experiences that have been specifically curated for people to consider what the artist is trying to convey.
Architecture has long been an industry that strives to use the latest technology to design structures. Initially being a pen and paper exercise, it moved to using computer design software and now some firms are using VR to check their designs and present them to potential clients. This is a logical step as clients can really get to grips with what their structure will look like when finished, rather than trying to understand a set of complex blueprints.
Education experts recognize the importance of VR for learning and have seen a rise in the use of VR across educational establishments that want to give students hands-on experiences with learning that has traditionally come from within textbooks. It has been successfully used in schools from elementary and beyond. Experiments, theatre visits, world travels, and many more opportunities are just some of the doors that have been opened for students, helping them to understand the world they inhabit and the work that needs to be done to protect life as we know it.
Logically, all areas of industry want to engage with VR when it offers so much and pulls consumers in. The balance that needs to be considered is between offering excellence both virtually and in reality, so that standards are kept high and people get true value for money.
You’d be forgiven for believing that VR is a modern and new technology but it has a history that can be backdated to well over two hundred years ago when photography was born and scientists created the twin mirrored stereoscope that delivered a sole image to users. Sound like a tenuous link? Not really, when you consider that VR is the practice of delivering two images to you to produce the VE effect.
Research was done from the 1950s onwards to help develop a system in which a 3D world could be created to help people see things that were not easily experienced and it became the domain of medicine, engineering, and aeronautics as a training device until a computer scientist called Jaron Lanier made it his mission to make it mainstream in the 1980s.
One of the key moments before Lanier’s work was the creation of the Sensorama which was created by Morton Heilig. The notion of the Sensorama was to allow users to travel through a city on a motorbike, feeling like they were Hollywood stars. The Sensorama was aptly named as it allowed you to sense everything about a motorcycle journey and people loved it!
Heilig went on to then design what could be classed as the first VR headset with the Telesphere Mask. However, it did not become what Heilig dreamed of and was left in its design phase, although many later technology experts took Heilig’s research as a basis for their work and it helped to push the world of virtual reality forward.
5 years later, Ivan Sutherland released a piece of head-mounted equipment that would allow people to see into a virtual world. He wrote extensively on virtual worlds and was keen to see the technology move forward to create pockets of virtual reality that people could enjoy and utilize to understand the real world better.
By the time the 80s rolled around people were keen to see more use of virtual worlds to promote learning. NASA took haptics to a new level by creating the VIEW system that delivered feedback through a head device and gloves.
VR as we know it was born back in the 80s when Lanier and Thomas Zimmerman opened VPL Research. Their mission was to create VR products for sale to mass audiences and their company produced items like the DataGlove, AudioSphere and the EyePhone.
They also are credited with the development of the Nintendo Power Glove which was released back in 1989. The glove allowed users to use the traditional controls as well as hand motions that enable them to control what was happening on the screen but it was incredibly difficult to use and so it never took off in the way it was expected to. It may seem ridiculous now but these inventions were the beginning of what we now know VR to be!
By the 1990s VR was out of the bag and development of mainstream access had been taken up large gaming companies like Sega who wanted to bring VR to everyday gaming. The Sega VR headset had the capability to track and respond to the movement of the gamer’s head and included headphones and sensors that would allow gamers to get a real sense of being encased in their own virtual world. Unfortunately, they never released the system, claiming it was too realistic and so would be dangerous for gamers to use.
As well as gaming, NASA was keen to utilize the virtual world for space work and the famous Mars Robot was driven using a VR system that was invented by a NASA scientist called Antonio Medina. The system was named the Computer Simulated Teleoperation and was successful despite the lag in time via computer signals.
By 1994, Sega was ready to offer the world the VR-1 their answer to an arcade machine that had motion simulator capabilities. Alongside this, CyberMaxx was released by VictorMaxx; a VR headset that ultimately led to the closure of the company due to its lack of public interest as it cost so much!
By the end of the decade, VR had been used to help with PTSD sufferers by providing exposure therapy and Linden Lab had been formed; the company that would later release a program called Second Life, a virtual world that users access online.
Interestingly, VR was seen as a waste of time in the early 2000s and not much happened to drive it forward. There was a real lack of investment and the public didn’t believe it was much more than a gimmick that had past its due date.
It took until 2010 to gather new interest and Google used the stereoscope to create 3D Street View. It was typical to see the google car driving around, taking multiple images of areas for use on the application and it was seen on the news for capturing people in some compromising positions!
Also in 2010, an unknown 18-year-old called Palmer Luckey created a prototype of what we now know as the Oculus Rift and with the brand new 90-degree field of vision people began to see that VR had much more left to explore; the VR torch had been relit!
2012 came and Luckey used Kickstarter to raise $2.4 million so that he could produce the Rift for a mass audience. It excited the gaming world beyond belief and then Facebook bought Oculus VR for $2 billion. It was this moment that meant VR could grow as it had the backing of such a massive technology company.
Soon after, other tech companies got on the bandwagon and PlayStation announced they would be creating their version of a VR headset, Google released Cardboard as an alternative and cheap version that allowed people to experience it directly from their smartphone and Samsung announced the Gear VR headset.
Today we are used to seeing VR in everyday use and within the media; it has had a huge backing and interest is still growing but the development is not as quick as people may think it has been. In terms of technology, the developments have been few and far between since Luckey designed the Rift and the new market items are mainly versions of things that have already been created.
However slow the process is, the demand for VR is still out there and people want more than just VR gaming options – we cannot wait to see if it ever does become an affordable and popular method of interacting with the world for the masses!
When you consider how far VR has come since its inception, you’d be forgiven for believing most of the developments have only happened in the gaming industry. You’d be wrong, as whilst it is a universally acknowledged fact that the gaming industry has access to lots of cash for development, other areas have also progressed their areas to incorporate quality use of VR to aid them and consumers when accessing them.
By taking you through the biggest VR offerings on today’s market you will get to be amazed at how much virtual reality has become an expected part of life as you know it and the benefits of this amazing technology have far-reaching implications for the world.
Virtual shopping may seem crazy but it is picking up traction and consumers are becoming interested in the way that VR can be used to make their lives easier and shopping more entertaining. In a world saturated with materialistic purchasing, stores are looking to VR to help set them apart from the competition and offer new and innovative shopping experiences, but has it worked?
Retail is an area that can benefit massively from virtual reality so it is quite surprising that it has been a slow burner so far. The notion of putting on a headset and browsing through your favorite brands is appealing and consumers are already moving away from the high street. We took you through what is on offer when we previously discussed Shopping in VR but understanding where we are will help us all see what the future looks like for VR retail – we think it’s bright!
What Does VR Look Like Currently in Retail
Interestingly, the VR that is currently available in retail is not all focused on creating online stores where customers can spend their money although this is one facet. Retail is savvy when it comes to using VR to market products and even show consumers where their products have come from or
how their purchases are changing the wider world.
It’s abundantly clear that to shake up an industry that is booming online that something new needs to be introduced. However, to convince consumers to engage with it must be something they believe they cannot live without and so far, VR has not been able to do this.
Consumers tend to like to see things in person, touch them and try them before they will commit to buying them. VR will allow you to experience a virtual shop and but the haptics doesn’t replace what you actually feel when you engage with an item and the development of software that can give you a believable experience is nowhere near where it needs to be for that.
However, we can’t write off the value that VR has already offered in retail and lots of retailers are using mixed options for consumers so that they can really get the best of both worlds. Rather than expecting customers to swap the way they currently shop; stores are offering VR as an add-on that complements their typical experience.
Picture going into your favorite store and being able to track the journey of your item via VR or see how it has been manufactured. Imagine looking at a clothing range for a high street fashion store and being able to select sizes and colors before checking out.
These may seem like futurist opportunities but they have already been put into practice and people have engaged with them. The reality of VR in retail is that it is being used, just not on a wide scale and more for novelty than a genuine push to change the face of shopping.
Who Brought You VR Retail?
Many big names have worked hard to incorporate the use of VR into their stores; Karen Millen, Toms, eBay, and Alibaba have all dabbled in VR to give their customers a different shopping experience.
What they all have in common is a large purse and money in it to spend. Karen Millen’s flagship store went into a VR world where customers could browse and order. Toms took you on a journey to see their staff handing out Toms shoes, purchased by their US customers.
Alibaba even created a store that could be browsed around but also consumers were able to take a taxi to the department store and were shown around part of New York on their journey. The possibilities are endless and it is good to see these retail giants putting money into the development of VR.
The Best Names in VR Retail
Some of the best VR and AR options out there are offered for functional reasons and to allow consumers to consider their purchases before making them. We want to share some of the biggest names in retail that are embracing VR as a sales technique.
Obsess is a virtual reality shopping platform that aims to offer a complete shopping experience within their app. Rather than keeping the market closed to their own items they have a platform that brands can sign up to and then convert their stores to virtual experiences.
IKEA is another retail giant that has bought into the AR and VR worlds with apps that allow you to check out items within the room you want to place them in and furniture scaling so that you don’t need to worry about the fit. They are keen to make their products as accessible and have stated that they recognize the value VR and AR can bring if used well.
GAP has shared that they know one of the biggest things that stops people from purchasing from them is having to go into a changing room and try something on when they may not feel comfortable doing so. The other issue clothes stores face is that every time an item is returned, they must go through a huge process of cleaning, repairing and repacking items ready to resell them.
Rather than encouraging serial returning, GAP created a VR fitting room so that you can select an item to try and scroll through the color and fit options so that you can be certain the item you want will look as good on you as it does on the hanger.
Why VR Retail is Great
Rather than focusing on why VR isn’t yet a mainstream option, it is important to recognize how VR retail is shaping the future of sales. There are so many great features of VR but these are our top reasons that make VR retail great:
- Showing consumers the journey their item has been on or the manufacturing process allows people to see the level of work that goes into buying items and renews the value people place on their belongings in a world that is currently incredibly materialistic. It also allows people to consider the ecological impact they have when deciding to purchase a new item.
- Allowing consumers to see the good work that is done because of their money is also a powerful tool and gives consumers that feel-good emotion they are craving. Watching a child put on a pair of shoes that your purchase made happen helps to validate a consumer’s desire to purchase an item.
- Offering ‘try before you buy’ opportunities lets the consumer take full control of their spending and allows them to decide if they really want or need the item that they were considering.
- In-store VR helps to garner interest in a product and people love to get whipped up in the excitement which then converts into sales.
- People who cannot always access shops can still purchase what they want independently and this allows them to maintain their own financial status and have access to what they want when they want it.
The Downsides of VR Retail
Currently, the biggest issue with VR in retail is the lack of development and the lack of use. It’s a situation where it’s difficult to work out which one is causing the other. Are we not getting retail VR experiences because the development hasn’t happened or because we do not have a demand for it to be developed?
As with anything technological; it’s great when it works but it is a real issue for retail when it fails. How are retailers meant to protect themselves against the costs of replacing damaged and faulty equipment, software that doesn’t work or the training that is required to enable them to use it as a viable option and all of that doesn’t even begin to consider paying developers to create what they need in the first place!
It’s not a shock that VR developers can charge high prices as there are so few of them on the market needing work making the demand much higher than the supply. This equation is the nightmare of retailers and until the price for VR development drops, we don’t envisage it growing rapidly in the retail market.
Any successful retail business is based on income and the cost of updating VR as it evolves is just too much for some sellers. Therefore, many stores redouble their efforts in the physical space they have and their websites to attract customers when they wait for VR to catch up and be a cost-effective business option.
Stores, department stores, supermarkets, malls. They all have one thing in common – they are designed to draw in as many customers as possible. This is great for businesses but not great for all people. For a variety of reasons many people cannot, or struggle to, go out shopping.
There are other ways that people can buy what they need such as asking friends and family but this takes away a person’s independence and ability to browse and choose for themselves. In an ideal world, everyone would be able to access a store as it is widely acknowledged that we tend to spend more than we planned for after seeing all the great options that are on the market
Technology has played a huge part in allowing people who can’t, or don’t like to, visit busy stores to buy their own products. Online shopping is great and delivery directly to your door is perfect but something is missing when you just look at a 2D picture of a product on a screen.
Virtual reality has the potential to bring products to life and allow people to experience them as much as possible without heading out to the store to see them. Imagine if you suffered with crippling anxiety and yet still wanted to select a special gift or a new dress; popping on a VR headset and taking a look at a store inventory could help you get what you need whilst remaining in control.
With some VR apps, you can even upload your body measurements so that you can configure clothing options to see how they would really look on you before purchasing. This is a great choice and if you have physical disabilities it could save you from the hassle of being pushed and shoved in your local mall.
Mobility companies are trialing the use of VR to see if their products can be made into an online store that people who need to consider mobility modifications can look at them and then place them within their own rooms to get a sense of what the equipment will look like. Just because someone may have a disability, they still have the right to choose what they buy and VR could help redress the balance in equality and access.
Virtual Reality Retail Isn’t Just an Online Experience
It makes sense that virtual reality is used for online shopping but this isn’t the only place that you can find yourself immersed in a virtual world when it comes to retail. Virtual reality has been used in stores to give customers a new type of experience.
By going into a store a retailer has a captive audience and it is a great chance for them to increase their sales by hooking you into a product they want to push. Cue VR; by making something exciting and engaging it is obvious that more people will want to buy it and when you can convert a small purchase into a much larger one then you are reaching retailer goals!
For example, when a VR installation was placed in EE’s flagship London store and it allowed customers to watch a real sports match in VR. Keeping bodies in the store, engaging customers with the benefits of VR and ultimately creating an exciting buzz that drew more people in off the streets. It cost the store very little to set up the installation but they reported a 75% increase in sales. Proof that using VR in real-life stores is a great way to drive up the sales figures.
The fitness industry makes around $94 billion per year and it makes sense that an industry that is booming would want to utilize new and exciting technologies, like VR. We have previously discussed the Health and Medicine fields and how VR is developing them as well as fitness in VR but we felt it was important to take that a step further and look at how VR can help us keep healthy before we need to access care.
It’s also widely recognized that the US population needs more help with the obesity crisis growing and people leading more sedentary lives than ever before. However, when we consider technology, we often associate it with inactively and negatively impacting our health, so how is it possible that VR could be a viable contender in this market and how will it help people address their health and fitness needs?
Some VR fans claim that just playing with VR rather than being sat at a computer is better for them than ever but critics have said that this does not go far enough to solve the frightening future of health in America. That’s where VR fitness comes in; taking a computer program and adapting it to allow people to get fit while having fun. It can transport users to stunning places or ultra-modern gyms but does it have what it takes to help shift the nation’s lack of fitness and turn us all into healthy, active people?
What Does VR Look Like Currently in Fitness?
VR personal trainers, workouts and gyms are all realities when it comes to using VR to get fit but there are so many different options that newbies are likely to get confused; a problem people have when considering taking on a new exercise in real life too!
Imagine having your own personal trainer to guide you through your stats and what to do each time you are ready for a workout. Applications like Black Box offer that in abundance. From measuring you up to providing you with a full and varied workout for your specific needs. Your personal trainer will work with you to ensure you stick to your goals and coach you when the going gets tough. However, no matter how great it is, users will still be situated in a virtual gym and this puts some people off.
There are many other options for fitness in the VR world and many games have been produced to take this into account. Some games focus on ramping up arm and leg movements so that you are naturally getting conditioned whilst playing but that hope to provide an experience so fun that you won’t notice yourself getting fit.
Some games take you to your typical fitness classes and you can complete Yoga, Zumba, Pilates and many more with the added help of VR to monitor how successfully you are moving and providing you with feedback on how to improve your stance and positioning.
Where Did VR Fitness Come From?
We can all hark back to the days of the Wii Fit revolution but the introduction of gaming for fitness has changed the landscape of technology forever. There were many offering s before the Wii Fit that got people up and moving but Nintendo was the first company to brand their game as a fitness solution and sell the accessories needed to get fit with tech.
Whilst no-one VR company introduced the concept of getting fit with VR they all would claim that their game or application is the perfect companion for someone that wants to get ripped. The invention of the Oculus Rift meant the people could get on with exercise whilst enjoying looking at something different and people tend to use VR as an escape rather than as a way to replicate everyday life.
VR fitness as a genre has been growing in popularity and now there are accessories that you can get hold of to help improve your performance; from weight vests to heart monitors that work to tell you how well you are doing. People who do not want to access mainstream fitness classes, cannot access real gyms or those who want to game and get fit at the same time are all prime candidates for using VR to change their bodies.
The Best Names in VR Fitness
One of the best names currently in VR fitness is the self-appointed Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise. Back in 2017, a group of professionals founded the institute in a bid to publish real stats surrounding the benefits and pitfalls of VR fitness. By knowing the calorie impact of each exercise on the VR platform, people can track their progress and know the levels of work they have completed.
They claim to look into VR fitness gaming and provide members of the public with up to date statistics that link directly to the exercise undertaken. They have even published a calorie-burning breakdown on their webpage so that you can find out how many calories you will burn per minute of VR exercise. The institute work to keep up to date on all new findings in the VR health and fitness world and recognize that technology can bring many benefits to our lives.
The institute also advocates on behalf of technology; suggesting that VR gaming comes with a pre-disposed negative reputation. They want to work that reputation back into the good books of the American people so that the benefits of VR fitness can be shared far and wide.
Any VR game can be submitted for evaluation and when you look into ratings you will find that they tell you the calories you will burn each minute when playing that game.
