Virtual Reality was the hot topic of the Mobile World Congress 2016, and the photo of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg walking amongst a crowd of unsuspecting journalists strapped into virtual reality headsets went viral.
But despite the big impact VR is having on the media, the technology industry and not to forget, the Venture Capital world there is still a lot of uncertainty about its future. The big players in this industry are Oculus VR, HTC, Google, Samsung, Sony and soon to be Apple and they have already started the battle around positioning. Currently the two most popular VR headsets are the Oculus rift and the HTC Vive, which have already reached the masses with a consumer ready headset priced respectively at $599.00 and $699.00.
As with all disruptive technologies, its accessibility is still limited by a price barrier, in reality the total costs would work out to around $1,200.00 for a VR Headset and a PC that meets the system requirements to run. For this level of investment, you are purchasing a device where most of the available content is limited to games.
Who’s betting on VR?
[/one_half][one_half_last]According to CB Insights “Despite the dominance of gaming in media coverage of VR/AR, it’s actually commercial and industrial applications that take the most deals.”
Companies in the commercial and industrial categories are betting on advanced productivity in an enterprise setting in order to achieve enhanced visualization.
While most people are excited about using VR headsets for immersive entertainment and gaming experiences, the real value is being seen within the Enterprise space. Let’s take a look at some of first industries who are making strides in using virtual reality to improve business.[/one_half_last]
VR for AEC: Exploring buildings before they’re even built
VR experiences are far more effective than two-dimensional renderings at expressing the look and feel of a design. VR is helping architects bridge the divide between a designer’s ideas and the clients’ perception of them, letting them effectively simulate designs before a single drop of concrete is poured. And when the project is approved brokers and developers can then use virtual reality tours to speed up leasing and sales.
So for AEC the value of VR is the ability to experience spaces before they have been built and paid for, therefore providing a client with far more information around their investments.
VR for Manufacturing: Faster developing and improved manufacturing processes
Product teams all over the world are using VR to optimize product engineering, design, manufacturing and operations. Virtual Reality visualization increases design productivity, as well as a huge drop in costs and time due to virtual testing and prototyping. Instead of spending several hundreds of thousands on building a physical prototype, manufacturers now have VR labs where they can virtually test new designs.
Giant automotive manufacturer Ford Motor Company is using virtual reality to not only help design new vehicles, but also to help develop autonomous vehicle technologies.
Virtual reality is even going beyond the visualization stage of design. BAE Systems recently used a product development virtual reality system by Virtalis to assist in planning the construction of the Astute-class submarines. Instead of creating physical prototypes, 3D virtual models were viewed from cabins positioned on gantries surrounding the submarine, replacing the need for expensive physical models.
VR for Training & Education: Limitless simulation
Training is all about experiencing. Recreating real environments and experiences is a very expensive part of training and it’s limited to a restricted number of possible cases. Virtual Reality is a game changer for training which opens up the possibility of simulating unlimited environments and situations.
NASA’s been using VR for years, especially in training situations. The main reason for the success of NASA’s VR experiment is ridiculously obvious—there’s no other way to replicate space here on Earth.
Plextek, an electronics design consultancy in the UK has been making training simulations for the British government’s Ministry of Defence since the late 1980s. The company specialises in building training programmes for army medics.
The future of Virtual Reality for Enterprises
For the above mentioned industries, Virtual Reality is already valued highly. As research continues, the capture and creation of content for virtual reality will become increasingly refined and easier to use making it useful for other industries such as retail, travel, security, interior design, oil and gas and transportation.
Virtual reality in the enterprise may not scale as quickly as it will in the gaming world but it will be the place where this new technology will demonstrate its real value. This process will take a few years until the advances of the technology thanks to its use in enterprises will reach the masses and will become part of our entertainment choices.
[titled_box title=”Interesting readings”]
- CB Insights: The Present And Future Of VR/AR: Applications In Commerce, Industry, Gaming, And Education
- CNet: They came for phones, but VR swept them off their feet
- Venture Beat: Virtual reality hype runs amok at MWC 2016, as mobile industry crowds onto bandwagon
- GenslerOn: How Virtual and Augmented Reality Can Shape Architecture and Design
- Computer Weekly: Virtual reality comes of age in manufacturing
- TechRepublic: 9 industries using virtual reality