Virtual reality, finally, is a reality that businesses now have access to. Even on a consumer front, dipping rates of VR headsets have made VR a strong and growing market, with tremendous scope for platforms that can enable businesses to leverage VR for process improvement and advanced marketing.
The market size is estimated to be on track for expansion to $485 billion by 2025. Considering how various industries are quickly endorsing and embracing virtual reality, the estimate isn't bloated by any means. In this guide, I will explore five ways VR will impact and empower businesses in 2018.
1. Product modeling, designing and prototyping
Whereas the time when people will be able to enjoy VR experiences from home and in stores for augmented shopping experiences is still far off, businesses have started using VR to implement futuristic product prototyping processes. Because it's tremendously more cost-effective for a business to design a product or a complicated component of a large machine virtually than actually, the application of VR in this space is likely to surge quickly.
Ford is a driver of innovation in the manufacturing world. The company claims that its engineers are able to save about $8 million per year by using VR technologies to design parts and test elements of new cars before going ahead with full-blown production.
Lockheed Martin is another terrific example. With its Collaborative Human Immersive Laboratory program, the company designs spacecraft using VR technology before coming out with physical prototypes. Of course, the setup costs for advanced VR tech-powered prototyping labs are inhibitive, but they're likely to dip pretty soon, enabling more businesses to start using them.
2. Immersive media experiences
It's pretty obvious that virtual reality can transform the world of media. Particularly for businesses, it means that they can advertise in ways never imagined before. Check out these examples of VR-powered advertisements.
Clearly, this is one way brands can differentiate their promotional campaigns from others and convey a clear message of technological supremacy in the market. Interactive messaging is another crucial component of futuristic brands' marketing campaigns.
The level of engagement and richness of the message that such advertisements can deliver is priceless. Immersive branding experiences can really make brands occupy the mind space of audiences like never before, and VR tech is powering this movement.
3. Novel business opportunities
Apart from enabling businesses to innovate in several aspects of their business processes, VR is also helping innovators create novel businesses with these technologies at the core. VR cafes, for instance, could soon be a hit. Just like traditional cafes, these social places will act as gateways for people looking for augmented and virtually enriched experiences. These cafes can offer options as varied virtual reality technologies themselves, including games, videos, social media experiences, team-building exercises, 3D book and content experiences, and virtually enhanced meditation.
VR gaming centers are another great opportunity for entrepreneurs. VR platforms such as Avatarico offer team-based VR entertainment franchising and licensing opportunities to businesspeople, who can just put their VR tech in place and start offering unique and inimitable entertainment in their cities, with tremendous ROIs.
4. Advancing the idea of working remotely
Ten years back, remote work was little more than a thought experiment that only corporations could afford. Today, technological infrastructures are so advanced that remote work is part and parcel of startups, SMBs and enterprises alike.
VR can take things to the next level. It can empower businesses to get the best outputs from remotely connected employees by delivering experiences to them. Whether it's a plant or warehouse tour, a team meeting, a training session, or a rewards and recognition program, VR can make the experience of remotely connected employees more enriching, realistic and valuable.
5. Solving ecommerce's biggest problem
The main thing that impacts ecommerce sales negatively is the fact that people are often unwilling to pay for stuff they haven't tried. VR technologies can make product trials and demonstrations possible for several product categories, giving prospects more clarity on what their post-purchase experience will be.
In real estate markets, VR platforms allow home tours to people from anywhere across the globe. Audi R8 offers a VR-powered "test drive from your living room" experience. Along similar lines, Airbus lets airline executives take aircraft tours without actually visiting a facility.
No business can afford to sleep on VR, because the moment a competitor starts ramping up its VR game, your business will need to follow it up.