Why VR Fitness is Great
Many VR fans claim that they have shed many pounds and increased the size of their muscles by engaging with fitness apps in VR. However, we think the accidental fitness solutions are some of the best on the market as people can enter a virtual gaming world and come out having had raised their heart rate and burned calories.
Our main reasons for loving VR fitness are:
- It is an effective form of fitness and like any other program, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. We can all engage half-heartedly with any fitness regime but when you are really enjoying what is happening on your screen you are more likely to put more into it than if you are in a gym that makes you feel self-conscious.
- Traditional games can give you a good workout and it is considered that 30% of what is already on the market will help you to get fit so that you don’t need to buy fitness-specific games and can continue enjoying them as you already are. Check the Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise to find out how good your favorite game is at keeping you fit.
- Fitness experts are telling us how great it is; this means that it is not just a fad and can actually have some real fitness benefits for you. It’s great as the fitness world is actively encouraging people to engage with VR technology so long as your game pushes you into the fat-burning zone!
The Best VR Fitness Companies
With any revolution, you need the ringleaders to push you through and currently, some fantastic companies want to move VR fitness forward so that everyone can benefit from a more active life.
Mayweather Boxing is one company that has taken VR and created a training routine that is centered around Floyd Mayweather. People can go through the regular boxing drills on the speed bag and heavy bag on their journey to fitness and enjoy being coached by Mayweather himself. When you get a bit complacent you can challenge virtual opponents to see how well you have learned the tools of the trade. The company claims you can burn up to 300 calories per session – all from behind a headset!
Icaros is a German company that has created a machine for people to use alongside their training program and the great thing about this is that you can get a full-body workout and improve your balance and concentration. The program takes you through various scenes from land, air, and sea to help you get fit and healthy.
YUR is a bit different as they offer a tracker that tells you how you are performing on any game in any genre. The tech is a modification pack for games that will provide you with your fitness statistics so that you can work out how well you have performed each time you play something. This VR fitness tracker has become incredibly popular with VR users and the company is committed to developing it as much as possible.
What these companies and many more have in common is the ability to help people engage with fitness even when they don’t realize they are. By making fitness work alongside current games or making games that include fitness it seems that audiences are more likely to want to engage and benefit from this revolution.
The Downsides of VR Fitness
As with every positive, there is a negative and VR fitness is no exception. The benefits are obvious but when you consider the isolation VR brings, we are then encouraging people to workout alone and without the expertise of real trainers whose insight could make us even better.
People worry about the increase of dependency on computers and VR fitness is the next big thing to be modified but can it replace gyms, PTs and exercise classes that people currently use as escape? There are some calls to create VR classes that are multiplayer so that a real trainer can lead the group and people can interact with other classmates without needing to leave their home – this is a possible solution to bridge the gap between the two worlds.
The other big concern about VR fitness is how people with genuine health needs will be accountable. Human beings are great at cheating the system and it is easier for them to be held accountable if they are having to physically go and engage with a class or a gym session.
VR fitness does not know when someone isn’t giving 100% or if they have just found an easy way to complete something that should burn calories. Accountability is down to the individual and if you are someone that struggles with fitness then you’d be forgiven for trying to find ways to avoid it!
VR fitness is widely accepted as an add on rather than the only option for people who want to get fit and counting the fun you can have on VR with the fun you can have in a real-life fitness session seems to be the best way of avoiding cheating and maximizing output.
Does the Fitness Industry Need VR to Survive?
The fitness industry has been around for a long time and the notion of keeping fit and being your best self is promoted everywhere you look so whilst the fitness industry will always survive without VR it could be enhanced with it.
Rather than worrying about the survival of a niche that will always be needed it may be worth considering whether the area will be more accessible to people who currently avoid it and that seems to be the crux of the matter.
People are far more likely to engage with something if it uses their interests and so sedentary people who love gaming and tech will probably be far more willing to exercise using these areas then they would be when entering a gym.
Fitness should be accessible for all and VR fitness is just another way to engage with people so we hope that the interest in it continues to climb and people get fitter having fun.
If you are keen to travel but aren’t able to or you don’t know where you want to go then the VR travel industry may be able to offer you the opportunities to explore the world as you’ve never seen before. You may have read our previous article on VR and tourism but we wanted to take it one step further and consider exactly where VR is when it comes to travel today.
VR in travel can offer many different solutions; from helping you with the planning arrangements, searching for appropriate destinations, booking your flights and accommodation or giving you an alternative to travel when there are places, you’d love to go but can’t access. The world is no longer a huge place and VR is helping to shrink it further, making it more accessible to anyone with a desire to find out about new places and people.
We have taken each section of this diverse industry and analyzed what it is already offering. Whilst VR travel destinations seem to be a thing of the future, there are already many VR options to help you make traveling easier and allowing you the freedom to choose exactly what you want.
What Does VR Look Like Currently in Travel?
The travel industry brings in lots of your hard-earned cash every year and with profit margins being squeezed, companies are looking for ways to capture potential holidaymaker interest without the need to employ more staff.
When you are looking for accommodation in a travel brochure you are only able to see a couple of small pictures and if you are considering spending lots of money you are right to demand more information. Virtual tours of hotels are the answer to this and most hotels now offer them as a way to show potential customers the rooms and facilities on offer.
If you want to see if the bar has a big table because you are traveling in a group then a virtual tour can show you. Likewise, if you want somewhere for an intimate dinner or a luxurious room then take a look at a 360-degree view, you’ll be amazed at how much you can plan when you know what the accommodation looks like.
VR also helps to bring you to your destination before you’ve even set foot out of the house by showing you landmarks that have signed up for VR tours or by giving you information on an area in the most up to date way via a virtual travel agent. You can take the VR media offerings and put together your own collection of information on your destination as there are many outlets that provide information on travel.
One of the most innovative ways that VR can help when organizing travel is via a virtual booking interface. Seeing up to date flights and choosing seats on a plane alongside picking out hotels and excursions is all made possible with VR. When you have created the perfect package you can even check out the destination to make sure that it is exactly what you want it to be and whilst some may say that this takes away the element of surprise we think it gives tourists control over their vacation like never before.
The Best Names in VR Travel
Discovery TRVLR has produced a travel documentary series all in VR that allows audiences to visit every continent and lets tourists learn all about the world. You can enjoy adventurous escapades like flying an airplane or caving, visit local communities to learn about their lives or even see endangered species and find out what local people are doing to help save them.
The Wild Within in Canada, BC have used VR to allow visitors to get a sense of how expansive the area is and all the possible locations within BC that you can visit. It lets people work out which parts they want to go to without wasting any time on places that don’t take their interest.
Marriott has introduced VR into some of their hotels across the globe and it allows guests to use VRoom Service; a system that transports people to the corners of the globe, seeing what each destination has to offer.
Royal Caribbean cruises have used VR in two different ways. Firstly, to allow customers to test drive a cruise experience on land so that they know what they are going to experience and secondly, onboard to detail the facilities and entertainment options open to guests on holiday.
The impact of allowing customers to try out a holiday in VR before actually going has seen sales increase dramatically. The logic behind the increase is that people know what to expect and get excited when they are immersed in the VR world so they are far more likely to pay for an expensive cruise.
There are so many exciting uses of VR in travel that customers should be desperate to get going on vacation! From the VR windows on Eurostar to the helicopter ride to the North Pile by Quark Expeditions, you can really try it all out and get to see places that you may have only ever dreamed about before.
The Benefits for Businesses
It is believed that over 50% of people interested in VR want to see more travel applications rather than games. This is a huge indication in the support that the travel industry has from people across the globe and has the potential to see VR being used for more than just online recreation. When you have a tool as powerful as VR it is important to see it develop across many different areas and the travel industry is one key area that can help to grow VR into a tool that is used in every walk of life.
If consumers have access to more than a brochure and pictures of destinations then it’s infinitely more likely that they will purchase a vacation. By offering in-store VR setups, businesses can show consumers exactly what they will be getting and steer them to making profitable choices. By using VR in this way both consumers and businesses will benefit no end and profit margins will increase.
Another benefit to businesses is the ability to quality check the companies they are working with. VR tours and expeditions can be monitored and travel agents can get feedback from tourists to make sure what is shown is what they get.
When companies don’t provide what they claim to then it allows other new and exciting hotels and tours to take their place, keeping the market open to real competition and giving consumers value for money.
The Downsides of VR Travel
One of the biggest issues is that what is currently on offer is purely experimental. The travel industry does not currently see VR as a priority and so the money is not available to really develop the VR service.
Not all travel companies want to engage with VR at this point in time and so VR coverage is patchy and often used as a gimmick rather than a viable alternative to real travel. Travel companies need time to consider how VR can be successfully integrated into their plans for the future and then discussed with consumers to ensure the focus they want to take it of interest to potential customers.
In order to create an in-depth visit to an online destination, there is a requirement to get people to visit each area and take the images needed to create the VR. This is not only expensive but hugely time-consuming. The travel industry cannot afford to photo every inch of the world and so far, only a select number of places have been turned into VR destinations.
The most obvious downside to VR travel is that you never actually get to visit the place you want to go to. It’s one thing to be able to see if beforehand to help with planning and selecting what you want to do but if a person visits a place via VR rather than in reality, they will never get to know what it feels like in real life.
VR is evolving into something that is capable of offering really great experiences but the pleasure you get from getting away from home for a vacation will be lost if you leave all your travel arrangements to VR.
How VR Can Make Travel More Inclusive?
People who need to have additional services to support their needs may really benefit from the increased usage of VR in the travel industry. Imagine being too anxious about what will happen or having specific physical needs that are complicated to sort travel for without being able to see what you are getting when you book onto a holiday, plane or excursion.
One way it will help is through allowing people to see a real overview of the hotels, bookings service and even an actual travel experience rating from other people of the place that they would like to go to. Meaning that they can ensure their requirements are fully met throughout the booking process so that there are no nasty surprises when they arrive.
It is also possible for VR to be used to show the layout of places tourists may want to visit or even see the layout of their hotel room so they know where they will be sleeping. This capability will be significant when supporting people who suffer from anxiety about anything out of their daily sphere and whilst some critics may say it will ruin the surprise, it may be the reason that reluctant tourists can actually get to enjoy a holiday.
Fear of flying is a well-known need and it is possible to use VR to help overcome this fear. Flight simulators have long been used as part of flight training but are now being used to help passengers who struggle to get on board a plane.
There are full VR courses with companies like EasyJet that you can take that offer you flight safety information as well as sharing all the information about airplanes anyone who nervous may need. The end of the course sees users taking two virtual flights before they can then take a real flight. The results are amazing and VR is helping get people who never dreamt of flying up in the skies.
Does the Travel Industry Need VR to Survive?
There have been so many theories as to what exactly will happen to the actual travel industry once VR becomes a mainstream option and many people believe that it will be used to change the direction that travel is going in. However, people will always want to travel and need to get to other places so VR may help tourism but it won’t stop the requirement we have to get around.
With the pressures on improving the environment, people are having to reconsider extensive travel and VR could fit well to offer other opportunities that mean people can visit places without having to step outside of their front door.
It is fair to say that in the future, the fate of the effectiveness of the traveling industry might have to lie with VR technology. It may not replace, but many of the functions will have to be based on what technology available to give travelers the best experience possible. VR installations in airports, on flights and in holiday destinations could all add another dimension to traveling and allow travelers to see a place in all its glory.
We know that many VR engineers are working to boost the effectiveness of the VR hardware and software that is currently on the market. One of the key parts that could persuade people to engage more fully with VR travel could be the ability to feel the climate and even smell the scents that are coming from their destination. It’s wild to consider that technology is on the cusp of making this happen and people are understandably excited to see it become a reality.
VR has taken off in gaming more than any other area and it’s clear to see why the amount of money and interest in tech development means that gamers are more likely to want to engage with new technology far more than in any other walk of life.
Some of the biggest developments in VR have come from gaming and most other industries use gaming as a hook to their products or follow the format that gaming developers have come up with to create their own VR offering. We have previously shared this year’s best VR games with you, now let’s look at how the gaming industry works!
What Does VR Look Like Currently in Gaming?
Imagine being able to step inside your favorite video game and walk through scenes, facing adversaries and actually feeling the feedback of a fight or mission through the haptics on offer. This is exactly where we are at with VR gaming right now.
So many VR headsets are on the market or in development with the brief to make VR gaming an experience like no other and people are getting really excited about it. Oculus, HTC, Samsung, and PlayStation have all jumped into the VR gaming world with gusto and the sales of their products and accessories are booming.
Currently, VR gaming lets you play in many simulated environments as a character within the game; action, fighting, combat and even games that were once the remit of mobile phone apps are all now made into VR versions. By donning a headset and hooking up the accessories you can enjoy an immersive gaming experience.
There are VR games that you can play alone and progress through the ranks or you can enjoy it with friends and talk through your experiences over the headset so that everyone can share what they are up to in-game. It’s a far cry from sitting for hours trying to complete every aspect of a level before moving on; with VR gaming you are the story and you get to play it your way.
Why is Gaming the VR Trendsetter
Money talks and the gaming industry is worth over $50 billion in 2019 and last year it generated over $130 billion in cash from consumers like us. With this value, gaming is set up to be the leader in VR and it is taking this role seriously. Oculus was bought back in 2014 and has since developed headsets that are all geared toward serious gamers who want an immersive experience.
The gaming industry is enjoying steady growth and is predicted to hit a value of over $180 billion by 2021 as more and more people want to enjoy gaming. The rise can be attributed to games becoming more mainstream and accessible as well as offering new and improved ways of enjoying games; VR is just one aspect of this industry.
You can now study gaming and it is being seen as a more serious career today in comparison to the days gone by where people saw gaming as the pursuit of tech geeks. It is this change in user that makes it become a genuine trendsetter and allows it to promote VR to the masses.
VR gaming allows people to try things and go to worlds that have only ever lived in their imaginations or sat on a 2D screen so it’s obvious that people would want to harness that and enjoy it in a 3D experience. With the money growing and the demand increasing it looks like gaming is set to be the industry that continues to revolutionize VR for some time to come.
Who Brought You VR Gaming?
When Palmer Luckey designed the Oculus Rift it was out of sheer frustration that the headsets before had not been able to create a world in which he could become immersed. Facebook saw the potential in his prototype and bought the device from him, a move that meant the financial backing could meet the technical requirements of creating a VR headset to challenge the market.
As the development continued other companies wanted to get on the bandwagon and soon there were announcements from other big names that they were also heading into VR. Samsung Gear, HTC Vive, PS VR and even Google Cardboard all wanted to get involved in the latest gaming revolution.
As with any tech development, the more that can be spent bringing developers together the more likely you are to get a decent end product. The push that Luckey created when he created the Oculus Rift was the catalyst in the modern VR setups, we see all around us today.
The Best Names in VR Gaming
When you consider VR gaming some specific names stick out and we wanted to break these down for you:
Oculus is the brand that bought VR back to life and has the Rift, Quest and Go headsets all on the market for gamers to enjoy. If you haven’t heard of Oculus then you must have been sleepwalking through life as what they don’t know about VR headsets is not worth knowing!
Samsung has been mass-producing technology for a long time and you often see its products across households all over the world. The Samsung Gear was created with some help from Oculus and is used with your mobile phone. The Samsung Gear offers an affordable way into serious VR and they are likely to keep on developing new VR opportunities for a keen market.
Google isn’t just a search facility; they are the company that gave us the $15 VR headset as a tool that could be used to help education and tech innovation. Google is committed to developing VR and bringing new and exciting products to the market. We are pretty certain they will go down in history as more than just a search engine!
PlayStation has long been a big name in the gaming industry and their VR headset allows PS fans to engage with a huge range of games, with many more in development. Whilst PlayStation may not have the tech to lead the way in VR design, they have the money to help it become mainstream and the PS VR system works on all PS4s so that you only need to buy the add on kit to get straight into VR from your console.
HTC delivered the Vive headset and whilst it was an expensive piece of kit it came with in-built headphones and room sensors to make the VR experience as good as you could imagine. The company is committed to developing the headset and the games that can be played on it, making them a forerunner in the field.
Why VR Gaming is Great
VR gaming has many positive attributes and we have come up with the top 3 for your consideration:
Avoiding reality has always been seen as a negative but with VR gaming it is the entire premise. If you’ve had a bad day or want to take some time away from the pressures and stresses of real life then VR can give you a healthy space to enjoy a different activity and forget your surroundings.
This is helpful when people may be struggling with a decision or are just unable to cope as it gives them a place to go where they can be their alter ego and give their subconscious time to work on the real problems. Coming back to reality after a game in VR makes life feel less pressured and resets you so that you can keep up with whatever life throws at you.
The range of games on the market is growing exponentially and so there is something to suit everyone. You can stick your headset on and be transported to a world where cakes need to be baked or wars needs to be won and then save your progress before jumping into a new game. There is no reason why everyone can’t enjoy VR gaming with the number of games offered and we are pretty sure that no taste is left unaccounted.
Interactive and active games mean that you can play with friends and share VR experiences all whilst keeping fit and healthy. Gaming has long been slated for its isolation of people but with VR interactive experiences people can play alongside friends from all over the world and enjoy each other’s company.
