Virtual reality can transform your real life

Virtual reality can transform your real life

Imagine you are an online consumer and you are seeing the exact version of the thing you wish to buy say – house, car or even an outfit. Not just that but also make desired customization to the final product you will procure. Imagine the power it gives you to make the right spend. This is what Virtual Reality (VR) can do for consumers when transposed with multifarious business applications.

Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, famously quoted – “We’re making a long-term bet that immersive, virtual and augmented reality will become a part people’s daily life.”

There is no denying that Zuckerberg has stated the undeniable and the inevitable. VR is bound to become a part of our daily lives, as large as the internet or mobile technology. Head Mounted Devices might well be as much a part of our lives as the mobile phone and not too far off in the future either.

virtual reality (VR) headset

A user experiencing virtual reality (VR) headset

The need for VR is not too difficult to comprehend either. Today if you were to purchase your dream home, builders will present a vague notion of how that place would look like through demo flats (mostly filled with furniture and furnishings you would not be able to afford) or static 3D/2D visuals of the same. A student who desires to study ancient Egypt has to be content with boring text and monotonous images that are far from real. Shopaholics who wish to buy clothes or cool accessories online end up nursing grudges against unsatisfactory products due to often misleading images completely contradictory to how they imagined it would look on them.

Why leave all these purchases/decisions to faulty imagination? Why not virtually buy before you really buy?

Consider this. You as a consumer given the power to customise unmapped dwelling places as per your need and budget. Imagine yourself walking through the apartment or villa furnished to last detail before even the construction begins! Imagine a history student witnessing ancient Egypt come to life. How awesome would it be to say ‘Hi’ to a Pharaoh who passed away thousands of years ago? Or a Manchester United fan trying on the club’s jersey on an online portal; picking up the one that fits perfectly, just like it happens in trial rooms of malls without actually going to one! All this is no longer skewed imagination but reality. Virtual Reality (VR)!

VR has been around for a while but unlike the popular notion, its application is not limited to entertainment and gaming. There much more to VR than just witnessing special effects of a film. The reality is that the immense potential that VR holds hasn’t even been seen its tip yet; and no one knows what the iceberg looks like; quite virtually. The technology is evolving fast though and becoming more mainstream. Oculus Rift comes out with its consumer version first quarter if next year, HoloLens is a big focus for Microsoft and every augmented reality enthusiast is waiting for Magic Leap to unleash their magic (Google invested $542 Million in Magic Leap). Owing to this and the rapidly evolving consumer behaviour and digital ecosystem, VR is now set to impact everything we do.

Microsoft HoloLens VR headset

Minecraft gameplay through Microsoft HoloLens

E-tailers or Retailers are constantly brainstorming on innovative ways to appeal to and retain buyers. A way could be to give consumers a virtual tour of the entire e-store allowing them to examine all products in an immersive manner thus getting a real hands-on feel on the offerings. A car manufacturer based in UAE can showcase multiple virtually scaled models to a consumer sitting in LA. Not just the fastest selling models; the entire possible range. Real Estate can be as big as you want it to be and it will not cost what it costs in the real world. Go get a showroom or a warehouse as large as you want it to be; virtually!

VR’s potential must be acknowledged; and in many walks of life. For instance, a child with learning disabilities can better adapt to a customised VR training model. VR makes education fun by gamifying the entire learning experience which in turn breaks the shackles of conventional teaching-learning approach and spawns new methodologies. If we take medical science into account, its application is again enormous given its potential to train budding professional much more efficiently hence saving uncountable lives. Another sector where VR provides a rejuvenated peek into the future and fits naturally is Real Estate. Changing design of apartments, moving furniture around, changing colours of walls and curtains and even manoeuvring the lighting to realise how the place looks like during various phases of a day are some applications that are bound to revolutionise the way real estate sector operates.

What was primarily seen as a mere gaming technology; VR has far more deep reaching applications and implications across all significant industries.

VR provides interactive and futuristic environments that stimulate potential users in to experiencing products and spaces that haven’t even been physically built yet. Hence, it can only make the buying experience more immersive helping consumer decide & make a better informed spend. This unique ‘Immersive Technology’ (VR) can transform day-to-day way of being by putting the control back where it should be, i.e. with the Consumer. The time is not far when virtual reality will dismantle and disrupt the conventional decision-making process. Keep watching.

The author is the founding director of SmartVizX, a leading virtualisation firm that develops virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) solutions for business applications.

Categories: Analysis