The Evolution of Virtual Reality and Its Industry Applications

When discussing Virtual Reality (VR), many of us may recall science fiction movies like Harry Potter or Star Wars. However, the truth is that nowadays it’s a technology fully integrated into our daily lives. Video games, medicine, education, events… Virtual Reality has come to stay. But what exactly does it entail?

“We define virtual reality as: An environment of simulated scenes and objects that appear real. The most common usage refers to an environment generated through computer technology, which creates the sensation of immersion for the user. This environment is viewed by the user through a device known as virtual reality glasses or a headset. It may be accompanied by other devices, such as gloves or special suits, that enable greater interaction with the environment and the perception of different stimuli that enhance the sense of reality”

This concept, which may seem extremely futuristic, has roots dating back further than one might imagine. In fact, it’s believed that one of the earliest instances of Virtual Reality was the Sensorama, a machine with a built-in seat that showcased 3D films, emitted scents, and generated vibrations to create as immersive an experience as possible. This invention dates back to the mid-1950s, demonstrating that the idea of virtual reality is not as recent as one might think. Since then, technological and software advancements have been continuous, leading to significant improvements in both devices and interface design.

However, why is it so relevant in this 2024? Well… Virtual reality is no longer limited to the world of gaming and entertainment. Nowadays, the uses of virtual reality in businesses are diverse, ranging from training and marketing to design and shopping experiences.

Is it hard to incorporate virtual reality? What kind of technology do need for it?

To enable Virtual Reality (VR), a typical setup includes essential components such as VR goggles or helmets for image output, a processor integrated into the screen for operation, position sensors to track user movements, and software to manage execution and image processing. Beyond these basics, VR technology can incorporate additional sensors or peripherals for enhanced functionality, like audio systems, long-range sensors for spatial tracking, hand controllers for input, simulators for realistic movement replication, and treadmills for confined-space mobility. While the core technology relies on standard components like those found in smartphones, it offers adaptability to cover diverse scenarios and applications(EDS,2021).

Now that we know a bit more about VR, Is it worth Incorporating Virtual Reality in a small Business?

Provided the right concept is in place. In fact, one of its most impactful areas lies in small business marketing. VR systems offer a novel way to engage customers through immersive experiences in a virtual environment. From previewing a house before construction to exploring a factory before investment, from virtual travel to facility tours, VR technology offers customers and any small business the opportunity to integrate immersive experiences into their business strategy. Digital transformation presents a unique growth opportunity that can be tailored to any business mode. Why not yours?

How does it help on the industrial sector? Within the industrial sector, this technology has also begun to be utilized in various tasks. For example, an increasing number of companies are employing VR to enhance safety conditions within work environments or to create new products. It is used to improve safety and efficiency. For example, automakers are using VR so employees can explore the interior of a car without having to actually be there. This helps them identify potential problems.

“As more companies seek to leverage this technology (VR), VR hardware and software revenues will increase by 587% to reach $5.5 billion in 2023, up from $800 million in 2018,” states Business Insider Intelligence in its report titled ‘VR In the Enterprise.

Meanwhile, in its report ‘Learning through Virtual Reality,’ consulting firm Deloitte points out that “studies indicate that the adoption of virtual reality has significantly increased in recent years and is expected to grow even further across various domains in the coming years.”

Did you know that virtual reality is also used in training, marketing, and design? When it comes to training or education, VR allows employees to train for difficult tasks in a safe environment, without any real risk. Furthermore, VR training has provided companies with more flexibility in their training schedules and spaces.

In the realm of marketing, virtual reality offers immersive experiences that engage customers on a deeper level. Brands can create virtual showrooms, product demos, or interactive experiences that allow consumers to explore products or services in a lifelike environment. This innovative approach not only captivates audiences but also enhances brand awareness and fosters customer engagement.

VR can also help customers get a better idea of the appearance and functionality of a product. This has allowed architects and industrial designers to showcase their work without the need to materialize it.

Did you know that it is also used in medicine? Virtual reality has long been utilized in the field of medicine, particularly in training. Surgeons now use it to practice surgeries before performing them on patients, minimizing errors. Recent technological advancements have efficiently integrated VR environments into medicine, allowing for everything from virtual surgical practices that truly lead to motor learning to reducing the effects of Parkinson’s disease in patients. Additionally, VR is employed to assist individuals with anxiety disorders and phobias, recreating traumatic experiences so that individuals can work on coping mechanisms.

How is virtual reality used in retail and the real estate sector? Retailers are increasingly using virtual reality to offer shoppers an immersive experience that allows them to “try on” products from the comfort of their homes. Specifically, this technology can be used to personalize the consumer shopping experience and increase customer loyalty. Additionally, virtual reality can help retailers reduce returns and boost sales. Virtual reality can be used to view a property before purchasing it. This is possible through the use of VR headsets and goggles. With this, an individual can tour the property from the comfort of their home. Another use of virtual reality in the real estate sector is construction planning. This involves creating a 3D model of the property that can be viewed from any angle.

VR in tourism: As you may know, the tourism industry has been one of the major investors in this type of technology. For example, Thailand offered complex guided tours to the world market through the country’s most important tourist attractions with high-quality 360° images.

In the culinary industry, some brands offer Virtual Reality services to take customers to virtual environments around the world, depending on the type of food chosen. All of these stimuli easily attract customers who are constantly seeking new experiences.

What about event creation? At inmov we do implement VR as part of our strategy, Virtual reality is revolutionizing event creation by offering immersive experiences to participants. Event planners can use VR to showcase venues, provide virtual tours, and create interactive experiences for attendees. Additionally, VR can be used to simulate event setups, allowing organizers to visualize and plan every detail before the actual event. This technology enhances engagement and excitement among participants, making events more memorable and impactful.

To sum up, the advantages of virtual reality in the industry are diverse and significant. Firstly, it enhances employee training and development by providing realistic simulations in complex and hazardous environments, leading to greater efficiency and workplace safety. Moreover, virtual reality optimizes design and prototyping by enabling interactive and precise visualization of projects in sectors such as architecture, engineering, and manufacturing, thereby reducing costs and shortening development cycles. In the realm of marketing, immersive customer experiences offered by virtual reality strengthen customer engagement, improve decision-making, and increase brand loyalty. Additionally, virtual reality facilitates effective remote collaboration, allowing teams to work on joint projects regardless of their physical location, thus streamlining communication and problem-solving. Lastly, this technology contributes to process optimization and operational efficiency across various industries.

At Inmov, we also leverage virtual reality in our marketing strategies to provide our clients with unique and immersive experiences.