People have the notion that gaming creates overweight, junk food-loving geeks who are glued to screens. With around 30% of VR games, people are actually able to get a full physical workout and some users have reported serious weight loss and muscle gain. It’s a fact that life is less active than ever so engaging in an activity like VR gaming can help put you on the right fitness track.
The Benefits for Businesses
Aside from gaming businesses, many other businesses are using VR gaming to entice customers. Sports shops that have VR installations so customers can watch and play their favorite games before making a purchase to science start-ups using VR gaming as a way to hook budding scientists into understanding concepts and processes. The benefits are endless.
Any savvy business owner will recognize the value VR gaming can bring to their marketing, public relations and even their products. And by utilizing VR gaming they will get people trying their products without even realizing it.
The other aspect of VR gaming that is great for businesses is the advertising options it gives. From product placement to sponsorship, businesses are getting into the VR gaming world to sell their products to a captive audience and sales profits are increasing because companies can access their target market when they are at play – a time where most of us are willing to try new things.
VR gaming will always be a good investment for business as it is the lynchpin in the development of VR itself!
How VR Can Make Gaming More Inclusive?
Gaming has always been a world that has been dominated by men who love tech and VR is working to break that system so that more people can access it. These days female gamers are on the rise and are far more interested in gaming as a whole than ever before.
By developing a wide range of gaming genres, more people are engaging and VR has allowed this development to grow because it has a buzz and excitement around it. VR games are not just based on fighting and killing, people can join games that help them to get fit, meet new people and even live in an alternate world on games like Second Life. Never has the industry seen a more diverse population accessing it and this is good for business as the new audiences bring new money and different demands.
The other aspect of accessibility in gaming means that people who may not be able to access the real world easily can enjoy engaging via an online platform. Whilst some of the kits need an overhaul to work well for those with physical disabilities, the concept of being able to meet people without being judged for being disabled is a concept that is very powerful and persuasive. People can access VR games to escape from their lives and problems, it’s a great way of taking time out from the real world.
Does the Gaming Industry Need VR to Survive?
The gaming industry will always pull in money because people want to enjoy escapism. Coming home after a long day or finding an activity to enjoy when you are stressed makes gaming the industry that will always have an active audience ready to spend money.
Whether the gaming industry needs VR to survive is a different consideration. Gaming is evolving and will continue to do so to meet the needs of gamers all over the world. If the demand is for VR gaming then the industry will continue to respond but if the audience decides to go in a different direction then the industry will follow.
Gaming isn’t about flogging a dead horse but is more about delivering customer requirements. So, in actuality, VR probably needs gaming to survive a lot more than gaming needs VR. It will be interesting to see where the future of gaming will lead us, but VR seems set to stay for now.
Engineering is big business as it is literally everywhere. Careers in engineering are more popular than ever as people seek to find new ways of doing things and create new items for marketing. If you think of any invention or feat that has taken place in history then it is a result of engineering in some form.
The career of an engineer is not easy and they are often faced with workplaces that are filled with hazards and work in remote locations away from loved ones. It makes sense that engineers should get to enjoy any tech that makes their lives easier and the tech industry has not let them down; by offering new and exciting innovations, engineers can now focus their efforts on creating items that will advance humankind in exciting ways.
It is simple to see why VR is, therefore, being used to help new developments and engineering has been given a new lease of life through VR software, hardware, and specific applications. But what is it doing that might affect you and your loved ones? We took a look at the engineering industry today to find out exactly how VR is being harnessed.
What Does VR Look Like Currently in Engineering?
When you think about the possibilities that VR brings, you’d be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed, every aspect of reality is slowly being transformed into a virtual alternative and naysayers are suggesting it will cause the downfall of life as we know it. However, the engineering industry is using VR to enhance many facets of what is on offer and with that comes hope for a better future with better designs and machines that help lives to be healthier and happier.
Training engineers via VR is proving to be hugely successful as often engineers work in remote places with lots of dangers and training providers aren’t suitable to go to engineers. It’s also not good to train engineers off-site as they don’t have access to the equipment they need to be trained on; this leaves them with little opportunity for development and ultimately stifles innovation. This is where VR comes in to play.
VR training solutions offer engineers opportunities for professional development that can be undertaken in a virtual world. By offering this, engineers can take up valuable training without the risks that currently face them. It’s a solution that is making waves as it is giving engineers a real chance to learn things that will enable them to develop fully.
New engineers are bringing skills that can help develop seasoned pros but they are also in need of on the job training so that they can transition successfully into their new roles. Many youngsters are sharing a desire to become engineers and VR is now helping them to get the experience they need after they have qualified.
Another aspect of engineering that is being overhauled with VR is product testing. Like any industry that relies on designs, engineers have to wait to see if their designs actually work once built and this can be costly and frustrating when something does not come out the way it was expected to.
With VR, engineers can create their designs in a virtual world and see if the finished product is likely to work and perform in the way they think it will. There are so many add on devices that will allow engineers to hone their designs and move parts around that they will be able to puzzle over the best way to do things for hours without spending money on expensive parts.
By testing products in VR, engineers can tweak and change their designs so that they do not have to waste time going back to the designs when a product fails to meet their expectations. This type of testing also helps engineers work out where they may be making errors and help to teach them new ways of combating design issues.
If a design issue cannot be fixed by the engineer themselves, they can pass them on to others to collaborate and problem solve. Tech jams work to bring problems to a large group of engineers who will work together to fix one specific problem and the really interesting part is that most engineers will give their time free for this sort of VR event.
Prototyping is changing too; VR allows engineers to make their prototypes without the need for expensive materials. When it is made it can be shared with other engineers for their input before being made in real life. This streamlined process will make it quicker and easier to produce designs that change the face of engineering.
Engineers may need to come up with a variety of prototypes for their clients and these can all be created in VR. When complete, an engineer can walk a client through all their options, showing them the pros and cons of each prototype and comparing the models in a VR meeting space. This allows clients to make informed choices and having the engineer on hand helps the process to run smoothly.
Some of the Best VR Engineering Technology
When you think about the way VR has moved engineering forward you would be mad to not want to know which tech was on offer and changing the industry. We found some of the best new techs that are disrupting the engineering field right now and are helping engineers to come up with new and exciting innovations.
Virtalis ActiveWall was created by Siemens as the answer to revolutionizing the way products are manufactured. Historically creating a new product line machine would involve long, labor-intensive collaborations and lots of drawing and trial and error. With the Virtalis ActiveWall, engineers and manufacturers can design new processes in VR with other people, taking away the need for endless prototypes. The system has halved the time previously taken and Siemens are convinced that as the tech is used more and more it will become easier and quicker.
Balfour Betty Rail has also employed VR techies to make the software that they now use to plan and construct new rail designs. By completing the design phase in VR they have been able to reduce overheads and come up with rail innovation; a fact that commuters will appreciate!
The company also use VR to share their plans with stakeholders and the public so that they can gather lots of feedback from a varied audience. The installations they use are exciting but fundamentally show how engineering is put into practice and give us an insight into the work that is done to get us to our rail destinations.
VRSCA is an engine that allows engineers to collaborate in a virtual space. It is this software that has made it possible to have a multi-user design going on and also lets engineers show clients the creation whilst others are in the room working.
You log in to a meeting space and wait for the other members of the team or the clients to arrive and then use it as you would any meeting space. It’s much better than traditional conference calls as it allows you to demonstrate the item you are working on and keeps the team and client all up to speed on how things are progressing. It really is great for collaborative projects.
Leap Motion has delivered a motion controller that can work with sub-millimeter accuracy so that engineers can use it to design products and then move items around until they get them in exactly the right place. It’s a capability that is making virtual design even better than traditionally designed products that use CAD software; with Leap Motion engineers can manipulate the smallest parts of a design and see how moving them changes the wider project. It helps with tweaking projects and finding design flaws that are impeding the progress of a project.
Myo is a piece of equipment that is worn as an armband and gives you the ability to gesture in a VR environment. This means that engineers can share designs and presentations with clients before they have been built to ensure that everyone is getting exactly what they need from a project. It also means that presentations can be given from anywhere in the world and so the need to travel to engineers directly has gone.
Long gone are the days where a team would sit in a meeting room to watch endless PowerPoint presentations, Myo lets you get straight to the important information and allows you to share it with all stakeholders so that no one is off message at any point during the project.
Why VR Engineering is Great
There are some amazing ways that engineers are using VR and it’s a great time in engineering as new technologies are helping to push ideas forward into a whole new world. Distance collaboration is a real thing now and engineers all over the world can access projects from wherever they are. This is maximizing the potential of each engineer and the results are looking great.
One of the reasons that VR Engineering is great is the ability to create exciting new designs more efficiently. Engineers are using virtual rooms to share knowledge and ideas and collectively design projects. Never before has it been this simple for a team to collaborate, making their lives easier and the finished products far better than you could ever imagine.
Team meetings are now able to run on time from any location so that people can get back to work immediately after a meeting has taken place. No more wasted travel time and no more minute taking, with VR meeting rooms you can record what is decided and archive them so that team members can revisit what actions were agreed on.
Another reason that VR engineering is great is that it allows clients access like they’ve never had before. With VR they can log in to the virtual space from anywhere in the world and be given visual and audio updates on the project they have commissioned. Rather than waiting to get email and phone updates, VR allows clients to see the status of all areas of a project without taking the time away from the project. They can jump in and take a look without waiting for someone to give them a tour and provide feedback on the parts they have questions about. It really is revolutionary!
One of the greatest parts of VR engineering is the effect it has on the people who ultimately use the products that have been created. When designing a new machine or product engineers can now take the ergonomic impact into account and this translates into people being healthier and happier at work. Imagine working in a factory where you have to overstretch to reach a part of the machine multiple times every day; you will end up with a really bad back and possibly need time off work.
This hits the pocket of the employer as they need to cover you and your bank balance falls as a result of being unwell. With VR, engineers can see if where they are placing handles and objects is suited to employees so that new machinery will consider the needs of the end-user – it’s a great way of improving the longevity of people and machines and will ultimately result in a much happier workforce.
Does the Engineering Industry Need VR to Survive?
If engineering is to continue offering new innovations then ultimately it will need to continue using all the latest technology available; this means that VR is not going anywhere until it is replaced with something even more innovative!
Engineers work incredibly hard to bring us logical solutions and the VR industry is pushing that forward into a more streamlined process. By taking away the pressures of training and collaboration, engineers can focus on what they really love; creating new and exciting products that will change the way we view the world. In that vein, VR is essential to engineering and we cannot see it changing anytime soon!
How can VR become a long term career and who is interested in a role like this? VR careers have taken off like never before and people are far more interested in developing this ability then ten years ago. The notion that educators are preparing students for jobs that don’t exist yet is a very real issue and one that VR is part of.
There is a whole VR world of tech experts that are working together to further the knowledge and capabilities. Whilst the production of new and exciting VR inspired products is competitive you will find the VR tech experts to be a friendly group who welcome new ideas and want to share what they have learned so far to progress VR as much as possible.
If you are into tech, science or have a great mathematical mind then maybe tech innovation is a great starting point for your new career or first job. We have taken all the current information on VR careers and discussed it so that you can get a real sense of what your life would look like if you were working in VR right now.
What Does VR Look Like as a Career?
A career in VR is incredibly varied and careers can range from designers to developers and even testers. If you have a passion for VR and are tech-minded then the industry is a great place to make your name.
Don’t expect to make a fortune as the financial payoff is not as great as you’d imagine and entry-level VR developers only make around $56000 a year; this can, of course, skyrocket if you are the designer of the next great game or piece of software that takes the market by storm but this is unlikely when you consider the number of techies that are aiming for the same goal.
In terms of the jobs that are available, you can expect to see these advertised:
VR Software Engineer/Developer – this role focuses on the designing of system specs, providing and installing software solutions and programming. Software engineers are the creators of the code that makes your VR experience come to life and without them, VR would not exist. They also get to test and evaluate software that is created to ensure there are no glitches or issues that will stop a program from running.
VR Software Tester – A VR tester tests the software created by the developer to detect and problems, bugs, glitches, etc before it is sold on to the market. Software testers also work to ensure that updates are usable and improve what is already on the market. If you have the idea that they sit and play VR games all day long, you are mistaken. Testers have to rigorously check all aspects of the software to ensure it is ready to be marketed.
VR Content Producer – This job requires you to be responsible for creating a VR experience that people want to buy and engage with. As a producer, you are responsible for the budget and keeping the project on track and on time so that it can maximize any potential profit that comes from the development of it.
VR Content Writer – As a VR content writer you will be the scriptwriter for any apps that your company develops. You may be writing the next big game to hit the market or coming up with a script for a voice-over on an educational project. You will need to be a convincing writer that understands how to help VR come to life through words.
How Do You Plan for a Career in VR?
A career in VR is a niche of the tech industry and so undertaking tech qualifications and work experience will ready you for a career in this field. You also need a natural bent for this industry and love it enough to want to innovate it.
There are so many qualifications open to people interested in tech and you can study the part that interests you most; game design, software engineering, and tech development are just some of the more famous strands of tech that we know of.
When you have completed your academic studies you will need to work within a tech company to develop your skills and experiences. If you are lucky the company you join will develop VR and so you can gain experience in this area or you can build your resume and pitch yourself and your experience to a VR company that aligns with your aspirations.
Whatever your VR goal you can be certain that there is a company that needs new and innovative ideas and that if you have them, they will want to work with you. You will be submerged into a world of VR and we’d guess it will be more fun and insightful than you ever could imagine! Don’t just get your ideas of what the VR industry looks like from the news, there is so much information out there than you can study before taking the leap into a new career.
The Best Names in VR
Some people are well known for driving the VR industry forward and you should definitely know who they are if you have an interest in VR!
Palmer Luckey is the creator behind Oculus Rift and whilst he sold Oculus to Facebook, he is responsible for the surge in VR during the past 9 years. Luckey is now the founder of Anduril Industries and has been part of Trump’s war on immigrants by creating a program to identify illegal immigrants as they attempted entry into Texas from Mexico.
Jacquelyn Morie is renowned for her work in VR and is originally from Germany. She is an expert VR scientist and is also a qualified Her career has been filled with VR development and she has worked for Disney, the University of Southern California and owns All These Worlds. She is credited with developing the emotional strands of VR worlds so that users have a more real-life experience; even creating a device that releases scents when people are in a virtual world.
Chris Milk is a well-regarded music video creator and has used his platform to jump into the world of VR. He has now been part of founding two VR focused companies and is committed to using VR to move humanity forward. In 2015 he was invited to give a TED talk on his passion for VR and humanity and this has been viewed over 1,600,000 times to date.
Nonny de la Peña has been a journalist throughout her career and was moved to create her own virtual world when working on a story for an LA food bank. This was the moment that she became a huge advocate for the use of VR and went on to run Emblematic Group, a VR hardware company based in LA. She is pipped as the Godmother of VR due to the passion she has for it and the development of it.
Ken Birdwell is famous for his hatred of VR and falling into the area after many years of active avoidance! These days he is well known for creating ‘room-scale’ that is used in the HTC Vive. Room Scale allows VR headset users to walk around in a VR space and get a physical sensation of actually being there.
Suzanne Leibrick is an artist, storyteller, and developer of VR. She co-founded ARVR Academy which is a place that shares VR knowledge and education with underrepresented groups in the area of technology in a bid to encourage a diverse range of new tech trainees. Aside from her work in education she is renowned for her own VR work and has a loyal fan base that follows her work.
Alex Kipman is the Microsoft tech genius behind HoloLens. HoloLens works to show you 3D holograms when you have the helmet and glasses on. HoloLens isn’t his first tech foray and you may have heard of his work on the Kinect before.
Crista Lopes works at the University of California as a Professor of Informatics. Her education and knowledge of VR are unparalleled and she is now working for OpenSimulator in addition to her teaching commitment. In addition, she has also founded her own company called Encitra that is focused on the use of VR in urban redevelopment. With so many strings to her bow, she really is a VR powerhouse.
Clay Bavor is the VP of VR and AR in Google and leads the teams that are working hard to bring us new developments in this area. He has been with Google for over 14 years and the value he brings is clearly recognized with the current position he has found himself in. He is a graduate of Princeton University and as part of his time there he won an award for having the best Computer Science thesis.
Alex Schwartz founded Owlchemy Labs and was the CEO before moving on to absurd:joy, a platform for people who are developing XR and VR computing. Schwartz is a huge advocate for VR and has shared that he feels he has much more to offer in the development of VR. His opinion is highly regarded and he is an advisor for various VR bodies and awards.
Jaron Lanier is the Microsoft employee who is famous for popularising VR back in the 1990s. Since he left his founding company VPL Research, he has published computer philosophy papers and urged people to rid themselves of social media because he feels it is stifling the human brain. Lanier now works as part of the Microsoft Research team in the role of an Interdisciplinary Scientist.
Why VR Careers are Great
If you are serious about a career in VR then you are on to a winner; being at the forefront of an industry that is paving the way to new ways of doing things is awesome. You will enjoy watching and taking part in the creation of software and applications that can help humanity as well as enjoying trying out new inventions before they are even released onto the market.
Another aspect of the VR industry that is great is getting to work alongside people who are as passionate about the development of it as you are. Tech experts are keen to see VR evolve and now there is money being invested in this area you will be joining it at a time of creation rather than stagnation.
