What is Virtual Reality
If you need to grasp the basics of technology first before diving into specifics we have written an introductory article to Virtual Reality.
Virtual Reality enables customers to experience previously inaccessible environments and is considered as extremely valuable in various industries, from gaming to spaceship construction. This technology can significantly reduce prototyping costs and speed up time to market. When it comes to VR in businesses, we are talking not only about revenue growth but also about maintaining since the late entry into the market often makes it difficult to catch up. Besides, VR cut automation costs by decreasing the manpower required to oversee warehouses and assembly lines and enables more efficient training sessions for employees who are working either with operating machines or fully simulating scenarios with virtual customers.
Below, you will find more examples of VR benefits for different business areas.
Real examples of how you can expose a business to VR technology
1. Audi: a better way to sell cars and attract new customers
Audi has launched a virtual reality-enabled Audi Customer Private Lounge (CPL) at their in Gauteng, bringing the brand in line with global trends and offering an innovative retail solution which allows potential buyers to customise the vehicle of their choice. Digital technologies like the VR headset and 75-inch screen allow sales managers to present the entire Audi model range, including all specifications, equipment options, colour combinations, packages during the customer sales dialogue. More than 400 Customer Private Lounges or digitalised consulting suites are already operating in Audi dealerships around the world.
2. Virtualist: reduce business travel expenses due to Remote 3D Workplace
Industry data suggests that 445 mln business trips take place each year, and on the average international trip companies spend 2,600 USD per person. With a virtual reality meeting, managers, freelancers and remote workers can conduct an actual face-to-face meeting without leaving their apartments or offices. To make it real, all participants should have just VR helmets and installed application. Moreover, Virtualist app can be used as an ideal tool to review architecture and design projects remotely.
3. The New York Times: take your marketing and social engagement to the next level
One of the most popular American newspapers launched its virtual reality application called NYT VR, distributed one million disposable Google cardboard VR headsets to its subscribers, and published its first 360 video that tells the story of displaced children. This wasn’t created as a marketing campaign, but in fact, it became the biggest ever project for Cardboard. The VR app was downloaded more times in its first few days than any previous New York Times app. Apart from it, The New York Times has won the Entertainment Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for its virtual reality work.
What industries are using Virtual Reality?
No matter what kind of business you’re running, VR solutions can be effectively applied everywhere. More and more industries have started implementing transformative behind-the-scenes applications for VR. The price cut is accelerating the types of changes we’ve already seen in fields as diverse as education, automotive, retail, tourism, real estate, recruitment, sports and others. In a picture below you can notice that engineering and healthcare are considered as the most booming industries for VR adoption.
It’s not surprising if you take into account the fact that 53% of adults would prefer to buy from a brand that offers VR functionality. Let’s take a look at some examples.
VR for Architecture
Communicating design intent and conveying space to non-technical customers has always been a challenge for architects and designers. Architects have been using 3D models for years but using immersive tools allows them to understand and explore the space at the deepest level possible. The most immersive and effective solutions are ones that empower professionals to fully navigate 3D models. Using VR application, a client interacts with the design and makes changes as he wishes so you no longer need to go back and forth with project changes. There are many benefits attached to moving architectural practices into a virtual environment. Here are a few of them:
- The best space visualization of unfinished or remote projects
- Change design in real-time
- