While there is some disagreement among scientists as to what constitutes virtual reality, they all agree that it is composed of two basic elements. The first is that it contains three-dimensional life-sized images. The second is the ability to track the motions of users, including their eye movements, and adjust those images according to their perspective.
The user’s experience in a virtual reality environment is one of being totally immersed in another world and being able to interact with the environment in meaningful ways. That experience is referred to as telepresence, which computer scientist Jonathan Steuer defines as “the extent to which one feels present in the mediated environment, rather than in the immediate physical environment.”
A successful virtual environment should stimulate all the senses even though it may prioritize those of sight and hearing. Virtual reality pioneer Dr. Frederick Brooks says that a convincing user experience must project at least 20 to 30 frames per second. Increasingly, scientists are investigating ways to include the sense of touch. Systems that provide feedback and interaction through touch are called haptic systems.
When you want to get away from it all, virtual reality is a great way to do it. Computer technology has created the opportunity for us to take a vacation to a three-dimensional world we can explore and manipulate as if we lived in it. While many people use it for just that, virtual reality technology isn’t just for vacations anymore.
Virtual reality is being incorporated into many businesses and is being utilised by a wide range of industries. Sean Miller, the lead product manager at Century Link, believes that “We will probably see virtual reality and augmented reality have as direct an impact on society and markets over the next five to 10 years as we saw with mobile phones.”
Companies that utilize virtual reality technology are better prepared to remain competitive than those that don’t. From product design to manufacturing to reaching a greater number of potential customers, virtual reality has the potential to improve every aspect of the business process.
One example of this is car companies that have already used VR technology to create and test prototypes of new vehicles. This allows them to make alterations and eliminate potentially costly design flaws before production even begins. Thanks to this technology, costs are reduced, automobile safety is increased, and recalls could become a thing of the past.
Manufacturing isn’t the only industry in which VR technology is improving customer satisfaction. Virtual reality expert Edwin Rogers creates virtual tours of apartment buildings, business events and real estate showings. He is now able to present buyers with a 360-degree view of each location in real time. When viewers turn their heads, the scene changes in relation to which way they are looking. He believes that one day, car dealerships will offer VR tours as well.
In New York, Elite|studio e, a small architectural design business that specializes in convenience stores, coffee bars and food service establishments uses virtual reality to create 3D models of their designs for their prospective clients. The models provide a view of the completed space that includes stocked shelves and customers. Assistant vice president Chad Weiss says the models have proved to be a very effective sales tool.
Not many people are willing to venture out onto their roof to see for themselves the extent of necessary repairs or how a construction project is coming along. With VR technology, roofing companies can take their customers on a virtual tour that demonstrates the entire process from start to finish. They can also use it to showcase new products and materials.
Using Oculus Rift, it’s now possible for human resource departments to interview prospective employees from a virtual conference room. That capability eliminates the need for complex scheduling as well as costly travel time. Unlike a phone interview, none of the valuable information communicated through body language is lost. Another, perhaps cheaper alternative to Oculus Rift is Samsung’s Gear VR. The reason behind its low price is that it delegates all the processing and display power to the smartphone itself, so if you were doubting if you should spend over 700$ on a smartphone, maybe this will convince you.
Utilising VR technology enables small businesses to become bigger businesses. Today’s companies have had to adapt to smartphone and cloud technology to remain competitive. Incorporating virtual reality can not only make your business more competitive, but transport it into the world of tomorrow today.