Being on the cutting edge of new developments will allow you to see innovation in all aspects of life; it has the potential to change education, medicine, industry, and recreation and the possibilities it brings are endless. Working in a fast-paced environment like this will only bring you the satisfaction that you are helping your fellow humans and the evolution of technology.
The Downsides of VR Careers
Sadly not everything about VR is great and working within this industry can prove to be like a rollercoaster. One day VR is the hot topic and the next day it is relegated to be an area that there is not enough demand for.
Historically, VR has had moments of magic but has also been plagued with being too revolutionary, not revolutionary enough, too slow-moving, not having the tech to back up the ideas and many more issues that have stopped it in its tracks. Whilst we recognize that it is now seeing a surge in development like never before it is still an area that is riddled with self-doubt.
The final, big issue with taking a career in VR is it is still relatively unknown. There are huge gaps in knowledge where more work needs to be done and you won’t be able to piggyback on someone else’s hard work. This will make work both interesting and frustrating as you will be the people who are expected to figure it all out! If you can handle these pressures then VR may be the right choice for you.
VR in the Marketing Industry
Marketing has to stay at the cutting edge when it comes to new tech as any gimmick that can be used to gather interest in a product will help to make money for their clients. Today’s consumer is becoming more particular and selective and so businesses need to bring forth their A-game to survive in such dynamic conditions.
Three-quarters of the world’s leading brands are using Virtual Reality in their marketing! This type of statistic tells us everything we need to know about the value of VR in marketing; it is highly effective and bears results. We aren’t the only ones that recognize this and many businesses are engaging with VR in a bid to improve their company profile and make more money.
What Does VR Look Like Currently in Marketing?
VR marketing is widely used and varied in its approach. It can take the form of an installation in a shopping mall, a virtual tour on a website or even be used in shopping to convince a consumer to try a specific product. If you look at the number of companies that offer VR marketing as part of their advertising it becomes clear that VR is key to the future success of the marketing industry.
All buyers want is ease of use and convenience; when they can buy what you are selling from the comfort of their couch, then a marketing strategy is working. This is the same with VR marketing and is popular as it can give a virtual experience that is created to sell a product. With e-commerce, consumers can shop from home and yet companies like Alibaba sell themselves on having a VR store that you can actually browse. This marketing ploy helps drive sales to their site and gives consumers the gimmick they want.
Part of marketing is creating an audio and visual story that is believable enough to make your target market feel a presence. The story should be immersive, interactive and engaging. It should create an impact and convert potentials into profits. All these aspects of marketing are employed within VR marketing companies all over the globe and as they drive in bigger and better results, they seem destined to be part of the marketing scene for some time to come.
Who Brought You VR Marketing?
Grove Jones is a creative technology company that utilizes virtual reality as part of their toolkit in creating ‘next-generation’ experiences. They have worked with big-name brands such as Amazon, McDonald’s, Intel, Mastercard, Google, Ford and Under Armour to name just a few. GrooveTech is the group of technologies that the company has developed to be used within their productions and the company prides itself on being reliable, flexible and secure. The platform is meant for VR companies and branding.
Groove Jones has several features it uses to optimize its impact on clients and to help them engage well with the public. Some of the capabilities it offers clients to use with their marketing campaigns are:
- A social shareability so that people can spread the word
- Multiplayer options to allow the client’s customers to compete together
- Spectator mode that allows the client to keep tabs on what is happening
- Leader boards so everyone knows who is in the top rankings of the app
- Analytics that can be shared with the client and across their marketing team to see how well the campaign has been engaged with by clients.
- Ordering via headsets so that if a customer wants to purchase the client’s product they can do so straight away.
Marriott Hotels have been paving the way for travel industry professionals to use VR in their marketing since 2017. Marriott’s VR innovation is called “Teleporter”. The app helps Marriott’s clients move between the provider’s hotels. The hotelier has revolutionized the travel industry using VR.
To come up with this game-changer, Marriott collaborated with Flamestore VR Studio and together they designed a package that would appeal to the market of hotel goers all over the world.
Marriott uses this technology to create the urge to travel within its clients and guests. The fear of missing out comes into play; thus, the company can close deals and increase its profits. Thanks to VR, the organization has been able to fight off competition and cut a niche for itself.
Samsung is a powerhouse in the tech industry. This is due to a combination of being at the forefront of technological advances and being successful in the marketing of their products. As a company that is involved in developing VR, it is not surprising that the firm also uses VR technology in its marketing of the VR products that it sells.
In this situation, it really is a win-win situation because Samsung simply makes their VR products available for visitors to the store to try out and the VR marketing sends up selling the VR itself. Every potential customer that visits Samsung’s New York store gets a chance to try out Samsung’s VR gear and with reports that the manufacturer has seen a rapid increase in sales of VR gadgets and its products, we can conclude that this VR marketing technique is working well.
The Benefits for Businesses
Using VR in marketing has numerous benefits for the business that has chosen to adopt this technology. An enhanced client experience is clearly what all businesses are looking to create because an enhanced client experience will usually result in more engagement from clients and subsequently more money spent and more repeat business.
VR creates an immersive environment where a customer gets a more focused purchasing experience. It is thrilling, and the experience leaves the client wanting more. As a result, the client will order and buy the business’ products again. VR makes use of the consumer’s senses and research shows that a sensory experience is more likely to trigger emotions. This type of engagement gives a client a memorable shopping experience because once emotions are triggered the experience is stored differently in the brain.
As long as the VR produces a positive experience, then this will increase the likelihood that consumers will engage with the business and make purchases. A marketing strategy is termed successful if it helps an enterprise convert potential into profits and adding VR to the toolkit that a marketing company uses gives more chance that the marketing strategy will lead to the growth of the company.
When devising a marketing strategy it is essential to use analytics to give the strategy the best chance of success. Decisions are best made when knowledge and insights are available and VR provides advanced analytics. This means the management will be able to make more informed decisions. Analytics help a business to know where to focus more energy and where to invest to make profits.
As a business, it is essential to know in detail what works and what does not, and VR helps businesses to do that by analyzing consumer behavior.
It is also possible for companies to use VR to reach a wider audience if they choose to utilize technology over the internet. VR might be costly to adopt in the initial outlay but when this is compared to the market that can be reached by the technology online, it is likely to keep marketing costs down in the long term. Having a wider-reaching audience increases the probability of sales and so using VR in marketing can have massive benefits for the business.
Benefits to Consumers
Whilst there are many benefits to businesses that help them to increase their sales and in turn, their profits, there are also huge benefits to the consumers.
The main benefit to consumers when VR is used during marketing is that they get to have a new kind of experience. Everybody wants to feel satisfied at the end of every shopping experience and businesses spend a lot of time trying to make sure consumers feel happy about their experience and their purchases.
Consumers who have negative feelings following a purchase will equate the negative feelings with the business and will be unlikely to return to spend more money. What VR does is give businesses the tools to create an even better experience for their clients or consumers. This can only lead to a better shopping experience of customers as each business competes to give the best overall experience. VR gives a consumer a feeling of achievement through fun, interaction, and immersion.
A further benefit for consumers when VR is used for marketing is that they can get a more realistic overview of a product before they choose to buy it and for customers who like to shop from the comfort of their own home, VR can be used to give them a full shopping experience without the hustle and bustle of the real world stores. This is a definite win for consumers.
The Downsides of VR Marketing
There are of course some downsides to incorporating VR into a marketing campaign and the major one is that it can be expensive. This relates to both the company and the potential consumers. For the company, when the cost of marketing goes up, the profits become less. For the individual, the cost of VR hardware can mean that many people simply can’t afford to engage with VR marketing unless it is something that is on offer in store, such as within the New York Samsung store.
VR marketing can also be seen as a bit of a novelty or a gimmick. There is nothing wrong with a marketing campaign that uses techniques such as this as they are often very successful at getting people to engage with the product they are trying to sell or the company that is being marketed. However, whilst they are usually successful in the first instance, they don’t always have long-term success. Once people have engaged with the VR and had that experience, the novelty factor is reduced and potential customers are no longer attracted by the excitement of the new technology.
Does the Marketing Industry Need VR to Survive?
Before answering yes or no to this question, let’s see why VR is important in marketing. Importantly, VR has a sensory impact on the client. The technology tricks the human brain into an illusion of reality. It creates ‘presence’. The brain perceives this virtual presence as a real presence, creating links between the product and the emotions of the buyer. As a result, the consumer is more likely to buy the product.
Movies and audios show or tell a story, whereas with VR, the person gets to live the story. It makes the client feel present and in the middle of the action. In addition, it takes the attention away from competitors and keeps the focus on products/companies at the heart of the marketing campaign.
It cannot be denied that VR is a great new technology to be used in the marketing world and it is clear that an increase in marketing campaigns that use VR technology is set to occur in the future. However, VR marketing is far from being the norm in current campaigns. It can be expensive to set up for a business that wants to allow consumers to use the technology in-store and for those companies that want to utilize online or mobile VR technology then they are relying on their target audience already have some kind of VR devices.
Many people do own a smartphone but this does not mean that they actively use it for VR and owning a VR headset is not yet common. Therefore, many potential consumers will be missed by VR marketing.
Whilst VR is helpful and can certainly improve a marketing campaign, the marketing industry is thriving without technology. It is likely that in the future VR will become much more prominent in marketing but for now, VR is a fantastic addition to the marketing world, but not necessary for the marketing industry to survive.
The gambling industry is probably not the first field that comes to mind when you think of virtual reality. In fact, the image that gambling most commonly conjures up is that of the casinos in Vegas; bright lights, slot machines, hustle and bustle. But the majority of people who gamble never go to Vegas and a lot of people never even step foot in a casino meaning that gambling is more varied with more opportunities for development.
It was during the mid-90s that the gambling world made huge technological advances, with online casinos hitting the internet, allowing anyone with a decent internet connection to log on and enjoy a range of similar games to those that would be found in real-world casinos. VR casinos are now on offer so that you can part with your cash from home rather than having to journey to a casino and it is making megabucks! If you are interested in reading more on the topic of VR gambling then take a look at a previous article we published here.
What Does VR Look Like Currently in Gambling?
Gambling and online casinos have slowly started to be converted into the virtual world with casino environments being built-in VR 3D, allowing the player’s avatar to move around and look at the games as they would in a real-world casino, select the one they want to play and go ahead and play it.
So, players looking for an online virtual reality gambling experience won’t be able to find all of the casino games available to them that they could currently play in 2D. However, the big names in casinos such as poker, backgammon, blackjack, and slots can be found and currently offer a fantastic experience that is only set to develop and become popular within the next few years.
It’s a relatively new concept, as is modern VR but there are exciting developments in VR gambling if this is what you are interested in. One of the elements that define a great VR casino is the commitment that gambling companies are giving to creating a VR casino that truly feels like the real thing; drinks, servers, slots and table games will await your arrival and we can’t wait to see what the finished article will look like!
Who Brought You VR Gambling?
Virtual reality gambling has developed as a bit of a hybrid to appeal to a mass market. Real-world casinos are not as popular with certain generations, such as millennials, and so there was a definite gap in the market to fill to ensure that gambling companies continue to make their money.
Online casinos were the logical next step as it was through the people who love gaming would love the online casino. Whilst online gambling in the form of online casinos has been successful, companies such as SlotsMillion still felt there was a missing market.
Combining the online gaming experience that people love with the real world casino experience that gives a sociable aspect, meaning that the industry began to look at virtual reality to bring a sense of realism to the online casino world.
It was as recent as mid-2017 that the first real money virtual reality casino was launched. SlotsMillion decided that video games shouldn’t be the only gaming field that embraced virtual reality and so offered a VR experience for players who wanted to get into an online VR casino.
It is no real shock that the people who are bringing you VR gambling are the ones set to make significant amounts of profit from it. However, they are also the people that understand the nuances of gambling and are best placed to be advisors to this niche area of VR.
The Best Names in VR Gambling
Slot Millions is a name that is well known in the gambling world and the first to deliver a virtual reality casino. Not only the first, but it also remains one of the best. Players have seen the classic Starburst have a revamp and transformation to embrace virtual reality.
Players are met with a traditional casino with a virtual reality twist, combining high-quality graphics and immersive soundtrack. Starburst is a virtual casino that can be played with or without the virtual reality headset, meaning that it is available to anyone who has access to online gambling and not restricted to those who have invested in a virtual reality headset.
With Starburst offering only ten lines in its virtual reality version it is much smaller than the non-virtual reality online casino. However, this certainly hasn’t put players off as they keep returning for the high-stakes games and virtual experience.
Net Entertainment is known for being early adopters and they haven’t disappointed when it comes to virtual reality and gambling. Jack’s World is the companies first leap into a virtual reality world to offer gambling and gaming.
Based on the classic slot game Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack’s World is a mini release that features enhanced graphics and 3D soundscapes which deliver a virtual reality experience to users. This offering is played on a smartphone and so is available to any person with a mobile device and a headset such as Google Cardboard or any other VR headset designed to hold a mobile phone.
Why VR Gambling is Great
Virtual reality in gambling gives players the opportunity for a brand new type of gambling experience. This is great as it pulls in a brand new audience of people that may have wanted to go to a casino but not had the confidence or knowledge of how it works. A new audience means more money for the house so everyone is happy!
With gambling in virtual reality, players put their headsets on and find themselves transported to an opulent casino with card tellers and cash desks like you’d expect to see in real life. The great thing for casino owners is that you are interacting with their brand, spending money and losing cash all from your home so they don’t need to spend money on the upkeep of a real casino, staff wages and all the other expenses that a real casino would have.
If people are struggling with the rules of casino games then an online casino could be the answer. With video tutorials and rules people can learn all about a game before they spend any money. Many online casinos also offer a free play option where you can try a game out to see if you like it before betting on it.
The Benefits for Businesses
There is an obvious benefit to businesses in that having more opportunities to gamble means more people will be spending more money. New technology always creates a buzz, especially when it is recently released and so having access to new opportunities will increase the number of people that want to try out a VR casino.
However, there are also several other revenue streams that virtual reality casinos offer to businesses and this is where the virtual reality aspect presents different opportunities to other online gambling. Real-world casinos have the benefit of having customers in their building and can sell them other items as part of the gambling experience. VR casinos are developing a way of offering these items in-game so that it feels as authentic as possible.
Online casinos lack the social aspects that are experienced in real-world casinos and this can have a big impact on money spent. In the real world casinos money is obviously made from the games where the ‘house always wins’, but there is also the revenue from food and drinks. Spending time in casinos means people will need to spend extra money to have refreshments.
Online casinos lose this aspect of the gambling experience and so most people log on to play the games they fancy playing and then leave. There is interaction in the form of ‘chats’ and many online games allow players to customize their avatar and portray themselves in a way they would want others to see them.
However, this is not an essential part of the game and often takes away from gambling which is the reason people are there. The social aspect adds to the experience and is known to encourage people to play more and often take more risks in their gambling.
The Downsides of VR Gambling
The most obvious downside of virtual reality gambling is that it is very much in its infancy at the moment. This means that few opportunities offer a really good gambling experience akin to what you would expect if you had experienced a real casino. As mentioned before, even the companies who have expanded into the virtual reality world are only offering some of their gambling titles as virtual reality offerings and are waiting to see whether it is worth continuing to invest in the area once people have engaged with what is currently out there.
Another concern is how people will confirm they are above the legal age for gambling. This is already a concern for online gambling and VR is no different. As the main audience for VR is the younger generation there will be greater interest from people who could be underage and using a parent’s card without their knowledge.
Does the Gambling Industry Need VR to Survive?
In a nutshell, no. The gambling industry is thriving and there will always be people who love the glitz and the glamour of walking into a casino and gambling thousands. It is very unlikely that weekend trips to Las Vegas for hen or stag parties, quick weddings or just a different type of break will be replaced by a virtual reality version.
However, these are the type of events that take people to a casino for the novelty value or to experience what it is like and so they are the type of experience that people what to have in real life. For those who enjoy gambling regularly and don’t feel the need to go to a real-world casino to part with their money, or are already a convert to the online casino, moving to a virtual reality casino may be a natural progression.
Regular gamblers will see the benefits of not having to leave their homes to go to the casino whilst being able to engage with people through virtual reality in a similarly sociable way to how they would in the real world. For these people, the benefits of virtual reality gambling may outweigh any negatives, or it may just become a more popular option.
Virtual reality gambling is set to increase and as the technology improves, the headsets get cheaper and the virtual experiences become ever closer to the real experience, more regular gamblers are likely to make the switch to virtual reality. It is also probable that the virtual casino will bring in a whole new cohort who haven’t really been engaged in gambling before. Those who can’t or don’t wish to go to a real-world casino will have the casino brought to them.
So, whilst the virtual reality casino is likely to increase opportunities to gamble and will change the face of gambling in the future, it is doubtful that it is necessary for the gambling industry to survive. At present, the gambling industry is declining in some respects but isn’t suffering enough that it needs virtual reality yet. Maybe in the future when younger generations come to expect more of their activities to be conducted in the virtual world, but right now if all virtual reality casinos shut down, the gambling industry would continue in much the same way that it has done so far.
Photography is the area in which VR all began. The photograph has now evolved into something that can be taken and compressed to provide a 3D view of the world. Panoramas, 360-degree videos, spherical photos are all aspects of photography that help VR come to life.
Rather than having to spend hours creating these images, we now have access to devices that will help us take photos that can be turned into immersive experiences all at the click of a button. This is no longer just the domain of the pros as we can all access equipment to make our own VR videos.
