While it may appear that in the current technology landscape, virtual reality headsets are primarily used for video games and entertainment, with games companies such as Valve and PlayStation at the forefront of the development sphere, the number of non-gaming applications for VR is actually expanding at an extreme rate. Not only does research suggest that up to 90% of consumers in the UK are aware of the platform, but now only 59% of tech startups believe gaming will dominate investments in the industry, as opposed to 78% two years ago.
With that in mind, what does the future hold for this quickly advancing piece of kit? Well, here are 5 practical uses for Virtual Reality
Front row seats
Did you know that going to a concert or show from the comfort of your own home is a thing? In supported venues that have cameras and VR integration, many companies such as the NBA and WWE sell ‘virtual’ tickets, giving fans around the world the chance to get an authentic experience.
VR concert tickets are also cheaper than regular tickets, which makes sense considering you’re not actually there. Kasabian, for example, sold VR tickets to their O2 London show for 10% of the actual price on popular music app MelodyVR.
Practice and training
Virtual Reality is used in some professions as a training method to give an accurate simulation of what a real-life scenario might be like. For example, some surgeons use the technology during training in order to give a first person, an uninterrupted perspective of a procedure, rather than watching over-the-shoulder or reading the procedure out of a book.
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VR is also used in conjunction with other technology to give authentic conditioning training. NASA use VR in some of their training facilities in conjunction with motion simulators, to help prepare hopeful astronauts for the conditions in space. For those of us who will likely never leave the atmosphere, VR can show us what it looks like while sitting on the couch at home.
Another unlikely pairing, the application of Virtual Reality in the property investment field is an extremely clever way of helping potential investors to visualise their purchase. Property investment company RW Invest, for example, use VR to assist buyers looking at off-plan projects – developments that are still in their building stages and thus can’t be viewed in person. By showing them an in-depth realisation of what the completed project will look like, investors (and international investors that are not local to the build) can get peace-of-mind on their early-bird access to thriving areas.
Wondering where to go on your next holiday? Often people look at TripAdvisor ratings and videos to get a feel of the vibe an area gives off, but why not take it one step further and take a look around for yourself with Google Earth? Not only does this popular Google app’s VR counterpart allow you to view 360-degree angles of any desired point-of-interest, but you can also fly over cities and towns, getting an aerial view that simply isn’t achievable in the real-world. Recommended starting points on Google’s site include Hoover Dam in Nevada, the Colosseum in Rome, and Hong Kong stadium in, you guessed it, Hong Kong.
A branching category of VR software that overlaps with video games quite a bit, social platforms such as VRChat and Altspace VR provide meeting spaces for users to gather and have conversations, and VRChat in particular has been applauded for providing new opportunities for those with disabilities or social anxiety to meet like-minded people online and help them to become part of a community.