The International Virtual Reality Photography Association is open to all professional photographers who make 360-degree immersive images and videos. They were founded based on helping VR photography to develop across a range of industries and boast membership from VR professionals all over the world. If you are a keen VR photographer then the IVRPA may be the best place to start when considering a career in the field of photography.
So where is the VR being used within the photography industry today and how is it helping photographers come up with new and exciting images for consumers? Anyone with a job in VR will need a photographer as all VR is based on images. Whether it is for storyboarding a new VR game or making a virtual tour for a specific business, VR photography is in demand.
What Does VR Look Like Currently in Photography?
The idea of a photo is simple, taking an image or images to share with people so that they can access places that they may never see otherwise. Sharing holiday snaps or special moments, photos hold a significant place in our hearts.
We have seen photography move from chunky cameras with pixelated images to the more modern camera phones that take crystal clear images. Now we are expecting photography to continue the journey for VR.
Why should we choose 360 photography over the photography of old? It’s simple; the quality that you get from a 360 photo combined with the level of immersion offered makes it a logical choice. This is why amateurs and professionals are all excited about the future of VR photography.
Currently, the market is booming with sales of cameras that will help you to take immersive images, there are many online tutorials and people want to capture more than just a still image. This means that we can create our own story and no longer need videos or photos to tell us what we should be looking at.
Those photographers that have made VR their career are responsible for providing us with access to scenes that we may never have thought about before and it is their pioneering work in the field that has meant we are now in a situation where we can make our own 360-degree videos and more.
The Best Devices in VR Photography
It’s easy to mistake a 360 photo for a 360 video but with 360 photography you get a far better quality image at a much lower price. Plus it’s a smaller file to store so you can take as many as you want and not worry about filling your memory with only one day’s worth of shooting.
There is a range of camera types that will help you with your creation; cameras with one, two or multiple lenses. Depending on your preference and budget will help to guide you in deciding which type is best for your project.
If you are considering a 360 camera then we have some of the best devices for you but be warned that these cameras are not cheap, but they will bring you hours of fun and excitement when you look at your creations through a headset.
Instax360 One X offers a range of options that will help you create the best images out there. It has dual fisheye lenses, special effects and image stabilization that will give your snaps a great finish every time!
Insta360 EVO is the ideal VR headset if you want to take 3D VR images. Not only is it a 3D VR camera but it also converts into a 360 camera too with 5.7k resolution. You can enjoy your own work and share it with others to see how you are creating your own virtual content.
HumanEyes Vuze XR is also capable of creating both 360 images and 3D VR videos so you won’t need two devices to create all the content you desire! It has pop-out lenses and shoots in 5.7k so you will have high-quality images and can share the creations with your loved ones so they can get an insight into your world.
Go Pro Fusion is a trustworthy brand with an excellent 5.2K resolution and comes with everything you’d expect from this massive brand. It’s marketed at the outdoor adventure types and can be taken anywhere as it is waterproof and can be mounted to your body. Imagine creating an underwater 3D world – this is the camera for you!
Ricoh Theta V will allow you to record 4K videos, live stream and has 4 microphones that will record sound. You can operate it remotely from the app that comes with it and the quality of your productions will please you and your viewers for years to come!
Samsung Gear 360 is clearly a good choice when it comes to creating your own images as they are the company that bought you the famous Gear headset! This camera comes with free editing software ready to help you make your images into the VR experience of your dreams.
Kodak PixPro 4K may only offer 235-degree shooting but we think that will suffice when it comes to making home images and videos! It is splash and freeze proof too so you can take it pretty much anywhere and not be worried that it won’t cope! The really great thing is being able to operate it from your phone and then upload your work directly to the internet!
Garmin VIRB 360 is an amazing 5.7k capable camera that will take footage for you and can even be taken into the water so you aren’t restricted on where to use it. You will be able to record audio too so that you can narrate your experiences ready for people to relive each moment with you later.
VR cameras are popping up everywhere and from some of the most trusted brands so that you will be able to get your hands on a device that best suits the way you live and what you want to get photos of.
Why VR Photography is Great
VR photography is great on so many levels; from the pleasure of seeing photography evolving to the fun of taking a VR photograph or video, it really is cutting edge and becoming more and more mainstream as the years go by.
As VR is still being developed it is a great time to jump into a career in VR and if photography is your skill then this is a perfect choice. You will need to be creative with what you can offer and understand that you will be part of a group of people leading the charge rather than having lots of other people’s experiences to work from. If you are innovative and creative then VR is a great choice for you!
The opportunities for travel and experiencing new things are endless if you decide to follow the life of a VR photographer. More and more people are demanding VR options and if you are willing to travel to the ends of the earth taking photos of places and people, then you are more than likely to be inundated with work.
The travel industry is an area that needs more images to create realistic virtual holidays for people – without the images, the places cannot be depicted and so the travel company needs to wait until there are a sufficient amount of VR photos ready for them to create their destinations.
How VR Photography is Made
There are various ways to create VR photography and we have broken them down below:
Rectilinear Stitching is when a camera is moved around a tripod and images are taken at specific time intervals. The images are then ‘stitched’ together to create a 360 panorama. The great thing about this is that it is relatively simple to do and the results are of high quality if a decent camera is used. However, as the images have been taken in a line the panorama will go 360-degrees but the vertical field will not have the depth required to see below the image line as that will not have been photographed.
Spherical Stitching when a fisheye lens is used to take images that are then used in virtual tours. The great thing about spherical stitching is that you can see all around and are not just stuck with a panoramic line as you are with rectilinear stitching. This type of lens is the most popular with keen photographers today and will help you to create high-quality images of a whole area in much less time than ever before.
Cubical Stitching was developed by Apple and was the process of taking images and then stitching them into a cube so that you were able to see the full view. This is not a typical way of taking VR photos today as the other methods are easier and produce far superior results.
One-Shot Optics are probably the most simplistic way of taking panoramic images as the lens is predefined for this type of image and will allow a user to get the full panorama in one shot. You tend to see this type of lens on smartphones with panoramic capabilities.
Where is VR Photography Used Most?
The main industries that benefit from VR photography are those that want to give their users an image to ponder. Real estate is the perfect example as realtors can take photos and create a virtual tour so that you don’t need to wait for an Open House date to see inside your dream home.
You’ll also find virtual tours on hotel websites so that they can showcase their rooms and facilities to prospective customers. This is a welcomed feature when you can’t decide where to stay and want to be certain that you are getting access to the best quality hotel in your budget range.
You will see many 360 images on social media platforms as Facebook and YouTube have the capability to support the images. The ability to upload your own 360 images is great as you can take them and then share them with all your friends online rather than having to wait for people to swing by to get a look at your adventures!
Does the Photography Industry Need VR to Survive?
The photography industry will always require photos that can be snapped quickly to save a special moment but VR photography is not going away and the industry must continue to progress in this field for all other fields to be able to improve their VR offerings.
VR is only possible with images and so the industry is in demand and a great place to start a VR career but the next few years will need to see improved devices and capabilities to pull consumers in. If a consumer is faced with a device that can be easily used and create beautiful 360 images and 3D VR videos then the demand will grow and the specs will improve.
It’s an exciting time for photographers; using their creative skills to push technology forward and produce beautiful images and videos all at the same time. The future is bright for VR photography!
We can’t forget that technology and science worked together to produce VR but how VR is being used to further scientific research and support science education and innovation is fascinating.
We now live in a world that allows students to watch and interact with scientific experiences without the danger of housing chemicals in a school lab. Remarkably, microscopes can now be used in 3D and this has allowed scientists to get a better understanding of the matter they are employed to study.
With greater developments in VR, we are likely to see science being able to utilize these developments to help with their own and it’s exciting to guess where the innovation will take off. Many labs now use VR routinely and lots of scientists are using VR to share the way things work with captive audiences. So, let’s take a look at what is currently happening in the science world with VR.
What Does VR Look Like Currently in Scientific Research?
There are many strands to science but one of the most prolific in the field of scientific research and it is here that VR seems most happily settled. Researchers are using VR to get closer to their subjects than they have ever been able to before and this will only go to improve the way that science develops and scientific discoveries are made.
One great example of how VR is used in scientific research is InViewR; a German-made VR tool that allows researchers to get up close and personal with cells. Not only can they view them in detail but they can interact with the cell; peeling away the layers to get a detailed knowledge of how they are made. These tiny cells are now supersized and researchers can really feel as if they are touching them, getting to know the structure and finding out new ways to manipulate them for the good of humankind.
Other researchers have used VR to create Confocal VR; 3D microscopic images that allow them to see how lysosomes interact with cells rather than being left to guess with a more traditional 2D image. It is this capability that is allowing scientists to see structures in a brand new light and will push scientific investigations further than we could ever imagine.
Another VR feat is the ChimeraX; a visualization tool that allows researchers to see structures such as proteins on a molecular level. There is no doubt that tools like this are helping to pull interest in the science community and encouraging people to take up careers in the field.
VR In Science-Based Education
VR developers and scientists have come together to create opportunities for students to engage in science from their classrooms.
If you are a fan of physics then there are opportunities to look at how helicopters and boats work as well as understanding Newton’s Laws in VR. Students are given access to the night sky and solar system so they can work out where everything is in relation to the earth and even see the makeup of stars and moons around the galaxy. Giving students the opportunity to experience what it’s like to look up at the sky and see what they are being taught about in class gives the lessons more meaning. VR allows students to see things they would never get to see other than in textbooks.
Chemistry students will be able to explore an interactive Periodic Table that shows them whether elements are solids, liquids or gasses. They can take it further by watching chemical reactions and check if their considered chemical combinations will work or cause mass destruction. They can enjoy experiments in a VR world and not risk damaging themselves and being able to get up close to the action when the chemicals react – it’s literally bringing their education to life.
Gone are the days of sharing a pig’s heart for dissection; with VR Biology students can interact with organs from a range of animals and even humans so that they know what they look like in action. Seeing the world at work and understanding habitats and reproductive systems in all the animal families has never been easier. Using VR to track bodily functions such as heart rate and brain waves are then converted into images that students can see from a headset.
The educational opportunities are endless and educators and students cannot wait for it to become a huge part of daily education. Unfortunately, these opportunities are few and far between and until the cost of VR declines, the notion of students being able to collaborate all over the world will remain as a pipe dream.
Why VR Science is Great
VR developments in science are great as it allows us to gain access to territory than has been at our fingertips for many years. Scientific advancement has been halted because technology hasn’t been able to keep up with the discoveries that scientists have made. This is now changing and VR is opening up new ways of looking at science and new ways of sharing science with a wider audience.
The traditional scientific education is based on textbooks and experiments that are so out of date they aren’t fit for purpose. The traditional way of teaching science is certainly not a way that grabs the attention of young minds and can make a fantastically exciting subject seem a little on the boring side. The great thing about VR science is that we are now getting to a point where we can push our youth to understand more complex science in a more exciting forum, kids being bored by lab lessons will be a thing of the past.
Science is great, period. But to convince everyone that the subject that explains our very existence is worth a punt is not always easy. VR is exciting and when you combine the two mediums you get a subject that is appealing to people young and old. Never before have we been in a position to understand ourselves and our surroundings so well.
The Benefits for Businesses
When you consider how Science can help businesses the ideas are endless. Science benefits business and VR provides a willing audience.
Many stores use VR installations as a method of pulling customers through the doors and showing the process that a consumable goes through when being created will help to educate people before they buy it. You can go one step further and also use VR to show people the impact of their purchase on the wider world through VR infographics and sound bites from the people that are affected positively and negatively.
Businesses that center around transport can harness the power of VR when designing new cars, airplanes, and trains. You can take a newly designed airplane and use VR to learn how to fly it or to work through the crash process if the unexpected tragedy happens. Science is big when it comes to business and having the ability to look at systems and processes through VR headsets is helping to speed up the processes that businesses go through to get an item onto the market.
Medical care is expensive in America and many keen students want to advance to becoming the next great surgeon but with more trainees and less money than ever, VR has stepped in to help. Medical science studies are accessible on VR and trainees can now learn complex procedures all in a virtual world. This may sound insane but it takes away the need to wait for a patient to present with specific symptoms before a trainee can practice.
Using VR to teach med trainees means that they can access virtual sick people and try to cure them through surgery or medications. There is no risk to life and the tech is so good it feels real. The other great aspect is that if something goes wrong you can reset and try again until you have successfully cured your patient. This type of science-based training gives trainees the ability to try out hundreds of different scenarios so that they can learn different ways of curing similar problems.
VR Science on the Drugs Market
It’s well known that the American drugs industry is worth billions of dollars every year and new and innovative drugs are finding their way to the market. Many drug companies are engaging with VR as a way of studying the effects of new drugs ready to report to the FDA. Once a drug is approved VR still continues to offer it’s worth by helping scientists continue to research how it interacts with cells and with other drugs – it’s as close to real-life as you could ever imagine and VR is the reason that many new drugs are now saleable.
We’ve all heard of Fortnite, the game that our children are keen to play but the technology behind the game is now being used by scientists to help them visualize the structure of molecules. It has been named 4Sight and can give scientists the information they need on which drugs to administer to create changes in these molecules.
Some of the treatments that are being researched thanks to this software help addiction, cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. We recognize that we have made huge advancements in all of these areas but that cures are still not forthcoming and so by using VR we now able to take our previous knowledge one step further.
Before 4Sight, scientists would create molecular models to consider how a drug may affect the make up of these structures. This was done in real life or created via a computer program but with VR, scientists can actually get hold of the virtual molecules and watch how they respond to different stimuli; a revolution for the system that takes approximately 10 years to come up with a new, marketable drug.
Does Science Need VR to Survive?
Science is all around us and will always be there. For us to understand the world and ourselves we need to understand science and so whilst VR can make it easier it won’t stop being there if VR goes away.
However, the capabilities VR gives us, when it comes to developing our knowledge and understanding, are unparalleled and it seems that it will only grow in popularity over the coming years. Anyone interested in science or studying science should accept that the opportunities that VR can offer are phenomenal. From the advancement of drug production and disease control to chemical studies and getting to see planets and stars in action – VR in science is a truly beautiful thing and we hope it only grows in its capabilities.
The use of VR in the scientific community will likely mean more people will want to join. By using the technology to show people at a young age how amazing science is, it is predicted that more young people will want to pursue a career in science, regardless of which area they end up going into. VR will allow for faster scientific discoveries once it is adopted as a common tool which will create even more excitement in the science world and, as science affects us all every day, utilizing VR in science will no doubt have a beneficial impact on all of us.
Web development doesn’t seem like the type of thing that will be using or moving towards using VR Technology. We know that accessing good quality VR that is totally immersive and interactive means hooking up your VR headset to your computer, using a standalone VR headset or viewing content such as 360-degree videos on your phone through a cheap headset.
Websites are not something that we associate with VR but with the developments that are currently happening it is certainly something that is set to expand. Imagine heading to a website, putting on your headset and navigating your way through the pages, interacting with the parts that are of interest to you in a totally new way! It’s becoming a reality that many people weren’t expecting and it is slowing changing the way in which the world wide web will work forever.
What Does VR Look Like Currently in Web Development?
The technology for VR websites is in its infancy at the moment so it isn’t something that we can just log onto the web and find, even if we are fortunate enough to own our own VR headset. However, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t yet a thing! In fact, VR on the web was tried out about eight years ago and just didn’t take off – a story we keep hearing about the rise and fall of VR everywhere! Now that VR developments have been made and the web is a more powerful place to be able to manage the VR technology, it is time to try again and this time it is set to change the way we surf the web forever.
WebVR was created back in 2014 as a new approach that is designed for modern internet browsers, starting with Mozilla. In 2016 it was expanded to Chrome, Firefox and Samsung’s virtual reality web browser. WebVR allows website users to access content that is created in 3D and displayed through a VR headset. Headset and controller tracking has also been developed so that the user has a presence and can interact with the virtual world created by the website. Rather than sitting at your computer and getting glazed over you can now be part of what is happening right there on your screen.
The Best Names in VR Web Development
Samsung is a tech giant that is already heavily associated with virtual reality and so it should come as no surprise that they are also involved in VR web development. Samsung already has its own internet browser, Samsung Internet, which comes as the default with Samsung Galaxy devices. Taking that web browsing capability further, Samsung has created an environment where browsing the web becomes a much more immersive and engaging experience when a person combines their web browser with the Samsung Gear VR.
Sotheby’s International Realty is a real estate company that is using VR to provide 3D tours of properties to potential buyers. In order for this VR tour experience to be truly impressive, the website needs to be able to host VR content. This means being able to access the website and then accessing the VR tours of the properties that you are interested in seeing. Potential buyers can have a virtual experience of the properties rather than just looking at photographs and trying to get a feel of what the property will be like.
Facebook, Microsoft, and Google are some of the biggest names in the development of VR Web Development and this makes sense as they are the companies most likely to make megabucks from the VR web platforms if they can get them out for people to use soon. Because they have invested so much money the development has been able to happen quickly and the reality of VR webpages is literally just around the corner.
Why VR Web Development is Great
One of the benefits of VR content on the web is that it makes it much easier for the user. With the web it is possible to create VR content and upload it, making it available across the world. Any user can then simply go to the website and view the content through their VR headset. There is no need to access content through different apps for different content because it is all available through a URL. This also means that content doesn’t need to be downloaded and with long download times being a constant headache for VR users and developers alike, the chance to move away from the downloads is a welcomed one.
The possible uses of VR in web design are pretty endless. Whether a retail website is being built that will allow customers to virtually try before they buy or a travel website wants to allow customers to take a walk along the sandy beaches that they are choosing between. Having a VR capability on a website gives users an experience that they simply can’t get anywhere else and as consumers become more demanding, they want to know exactly what they expect before they choose to part with their money.
When it comes to big purchases such as holidays, houses or even cars, having the ability to virtually experience them before making a decision is almost as good as experiencing them in the real world.
The Benefits for Businesses
The main benefit that having VR web development has on businesses is that it gives them an edge over the competitors. For a company such as Samsung, the benefits of investing in the development of virtual reality web browsing are that the brand becomes well known for the VR content and when people are choosing their VR gear, they are likely to think of them first. VR web development also gives.
For any business that chooses to use the VR web, the opportunities that are open to them seem endless. Allowing their products or services to be experienced by potential customers gives these businesses the best marketing they could wish to have. As VR tech develops and becomes more common, it is likely that the companies who have been investing in and using VR web will have the advantage. When VR headsets are a common household item we will come to expect the websites we visit to be immersive, engaging and interacting. For the businesses who don’t keep up with this technology, they will get left behind
The Downsides of VR Web Development
The main issues surrounding VR web development are obvious and something that needs to be considered when creating worlds that may be more alluring than everyday life. By encouraging greater use of VR on the web then we are also promoting fewer opportunities for human connection and the possibility of addiction to the virtual world that people enjoy. More work needs to be done to safeguard users and ensure that there are mechanisms in place to keep users safe from online harm.
The age-old issues with technology are apparent with VR on the web and tech is only good when it actually works. Functionality issues cause serious stress and web creators will need to work with infrastructure providers to make sure that people can gain access whenever they want as this is what humans are now accustomed to! However, if these issues are highlighted and actions put in place to help then the future of VR web development looks bright.
Another downside of VR on the web is that the more we can do through virtual reality the less we may start to do in the real world. Having the ability to browse the web in an immersive way and interact with websites to view places or items is fantastic for people who aren’t able to do those things in the real world, or who find it difficult.
However, for many people who are able to able to visit places and have real-life experiences, it may start to become too tempting to stay at home and do it all virtually. Ensuring that we keep the right balance between our real lives and virtual lives will become trickier as more and more becomes available to us via the VR web!
Does Web Development Need VR to Survive?
Absolutely! When you consider that the forecast for the VR global market is set to hit over $40 billion by the end of 2020 you will see why these businesses want to get you to engage with what they have to offer. VR needs to evolve into allowing everyone access to the internet in a way that suits their needs best and web browsing is a key part of our needs.
With the web getting a VR makeover people will be able to access everything for their headsets from one place rather than having to get individual apps for everything and it is this that will allow companies to make lots of money and let us use VR for everyday surfing. VR is well and truly out of the box and it seems that this time no one will be able to put it back!
The artworld is revered and getting to see priceless works of art is a pastime many people have enjoyed but how is VR changing the place of art in society today?
We can put a headset on and enjoy a virtual gallery experience, missing out on long queues and having to crane your neck to see the wonder of famous pieces up close. You can explore the history of art with programs that show you where the most famous artists got their inspiration or where they grew up; if you love art then VR is changing how you can immerse yourself.
VR doesn’t just stop at works of art that have gone before and there are many upcoming artists that are using VR to create original works of art for people to enjoy. Cynics out there may think this sounds absurd but you’d be surprised at how great VR is when being used as a tool for creating timeless works of art.
What Does VR Look Like Currently in Art?
There are many ways in which VR is being used in the art world and people are going crazy for it, take a look at the main ways you can access art through your VR headset today and then jump right in and start enjoying it. Art is for everyone and we are certain you will find some style of creative expression that fits with what you love.
If you want to get your head around a piece of famous art but find that when you visit them you can’t get close enough to see the detail you long for then using an art app like Art Plunge gives you the chance to get up close and personal with some of the greatest work ever done. Imagine being able to zoom in close enough to see the brushstrokes or see the art in situ from the time it was created. These things are possible with art apps that are already on the market and some of them will even add music and lighting akin to the time it was created so you get the full experience as the artist would have.
Apps like Google’s Tilt Brush allow people to create virtual works of art from scratch. The artist immerses themselves in a virtual workspace and can create art to fill that space in 3D. Paintings are done with different brushstrokes and the finished article looked like a piece of art that has come to life. You can then traverse around the piece, adding detail or just taking in the creation you have found, this is immersion at it’s very best.
Let’s not forget that art is not just painting and there are other types of art being created every day; murals, sculptures, simulators, and illustrators can all make good use of VR to create installations for the masses. It really is quite something to put on a headset and find yourself in the middle of an artistic creation. Some long-standing artists have now taken to creating their work in VR and are not shy about sharing why they feel it is the way forward as work can be kept securely and is not easily replicated.
It may seem funny at first but collecting art on VR is genuinely possible. Many artists spend their time creating VR art for all the enjoy but this doesn’t pay their bills and artists who use VR as a medium need to get income from somewhere. One thing is certain; VR art collection is growing rapidly and if you want to get your hands on VR art then you would be wise to do it before the boom hits!
Imagine getting your very own piece of VR art that only you can show to those you want to share it with; this is happening already all over the world as some artists work to create art that can be sold exclusively to one person. If you want to collect VR art you need to get in touch with a VR art specialist who can connect you to the catalogs of work that are available to purchase. You will get access to the artwork and any peripheral items the artist includes with their work; for example, you may get access to an overview of their work style or the process they used to create your work.
If the backstory to pieces of art is more your thing then art history can come to life in VR. You can walk in the footsteps of prolific artists and see the places where they created their seminal works of art. Get to know a specific art period better and find out who artists used as their muse. Look at the history of art in religion by popping to the Vatican or even spend some time in Van Gogh’s home to know what he was able to see when he was painting.
All these things come to life in VR and mean that you can leave the textbook on the bookshelf. There are many apps that are dedicated to bringing art history to life and VR will give it an edge that you have only ever been able to achieve by visiting places before – it will change the way we teach art forever!
Going to an art exhibition has previously been something that is seen as elitist and only for serious art collectors. With VR, art exhibitions are now a reality for anyone with a penchant for beauty. You will find there are two main types of VR art exhibitions; ones made by a single artist to show their work and ones created by art sellers to show the works they have for sale. Either way, VR art exhibitions are inclusive and allow a diverse network of people to gain access to some of the greatest work on the market today.
The Best Names in VR Art
Even though many people may not have realized there was such a thing as art, there are many artists that have been using VR as an art form for many years. If you are considering developing a taste for modern art then you would be well advised to look out for these leading names:
Elizabeth Edwards uses 3DS Max and ZBrush to create work that embraces the magic 3D brings. Her work typically creates a scene for the user to explore and you can work your way around the piece, looking at the many aspects she has managed to place. It’s amazing to see the talent she has conveyed through VR.
Stuart Campbell has been in the art world for some time but has moved into the VR world to create interesting pieces that make you question the world around you. His take on the human condition is fantastic and he uses Google tilt to make each piece of work that he currently has on offer. He is well worth looking up and has lots of his work online so that people can gain access to enjoy it for free.
Gio Napkil is a VR sculptor who takes his influence from sci-fi and horror films, creating fascinating and often disturbing pieces that make you question everything. Not only does he work on creating VR art but he is a sculptor of film characters and designs game assets for Valve Corps. His current day job is at Oculus and he is committed to helping as many people access VR as possible.
Philip Hausmeir is a German VR sculptor who has a Masters in Fine Art; he currently lectures in a German university but loves to create original works of art through VR. He is a keen advocate of using VR in the arts and can often be found extolling the virtues of VR art in lectures all over the world.
Rachel Rossin is an experimental artist that spends her time trying to merge reality and art with VR. Her passion is to imagine how the world would look if it were all virtual and her art crates this as a viable possibility. Her tech skills are second to none and her ability to use her knowledge of tech and art to create something unique is really something to behold.
Jon Rafman is a famous digital artist who has worked in the VR and tech world for a long time. Prior to creating VR art, he worked with Google Street View. He explains that his art tries to convey how humans are always looking for meaning and that tech doesn’t give emotions so that the two will never be able to fully understand each other. It’s this conflict that he likes to use as his subject when creating art.
Jordan Wolfson is a VR sculptor and photographer that likes to make the viewer question what his motivation was when he was creating art. This enigmatic approach has helped him to create some of the best VR art that is out there and some of the most difficult to watch. He gives viewers something to watch that they will probably never actually experience and it leaves you questioning humanity as with his project ‘Real Violence’. It’s raw and uncomfortable and people love it!
Nicola Plant is a movement artist and coder who has combined her love of art and technology in her Ph.D. She uses her artwork to question the movement of humans and shows the human experience through her work. With her skills in art and tech, she has been inundated with job offers and currently worked on creating a creative platform for artists in Fish Islands Labs. Her work is well regarded all over the world and will pique your interest no end!
Shezad Dawood is an artist and sculptor who explores the differences between film and painting. He doesn’t work in isolation and uses collaborations to create works of art for people to enjoy.
He creates installations that span time and reach across the globe to help his audience really understand his motivation. He is a great storyteller and has produced some amazing work.
Ian Cheng is different from other VR artists and he creates simulations with characters that are coded to do what they want when they want to so you never know what will happen next. It’s a fascinating way of exploring his versions of reality and will leave you questioning the human experience and how we all dance to our own tune.
Why VR Art is Great
The great thing about VR art is that is it really is inclusive; people from all over the world can come together and enjoy art like never before. Artists don’t need to wait for galleries to agree to show their work because they can show it and market it themselves.
VR is opening doors in the art world that have been locked to the public and people are loving it. Now you put a headset on and seriously consider some of the greatest works of art without spending a penny on entry fees or guidebooks. You can engage with artists and discuss works of art. You can even buy your very own piece of VR art that you can look at and enjoy forevermore.
VR art is a great revolution for the art world and all art has to start somewhere. VR is certainly the right platform for this wave in digital creations and we can’t wait to see what comes next!
Does the Art World Need VR to Survive?
Art will always be needed even if it is not in VR and the art world could cope if VR was to stop tomorrow but what would be missing would be a new art medium that allowed artists to convey their work in a digital format unlike any other.
Art is created for people to enjoy and by utilizing tools like VR art more people can have access and enjoy pieces that have been created over the history of time. So, no art does not need it to survive but art isn’t about survival, it’s about living and if you ask us VR art helps to breathe life into art new and old.
Architecture and architects have created some of the most amazing buildings all over the world and now VR is helping them to do it. Rather than the times where a single person would stand at a drawing table and design a whole site from start to finish, now there are VR architecture teams that are designing and discussion buildings in the cloud.
The need to be in the same office or country is no longer a requirement and architects are collaborating to come up with new and exciting builds. Virtual hangouts are growing and clients are invited to enjoy their new building designs from behind the headset.
It’s not just in meetings and designing that architects are using VR; advertising, marketing, and visualizations are just some of the ways that they are engaging with the public to muster support and get feedback. It’s truly a great time for VR in this industry.
So, with the price of headsets reducing and the increase in technological abilities, VR is a sound choice for the architecture industry. Long gone are the days when an architect turns up on-site and is disappointed by how the final building looks. Now, you can see it and tweak it all in VR before the first brick is even laid.
What Does VR Look Like Currently in Architecture?
VR is being used in more than one way in architecture and clients are excited by the options that have become commonplace in an architecture office! We wanted to take you through some of the exciting areas of development and share how they are being used to improve the ways buildings are created and the ways people are collaborating:
VR hangouts give firms the capabilities to get their architects into one space to collaborate on work that has either been done or is in progress. Buildings can present many issues and having lots of people iron them out together increases productivity and creativity. There is also something great about being able to share a space that an architect has created and gather feedback from colleagues before preparing a final version for clients.
Client viewings in VR give firms the edge when it comes to marketing and retention of clients. The excitement a client will get when they see their building in VR will be palpable and this excitement will be shared, creating new business with very little effort. The other great aspect of showing a client a building in VR is that changes can be made to suit them rather than agreeing on a set of designs and being met with a disappointed client after the build is complete.
Designing in VR is getting easier as time moves forward and one of the best reasons for using VR in the design process is to get to see exactly what a concept will look like. As technology continues to evolve, we are seeing the capability to design whilst in VR begin to emerge and this is a game-changer for architects as there will be no need to go back and forth between devices; a long and arduous process that puts some people off the wonders of working with VR.
Portfolios are what bring clients in and having your portfolio in VR is an incredible asset. Literally taking potential clients through some of your best work will show them the level of design that you put into each project as well as seeing the awe they feel when they see your work in 3D! The idea of getting to see projects in 3D is incredible and this way of storing prior work seems to be a hit with potential customers!
The Firms That Are Using VR Architecture Every Day
WHA Inc. is an American firm that uses VR to give clients the chance to see a project before they commit to having it built; frame-walks and spatial visualizations can be shown and then discussed so that each building meets every individual client’s requirements. The firm also uses VR to help market their properties and report that it is driving lots of business to their doors.
Designhaaus in India is a firm that is focusing its efforts on using VR in the design process. They state that by using VR they can visualize better and this improves their capabilities when it comes to really understand the building and conveying exactly what is needed to the people that eventually build their designs.
DeForest Architects in America utilize VR but to host meetings rather than creating virtual tours for the public. The reason they chose was to avoid clients and employees from having to spend time traveling across the country to advise on projects and they haven’t looked back. If you work with them you can expect to meet in a VR space that allows clients to see how their project is progressing and to ask questions they may have about the build.
MarmonMok is another American firm that is using VR to help with engagement. When they were hired to renovate the Shrine of St. Padre Pio Church, they were concerned that the public wouldn’t understand the scale of the project and so took to VR to help show them. Setting up a VR installation allowed people to see what was going to take place before it happened and the public loved it, supporting the project through until completion.
Whilst all these firms have used VR in different ways, it is incredible to see how it is shaping the architectural landscape and goes some way to proving that VR is needed in this industry. There are firms all over the world that are utilizing the power of VR to suit their business needs and the fact that VR is so versatile means that if you can imagine a new way to use it then you are likely to find someone that is working on creating it. Each day brings new innovation and it’s firms like these that are leading the way.
Great Benefits of VR Architecture
There are many benefits to using VR in architecture, from avoiding lots of revisions to sharing concepts with colleagues; some of the greatest things about the use of VR are also the simplest. Rather than trying to use VR in the most complex ways, architects have taken to redefining their daily basics to help avoid wasting time and effort so that they can put it back into the buildings they love creating.
Money is always a concern when introducing new ways of working and VR is often touted as an expensive way of doing things but in reality, it has pretty low start-up costs for firms. A medium-sized firm would need a few high-end headsets and some decent computer hardware. In dollars you could get up and running for under $8000, a cost that will be repaid tenfold from the excitement it creates and productivity it brings.
Another great thing about VR architecture is having something that not all forms have invested in! Getting the edge over the competition is difficult when you are all using the same equipment and methods of work. VR offers a new way of doing things and it is something that people are intrigued by so you will pull in clients and new employees who want to engage with a firm that uses cutting edge tech like VR.
VR architecture can work hard for your client even after a building has been agreed upon. Testing and timing routes, emergency exits and fire escapes are all valuable. By using VR to do this before a building is even finished you will save your clients time when it comes to getting the doors open and they will thank firms for it in the form of a fee they can charge to offer this additional service.
VR Experts That Are Supporting the Architecture Industry
It’s not just architects and their firms that understand the benefit that VR brings to projects but many VR studios are now designing applications that will help architects take their work further in the VR arena.
It’s sometimes really hard to explain what is inside your head and this has never been truer for architects. Stambol Studios have helped to bring architects applications that allow them to create animations of buildings for clients to engage with so that they can show them the way they see a project progressing without having to try and convey it in words.
If you’ve ever wondered how a projection works that this firm can explain and make them for you! IrisVR, Inc. help firms to convert 3D models into VR projections so that clients can get a sense of what a building is going to look like. Their work has proved so popular that they have been interviewed on some of the biggest news channels.
When you are choosing a firm to employ for your building it’s good to get an idea of what they can produce before you even pick up the phone. Archilogic has created software that helps firms to create VR models they can display on their websites for people to engage with. This software is vital to firms that want to reach new markets with their designs.
Getting support from the community when creating a large scale project has never been more important. theConstruct software is used to give people a sense of what a building is going to look like when it is completed. It can be put on site to show members of the public what to expect so they can be kept up to date on what is going on in their area.
CubicVR software has taken the traditional CAD and mixed it up with game design tools to give architects a tool that can show clients designs in a fun and innovative way. The software can even create a 3D model if one hasn’t yet been made and this is a really great way of garnering interest in a future project.
Virtual tours are no longer a new way of looking at things but Around Media has helped to push them forwards buy helping architecture with the software it needs to make personalized virtual tours of their building plans. People can now stick a headset on and see what will fill the empty lot they want to work on. The client and architect can walk around together and discuss exactly what is happening and when so that everyone is on board and knows when each milestone will be completed.
Does Architecture Need VR to Survive?
Architecture will always be needed if we want to develop how we design the world around us and so whilst VR isn’t absolute in the field it seems that it will become more popular with architects all over the world.
Rather than completing complex drawings that baffle clients, architects will enjoy showing them their creations in VR, bringing every aspect of a project to life and being able to tweak and change parts of designs that either doesn’t work the way they were imagined or that don’t suit the client.
It’s common sense that architects are pioneering new ways of meeting with clients and contractors as they can all be located far away from the firm’s office. By utilizing VR hangouts, architects can bring all the people who are creating a project together to ensure they are all on the same page and all aware of the client’s requirements before they even begin to work.
This method of meeting seems to be set to stay as it saves time and money for all involved and helps to avoid situations where people are unhappy with how a building turns out. We think that many businesses will take their lead from what architects are achieving in VR.
The future seems to be technical when it comes to architecture and it makes perfect sense that an industry that relies on design and innovation would combine its power with VR to offer a more immersive and exciting way of understanding how buildings really work. It’s only logical that this foray into VR will help to produce better designs than ever before!
Virtual reality could be considered the perfect technology to use in education. The entire concept of the technology is to provide the user with an experience. But not just any experience, a simulated, life-like experience that is built to resemble the real world as closely as possible.
When it comes to education, the most effective way of getting people to learn is to show them, or even better, to allow them to experience whatever you are trying to teach them. This is particularly true of young children who we see exploring the world and learning from it. At some point, we began to expect young people to stop exploring and to learn in different ways and we move away from allowing them the chance to experience things. Bringing virtual reality into education opens up a massive amount of potential for young people to learn through experience.
Virtual reality in education is not just focused on schools, as universities are starting to see the potential in the technology and workplace skills are a huge area of development for virtual reality. Whilst the technology is being used in some areas, it is by no means a common addition to the toolkit that educators use which is disappointing as the potential it has is fantastic.
What Does VR Look Like Currently in Education?
You might think that with the evidence suggesting virtual reality is a great way of educating people that it would be popular in education. However, this is not the case in a lot of areas. There seems to be a misconception about how much virtual reality would cost to bring to the classroom and so education facilities are reluctant to commit to it.
It is clear that it is expensive to bring high tech virtual reality headsets, computers with the specs good enough to run the headsets and all of the software and hardware required to have a truly virtual experience where people can interact with their surroundings and ‘do’ things to learn, i.e. science experiments, interact with objects that are ‘seen’ during a field trip, etc.
However, this isn’t the only way of bringing virtual reality into the classroom or training room. Software such as Google Expeditions is already being used by schools to allow pupils to experience other places. In effect, it allows pupils to go on field trips without having to leave the classroom, meaning that it’s cheaper, more time effective and almost anywhere on earth can be visited.
Apps such as this are free and when combined with a cheap headset such as Google Cardboard the exploration of faraway places, ancient places or places that no school trip would ever be able to go becomes possible. ‘Seeing’ something is much more memorable than reading about it in a textbook and the education field is acknowledging this.
Unimersiv is also a great current example of how virtual reality can be used effectively in education. The app is designed to enhance the way people learn new languages and is combined with the Oculus Rift headset at present. When learning a new language, it is often said that the best way to learn is to immerse yourself in the language.
Whether you are learning at school or at home, this is often not possible because the people around you don’t speak the language. With apps such as this, learners can place themselves in virtual simulations where the language is used constantly. This realistic simulation can trick the brain into thinking that the experience is real and so it heightens its concentration on the language. It’s also a fun way to learn while you interact with others through games and socializing.
The Best Adopters of VR Education
Three main fields have embraced the use of virtual reality in terms of educating.
Flight training is something that adopted simulation to get pilots to a safe point before allowing them to pilot a real aircraft a long time ago. As soon as the technology became effective enough to simulate a reasonably realistic scenario, mode cockpit was built and trainee pilots took to the virtual skies. This is an effective way of training but many argue it is still not realistic enough to create the feeling of risk.
Virtual reality has been developed to create a more realistic feeling to allow trainees to feel as close as they can to flying a real aircraft. This has been introduced in many flight schools with headsets being worn, bringing down the cost of training as no more million-dollar, moveable, model cockpits will need to be made.
Medical school is another early adopter when it comes to using virtual reality in training the doctors of the future. The main reason for using virtual reality simulations for trainee doctors is that there is no risk to an actual patient, while at the same time it should feel as real to the trainee so they work under the pressure that there could be a risk to the ‘patient’. These types of simulations allow for mistakes to be made during training with no big impact and as many people learn better through making mistakes, it should prove to be more effective.
Trainees get to repeat scenarios and learn by their mistakes and as the technology improves and artificial intelligence is embedded in virtual reality education, scenarios will become more real and adaptive to the person in training.
In a similar way to medical schools and flight schools, the military has also discovered the benefits of using virtual reality in their training. High-risk situations can be simulated and practiced with no real risk, allowing for better training of military personnel. However, whilst all of these fields have proven that they are invested in the development of virtual reality and are already utilizing the technology to some extent, there is a way to go to become the normal way of providing the education.
The Benefits for Academics
It can be difficult to get the attention of the person you are trying to educate and so any tools to help with this will benefit teachers and academics. They may not wish to admit it but for high school teachers, many of the pupils sat in their classroom won’t be particularly interested in the subject being taught.
Trying to get a young person to be excited about a subject that isn’t their favorite is very difficult but teachers have a job to do. Virtual reality can add that extra bit of excitement and something new to grab the attention of the pupils and allow the teacher to demonstrate why the subject is interesting. As learning through doing is usually the most effective, teachers should see the benefits of using virtual reality both in the classroom during lessons and on results day.
For university academics the challenges are slightly different but using virtual reality still offers solutions. Most university students will have chosen a subject that interests them and so the first hurdle of getting their attention to build interest is not as prevalent. However, academics need to sell their university courses to young people and virtual reality offers fantastic opportunities for this.
Having and using the technology in the teaching of the course will be a selling point to a lot of potential students because they will see the potential for learning and it’s also a new technology that people are genuinely excited about. The other way that virtual reality helps academics in education is to allow for virtual campus tours.
By allowing virtual reality tours, the university will be more accessible to a wider range of potential students and so has more chance to people ‘visiting’ the university. It is obvious that this is likely to lead to more young people taking up places on the courses that they get to ‘experience’ before making their final decision.
The Downsides of VR Education
Virtual reality is such exciting technology and has the potential to captivate young and old minds, increase retention of information and persuade people to engage with a topic. You would, therefore, be forgiven for thinking that it’s all a positive outlook. Unfortunately, there are some downsides to virtual reality in education.
Most notable is that virtual reality is just not being used as much as it could be. This could be due to educators not believing the technology lives up to the hype but could also be due to the cost, or a combination of both. Virtual reality is not a cheap technology to invest in and so educators are really going to want to understand the benefits before handing over large amounts of money.
Virtual reality is great but it is limited to what is input. Teachers often report that one of the things they like best about their job is that no two days are the same. With software, there will be an element of predictability and a lack of flexibility, simply because a program will be running. However, as technology develops and virtual reality combines with artificial intelligence, this will become less of an issue as the programs will learn and develop as they are used.
Functionality is also an issue with virtual reality. We all think technology is great when it’s working and wonder why we even bother with it at all when it doesn’t work exactly how we had planned it to work. Virtual reality hardware and software are not immune to functionality problems, and in fact, it is a technology that has been plagued with issues throughout its development.
Relying solely on virtual reality to deliver a class, training session or entire course could leave an educator with big problems if any part of the hardware of software does down.
How VR Can Make Education More Inclusive?
Virtual reality can create a very inclusive environment in education. It has the capability to allow young people who can’t attend school, or who can’t attend regularly, to have a classroom type of feel to their education. Studying at home can be isolating and even online study where you can ‘chat’ to other students doesn’t give the same type of feeling as being in a room with them. The social side of the technology can allow students avatars to be in the same and interact as if they were in class together.
A further way virtual reality makes education more inclusive is that it gives the same opportunities to all pupils. If all pupils are virtually visiting another country, it doesn’t matter about families finding the money for a trip, and there are no limits to the number of pupils who can. With virtual reality, no pupil needs to miss out!
Does Education Need VR to Survive?
Education doesn’t need virtual reality to survive simply because education will continue to exist whether or not virtual reality is adopted or not. However, if we were to ask whether education needs virtual reality to thrive, the answer could possibly be a lot different. The potential that virtual reality has to revolutionize the education sector should not be underestimated.
Pupils will always go to school; students will go to university and workers will attend whatever training they are sent on. This is not going to change because people will always need to be educated. However, as research shows people generally learn better through doing, once virtual reality starts to be used more regularly in education it is likely that the use will only continue to grow.
Once the positive impact of virtual reality on educational outcomes are measured and the cost of using it in the classroom comes down, virtual reality may become a normal part of education. At this point, we are likely to conclude that virtual reality is needed for education to thrive as if it is taken away once people get used to using it for learning, it’s likely that learning will not be as effective.
There is no denying that virtual reality is exciting technology. Massive progress has been made in various areas and the tech is now being used for far more than was probably thought about when the concept was first conceived.
But just because the technology has made impressive progress doesn’t mean that it is finished developing or that developers are slowing down in where they want the tech to go. The future of virtual reality and the possibilities of a virtual reality world are arguably more exciting than what has already happened to date.
The tech industry is a breeding ground for start-ups. Possibly because people see the potential and are happy to invest in technology, but also because the brains behind virtual reality developments are fantastic at seeing the potential and the gaps where it can be used. There are so many start-up companies that are utilizing virtual reality in ways that make things better, easier or simpler for businesses and individuals.
These are a select few of the start-ups that have been successful in recent years and the ways they are using the technology to make the future of our world better.
Oxford VR is Changing the Way Therapy is Delivered
Oxford VR is a brilliant example of a start-up that has been growing over the past couple of years and is attempting to revolutionize an area that you wouldn’t automatically connect with virtual reality.
Mental health is a topic that affects everyone whether directly or indirectly with one in four adults experiencing mental health issues at some point. Oxford VR is a start-up that brings virtual reality into the world of psychological therapy. As an organization, they are working closely with local health boards to develop and deploy virtual reality therapy for a range of conditions. With a team of clinicians and tech experts combining their skills and knowledge, a new form of therapy has started to emerge.
The therapeutic approach used by Oxford VR builds treatments using immersive technology to allow patients to experience high-quality simulated situations that they would not be able to access without entering a virtual world.
Starting with fear of heights treatment, the VR Therapy developed by Oxford VR has shown to be very effective where a virtual assistant guided the users through a cognitive treatment program. Following on from assisting patients with their fear of heights, Oxford VR is now in development to design virtual reality programs for mental health patients who experience depression and anxiety disorders including obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety.
Not content with that, Oxford VR is also a partner in the NHS-funded gameChange project which focuses on people with psychosis who find everyday life anxiety-provoking. Virtual reality is being used in conjunction with active coaching to allow people to move beyond their fears. By using virtual reality technology, skilled therapists do not have to find the time to go out into situations that are largely out of their control and patients find the idea of using virtual reality rather than real-world situations less frightening.
Research has shown this virtual reality method to be successful and Oxford VR is a start-up that is set to continue setting trends on how technology can be used to help people with mental health issues.
Education and Training Using Virtual Reality
The potential for virtual reality in the classroom, and anywhere else that people go to learn, is already being realized but it is far from being a common tool in the education sector.
Immersive VR Education is a start-up that wants virtual reality to become the norm in education and corporate training and has been showing the possibilities for several years now. This company believes that people learn best through experience and wants to create an environment where any situation can be created in virtual reality so people can ‘experience’ and learn from it.
The platform they use, ENGAGE, can be used to create a high-quality virtual simulation of a real-world workspace, meaning that training on aspects of a job role within the work environment can be completed without the workplace being disrupted.
Environments that would be too dangerous or not cost-effective to visit or recreate in the world can also be created in the virtual world. This can include places such as the bottom of the ocean, outer space or a disaster zone. The immersive technology allows people to feel as though they are in the situation and learn as they experience.
When people have an emotional reaction to something, they are more likely to remember it. By giving an experience rather than telling people about something, an emotional reaction is much more likely to occur and so the learning will be more effective. Imagine reading about a spacewalk in a textbook vs experiencing what a spacewalk is like through the mode of virtual reality.
The ENGAGE platform allows people to host educational classes, hold conferences for an unlimited number of people or have private tuition. All without anyone having to leave the comfort of their own home, or workplace.
As well as offering a more engaging way of educating people, Immersive VR Education also believes that a lack of interaction is one of the main reasons why people do not finish online courses. Virtual reality allows for people studying online to have an interactive experience in much the same way that they would if they were attending a real-world classroom. By using the ENGAGE platform to create a classroom environment for students to interact in, the number of students dropping out of online education should fall dramatically.
Practice Your Speech Before Delivering it for Real
Lots of start-ups want to change the world or revolutionize their subject field. Then there are ones that are content to set their sights smaller and make positive impacts for individuals. Virtual Speech is a start-up with big goals that ultimately make it easier for people to deliver presentations with confidence. Those people who can stand up in front of hundreds of people and deliver a speech at the drop of a hat probably won’t understand the need for this start-up but there will be thousands of people across the world ready and waiting to allow Virtual Speech to help them.
Anyone who has experienced stage fright or just suffers from nerves when they need to present in front of other people, regardless of the size of the audience, will know that building confidence in these situations is necessary.
However, whilst there is a lot of work that can be done ‘behind the scenes’ in terms of controlling nerves, practicing the speech and confidence building, it is very difficult to know whether the work has been effective until the person is stood in front of a crowd again. With Virtual Speech a virtual reality simulation allows people to experience being in front of an audience without having to actually be in front of the audience.
The technology is a lot more sophisticated than simply having a virtual audience in front of the person and this is where this start-up really delivers an exciting opportunity. Not only will the technology give you a virtual stage and a simulated crowd that can be customized to be more or less distracted depending on how awkward you want them to be, but the app will also judge your delivery of the speech.
It does this by analyzing your verbal and non-verbal communication including the pace of your speech, your hesitation on words, eye contact and interaction with the audience. The audience members will respond realistically so you get a fully immersive experience that you can learn from.
The scope of this technology is huge and Virtual Speech already offers a range of situations that people can use to practice their public speaking, including conference talks, job interview presentations, press conferences, and television appearances. By utilizing virtual reality, the options are endless; if it can be imagined, then it can be created.
Whist the app and the training packages on offer are great for people who suffer from nerves that they need to combat; it is also great for anyone who simply wants to make their presentation skills the best they can be.
Selling Houses is Quicker and Easier with VirtualSpaces
The world of real estate can be a challenging environment and anything estate agencies can do to help sell properties quicker will benefit their business. The process of selling a property is a notoriously long one that can see properties left on the market for months and even years. Two of the biggest barriers to selling a house are getting people through the door to see the property and potential buyers being able to visualize themselves living there. Virtual reality has the power to address both of these issues.
Firstly, getting potential buyers through the front door to look at a property takes a lot of doing. A property needs to be advertised and the marketing must make it sound irresistible. Many people looking to move to a new house will be working or have other commitments and so getting them to give up their free time to view a property is a massive barrier. VirtualSpaces allows potential buyers to view properties while staying in the comfort of their own homes.
The creation of a simulated property gives people the ability to walk through the house and get a feel for the size and scale of the property without ever having to make the journey to see it. This means properties can be viewed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If a person can’t sleep, they can pop their headset on and take a walk through a few properties that they might be interested in.
They don’t even have to be local properties. Not only can people view properties at any time of the day or night, but they can also view properties anywhere in the world. For those who are looking to make the move abroad, or even to a location a few hours away from where they currently live, being able to view properties without making the journey makes it so much easier and quicker.
VirtualSpaces also allows for potential buyers to walk around and get a feel of properties that are yet to be built. Any realtor who has tried to sell houses based on blueprints, architectural drawings and models will understand how difficult it is to get people to visualize and how people can’t get a feel for a property they can’t experience. This could reduce the need to build show homes and reduce the number of people who go onto what is essentially a building site to have a look around a show home that may not even contain the fixtures and fittings that the potential buyers would like to see.
If the first barrier of getting people through the door, in the real or virtual world, has been overcome the second barrier to selling a property comes into play. We have all heard the advice to ensure your property is decorated neutrally if you want to sell it so that people can visualize their own style being brought into the property. Not everyone does this and even when they do, people still struggle.
With virtual reality, there is the potential to not only allow people to take a virtual walk around the property, but the décor could be changed to suit the style of the potential buyers. If they can view the property in a way that they would like it to be, then they are more likely to be able to decide whether they would be comfortable in that house.
Virtual reality is beginning to be used to sell properties as start-ups should as VirtualSpaces show the benefit of using the technology for both the realtors and the potential buyers.
VR Technology Development
The key to success for VR is that it must keep pushing forward and finding new and innovative ways to improve. Developers are gaining more understanding everyday how to improve VR and newly qualified VR tech grads are bringing exciting concepts to the table. The question now is how VR can be developed and who has the expertise to make it happen?
VR Tech is Moving Away from the PC and the Mobile Phone
Mobile phones have been the vessel that has brought VR technology to the masses. With the creation of Google Cardboard, millions of which were given away for free to raise the profile of the technology, VR became much more accessible. Anyone who owns a smartphone could access VR content and an influx of VR 360 videos was produced on mass. YouTube had a dedicated platform to allow for 360 videos to be uploaded, Google brought Daydream into people’s lives and those creating the content felt like it was the way forward for VR.
Now it seems this is not the direction that VR technology is headed. The type of VR content that you can access on your mobile phone and view through a cheap headset is great for giving people a taste of what VR can do. It’s great for novelty experiences where people can don their headset and feel as though they are on a roller-coaster, jumping out of a plane to do a skydive or drifting in outer space.
In fact, the technology is great for giving people experiences of places that they wouldn’t otherwise get to see and the potential of this has been explored in previous sections. But we can’t escape the fact that some huge barriers and limitations simply can’t seem to be hurdled.
Using VR technology on a mobile device has implications for the user which are simple but ultimately put people off using their phones in this way. The apps that support VR technology tend to drain the battery life of a phone and using a mobile phone in this way means that people cannot use their phones as they usually would. This sounds obvious but many people don’t like to be disconnected from their phones and so they will engage with a VR app for a short amount of time but wouldn’t feel comfortable to give up their phone for a longer length VR experience.
The limited way people can engage with the content also reduces his desirability. Once someone has had their roller coaster or water slide experience, dived to the watery depths of the ocean to see the marine life or walked around the cities they never think they will get to visit in real life, the app becomes a bit redundant. Without being able to interact with their surroundings the technology becomes less impressive than they were expecting.
The success of mobile VR through smartphones has decreased and Google has even dropped Daydream from newer smartphone models. People want a truly interactive virtual reality experience and 360 videos just don’t deliver it.
You would think therefore that the virtual reality headsets that utilize the power and software of PCs and allow for an immersive and interactive experience would be the way forward. But no. Consumers don’t want to be held back by cables and wires and so the future of VR technology is definitely standalone headsets.
Virtual reality headsets are designed for virtual reality but are plagued by the need to be connected to a powerful computer and when developers have tried to move away from the PC connection issues with low-powered displays means that the virtual reality is less of an immersive experience and more of a frustrating experience. With the release of the Vive and the Oculus Quest as standalone headsets this year we can see exactly where the technology is heading and that there is a light at the end of the standalone headset tunnel.
It’s certainly not easy to bring the power and the quality that many PCs struggle to run into a standalone headset but that it was is wanted and so that is what the VR field is trying to give the people.
The Oculus Quest as a self-contained standalone device benefits from tracking and full-motion, freedom controls with a vibration that can track finger movements. In short, it gives users a fully immersive experience that is not restricted by wires getting in the way of movements.
This is ground-breaking stuff and the future is likely to hold more of the same in terms of technology development. Improving the quality of features such as eyeball tracking and increasing the field of view will help users to feel like they are interacting and exploring their environment in a much more natural way.
The future looks great for virtual reality in terms of being more portable and accessible. The market is certainly demanding a much more portable device and it is anticipated that the way the technology is developing, it won’t be too long before it will be possible to own and carry around a pair of virtual reality goggles/glasses that won’t need to attach to any other form of hardware. This will make the technology more attractive to a wider market and will allow VR to be used in a wide variety of ways in day to day life.
Combining Virtual Reality with Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is already being used with Augmented Reality in popular apps such as Snapchat or Instagram where features such as ears are placed ‘on’ the person being displayed in the image. Being able to move around and have the feature stay in place requires a combination of Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality which has proven to be immensely popular across the world.
Google has also developed a machine learning-enabled microscope that uses augmented reality to highlight tissue which is suspected to be cancerous as a pathologist looks at the samples through a microscope. The combination of artificial intelligence augmented reality and the expert skills of the pathologist are intended to produce the best possible chance of detecting cancerous tissues as early as possible.
Similarly, artificial intelligence is set to be combined with virtual reality in the future. Many of the ways in which virtual reality is currently used will be enhanced by introducing artificial intelligence to the mix. If we take a look at how virtual reality is used in skills training, we can see the potential. A virtual situation can be built to train people on how to respond which allows the trainee to understand their role and learn from what happens in response to their actions. This has limitations that the program will only respond in a way it is programmed to do so.
Therefore, if the trainee doesn’t act in a way that has been predicted and written into the software, there will be failings in the training. With artificial intelligence, the training scenario will become able to adapt to the person using the program and become a much more realistic situation. This can only improve the way that virtual reality is going to be used in the future.
Understanding and predicting events will become more accurate as the amount of data that is collected increases. With the increase in available data, artificial intelligence, particularly in the form of machine learning, will become more sophisticated. Add virtual reality to the risk and you get an extremely realistic way to train people and learn from previous events. When this can be used in situations that cannot be recreated easily in the real world, such as responses to natural disasters or terror attacks, it is shown to be a technology combination that will benefit us all.
Whilst the headsets on the market now have made huge steps forward there are still some major weaknesses that are to be worked out. For a completely realistic, immersive experience headsets need to, and are set to develop in several areas. The horizontal and vertical vision within a virtual reality headset will be made to match the fields of vision of humans. Better visuals will be achieved by using much higher resolution and eye tracking will be improved. These are all set to make the virtual reality experience more realistic.
For those who are waiting for virtual reality to offer a more realistic experience, these are the tech developments to keep an eye on as they are set to improve and with these improvements will come more realism.
Bringing Real World Workplaces to the Virtual World
As technology develops and becomes more sophisticated, using virtual reality to train employees will become commonplace.
Walmart currently uses Oculus Go headsets to train customers to develop a range of skills. These include customer service but also in technical skills such as using the Pickup Tower automated vending units. Learning this in a virtual reality world means that mistakes can be made and employees learn the risks without there being any actual risk to the employees or business.
The technology used to create a virtual workplace is set to continue developing as more organizations see the benefits of training their employees in this way. For environment-specific training, the virtual world must become as realistic as possible. This is where developments for the future need to focus; building identical replicas of a workplace or environment.
Become More Social with Virtual Reality
Facebook’s purchase of Oculus in 2016 sent a message out in the tech world that virtual reality has the potential and will be used to build online environments where people can exist in the same virtual worlds as they do in the real world.
Facebook VR Spaces was a VR app that allowed users to invite and interact with up to three of their Facebook friends. All friends needed to own a VR headset such as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and download Facebook Spaces to their PC. There were obvious limitations to this technology as only being able to connect with three friends did not create the social networking that people come to expect from a site such as Facebook and owning a VR headset is not yet a common thing.
It is therefore unsurprising that this was closed down in October 2019 as the company develops its replacement. In 2020 we can expect the release of Facebook Horizon which is pipped as being a virtual world where people can socialize and play together in new and exciting ways.
The newer and much improved VR platform is going to be a massive multiplayer world where people will be able to connect with other users from anywhere that has an internet signal. This addresses the lack of socializing that was available with its predecessor and opens up the virtual world to endless possibilities. Users will be able to step into this virtual world and create their own avatar as well as build their own environments if they feel inclined or wander around the other user-generated landscapes. Users will be able to play games or have a chat with friends in an environment where Horizon Locals will be available to police and support the activities.
The cost of VR Headsets is still an issue as to access Facebook Horizon users will need to purchase an Oculus. However, by the time it is released, It is anticipated that declining prices will encourage more people to invest in a VR headset. With an increase in the sales of virtual reality headsets, developments such as Facebook Horizon will become much more of a success. There is definitely a market for people who want to live a ‘virtual life’ and so whilst the tech may be aimed at increasing how people can socialize, it might tick the box for giving people the escapism they desire.
As previously discussed, Facebook recently bought Oculus, and this isn’t the only big-name activity that has been going on. Large acquisitions and investments have been made by big tech giants that show their dedication to virtual reality and the commitment to keep moving forward within its development.
To the public who have been eagerly awaiting VR developments that bring the technology to them, the progress seems to be slower than they would like. VR is still not a common household technology. However, this doesn’t mean that the investment in the technology or the commitment to making technology developments is slow or slowing down. In fact, the market forecast for virtual reality only shows progress and increase.
It is estimated that by 2024 the mixed reality market, which incorporates virtual reality and augmented reality, will be valued at approximately USD 18.96 billion, registering a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 44.74% over the forecast period of 2019-2024.
North America is set to continue to dominate as the market leader, mainly due to the location of many of the major VR companies being in this region. As VR adapts and branches out into the world of media and entertainment other than video games, it will no doubt be helped along by the fact that North America is also one of the largest markets for the media and entertainment industry.
The growth that the VR industry to set to enjoy over the coming years, in the short and long term, is based on several factors.
Virtual Reality to Become More Affordable
The potential that virtual reality has is vast, and it can be argued that it has not developed as quickly as you would expect technology with such an obvious market. One of the reasons for this is cost. Virtual reality is not a cheap technology to develop, which means that it is not a cheap technology to use or own.
For a long time, virtual reality was made for those who could afford it and so it has marketed at professions. Virtual reality has been popular in the gaming world but it has been an elite that could afford to actually use the technology regularly.
There was an attempt to remedy this issue with the creation of cheap headsets such as Google Cardboard and other similar offerings. As these need to be paired with a smartphone and only give the user a limited VR experience, usually in the form of a 360-degree video, they are not generally what the public is after in terms of a truly immersive virtual reality experience. Therefore, these headsets have really been more of a novelty to keep interest in VR alive, than a genuine VR experience as the technology has been marketed to the public.
VR headsets such as Oculus and HTC, for example, are not cheap and generally need a fairly expensive computer to allow them to run effectively. When you combine the cost of the headset and the computer it is not surprising that sales have consistently fallen short of the predictions made by the VR companies. As the standalone headsets become better in quality these are likely to lead to a reduction in price. Whilst the headset cost of the standalones is higher, no other hardware is required.
We have seen steady price cuts with the VR headsets and this will probably continue as VR companies realize that they need to sell more headsets for the VR interest to continue.
Small Players in the Virtual Reality Market
There is no denying that there are some big-name brands in the VR field and they are likely to continue leading the way with VR developments. With VR being an expensive technology to develop, it needs companies with the money to invest. However, one of the exciting things about the virtual reality market is that there is scope for development from anywhere and this is one of the things that is helping to drive the technology forward.
Crowdfunding is a great way of getting unknown, independent developers the investment they need to make a difference in the VR world. If we take a look at the success stories in VR from crowdfunding, we can instantly think of the Oculus Rift. With an original Kickstarter goal of $250,000, the company managed to raise almost £2.5 million which allowed for the Oculus we know and love today to become a reality.
Not just limited to headsets, crowdfunding has also seen the development of Unyte, which is an interactive meditation device that combines biofeedback technology, immersive digital and VR experiences to help people to meditate. Again, this Kickstarter campaign raised way above the $30,000 goal that was originally hoped for and the $204,408 is being used to bring some peace and wellbeing into the world.
These are two fantastic success stories, but there are many others on a smaller scale. VR is a great technology to be crowdfunded because this allows the potential consumers to have a bit of a say over what gets developed and what doesn’t. The Oculus was a success because the concept created excitement and people wanted to see it created enough that they would put their money towards it.
This type of funding isn’t going anywhere, in fact, it is becoming more and more common that projects get funded in this way and so it is definitely a driving force in deciding the direction of development. Not all projects will be success stories but the interest that is generated will be noted by the big companies who have the resources to move developments forward.
So, you want to know what the VR future holds? One thing is for certain, virtual reality is the future and the technology is set to develop rapidly over the next few years. Here are some of the key predictions that will explain the future of VR in our lives.
Headsets aren’t going anywhere… yet! Lots of people feel that the use of VR headsets is off-putting to potential users and want to see a solution for VR that doesn’t include them but that isn’t as simple as it sounds.
Many new technologies are being tested to offer new ways of engaging with VR but the content of apps has been designs for VR headsets and so headsets will be around for some time to come. The good news is that modern headsets are comfier than ever and when you get used to them you can enjoy all that VR has to offer!
Businesses will continue to help the rise of VR. VR gaming has stolen the limelight for VR and people can be forgiven for believing that this is all there is but slowly and steadily businesses are utilizing VR in a bid to increase productivity.
Many firms now use VR to hold meetings and to show clients walkthroughs and virtual tours to allow them the chance to see how a project is taking shape. Some firms are using VR to help them create a more streamlined production process or to create the product itself. The results are amazing and you can expect to see more and more businesses harnessing the power of VR in their marketing, sales, production and staff training from here on in!
Web-based VR is on the horizon and it is set to change the face of VR forever. Every new technology needs its moment and web VR may be the catalyst that sees people engaging more than ever with the tech on offer. Rather than clicking away at a keyboard, imagine engaging with the internet through VR.
It is said that the internet became mainstream with the web as people could use it easier than ever before. Hyperlinks helped to navigate and as it grew in popularity so did the capabilities of it. This is what is expected to happen with web VR. The new way of browsing is expected to become the catalyst to gaining more VR users than ever before and demand for it will increase, as will the capabilities VR brings.
Hardware will become more accessible and affordable. The current market has plenty of VR headset options but the prices of these vary wildly. From the cheap Google Cardboard to the top of the range HTC Vive Pro – headsets offer wildly different experiences that make the VR world difficult to access in the best way.
As demand increases, we will see tech released that is more affordable and that offers improved capabilities. The demand for VR tech will mean the component parts will reduce in price and VR research will improve; giving all of us the chance to access the amazing VR world!
Immersive training opportunities will help to develop employees. Professional development is an area that is being revolutionized by VR and opportunities to develop employees in a virtual world is allowing new and exciting improvements in the way businesses educate their workforce.
The future of professional development looks set to explode as more industries recognize the power of VR. Training people how to deal with dangerous and difficult situations will be easy as there is no risk with them getting things wrong in VR. It will also give the workforce easier access to the best people in the field as there will be no need to convene groups of people in one place to run a course, instead, people can meet in a virtual training room and go from there.
Standalone headsets will be in demand as people want more access to cross-platform apps. We are just seeing the Oculus Go come into play and with a headset that doesn’t require anything other than itself to run.
VR currently requires the majority of its users to access it through their computer or smartphone, essentially meaning that a VR headset is just a screen. With the introduction of standalone headsets, we will see people being able to access VR content from wherever they want without the need for other technology to run. The future seems set to be filled with these standalone headsets and it won’t be long before they are a common accessory in everyone’s bags!
Offices will be a thing of the past. Our current way of working doesn’t fit with how we all want to live and we are pretty certain that VR is the tech that will help change our work habits for the better.
Rather than having to get up super early and rush through your morning routine, virtual offices are set to give users the chance to get to work in a less stressful way. VR can provide virtual offices in which people can collaborate and still get through all their work without the need to pay for expensive office rental, equipment or furniture. Employees will be able to work from wherever suits them best and it is predicted that productivity would rise as the workforce would be happier.
Commuting will be less of a problem. It’s a common problem for workers across the world; your journey takes 10 minutes when the traffic is clear but when you want to go to work you can expect nearly an hour in your car before you can even switch on your computer.
This prediction goes hand in hand with the decline of real office space and VR is set to help reduce the burden on roads at peak times by providing opportunities to work from different locations. Rather than spending time waiting in a queue to get to the office, people with VR based offices can spend that time getting their work done and spending more time with the people they love. It benefits everyone and is a real possibility in the very near future.
Social communities will form online to allow people to share common interests across continents. VR is set the change the way we make friends and critics often suggest that the rise of VR will be the fall of humanity but we really disagree!
Mark Zuckerberg rightly pointed out that humans are intrinsically social animals and that people won’t be happy unless they can share their lives with others. VR will give us access to more people that share similar interests to ours from all over the world, allowing us to better understand other cultures and make friends that we may never have had the chance to meet before.
Social media platforms will take to VR to immerse users. The rise in popularity of social media has been a well-debated part of modern life. Whether it is or isn’t creating more problems than good it does seem to be set to stay and famous social media platforms like Facebook are investing in a VR future.
Rather than reading posts or watching funny videos, VR social media is set to allow users to interact with their friends and family in a better, more personal way. You are set to enjoy body movements so your avatars can physically interact, share real conversations rather than posts and enjoy life together without the need to be together. Facebook Horizon is the benchmark and all other platforms will evolve from there – it’s going to be interesting to see what comes of it all!
Games will evolve further and new capabilities will be formed. Currently, people are enjoying using their body movements to play games. Accessories are helping to provide more specific qualities and the gaming industry is seen as the pinnacle in VR development but we think it is only going to get better.
With new and exciting accessories in development and games that take immersion up a gear, games are set to continue being the VR trendsetters that we have come to know and love. Bigger and better graphics will help create worlds that feel so real you will be forgiven for forgetting about what lies outside of the headset.
Education will get some VR attention. Education has been an area that needs VR the most but has lacked in opportunities. This could be because it doesn’t draw in the kind of money that other areas do or that people have been unsure how to progress the education agenda in VR.
The future of VR in education looks to be filled with immersive experiences that will take students anywhere they need to go. Lessons will be taught in the place that they are learning about and class activities will be interactive and safe. At higher education level, students will be able to enjoy lectures without the need to sit in a cramped lecture theatre and adult learning opportunities will fit with the demands of work and family. We will finally be educating people to grow and embrace technological accomplishments like VR.
It’s clear that VR is set to stay, a technology that has been in and out of favor for decades now has the capabilities to become a part of a mainstream existence. So whether you plan to use it for work and entertainment, take part in crowdfunding to help develop it more or look to use it with your health and wellbeing, VR is set to change the way we live our lives forever. Let’s hope it all happens sooner rather than later!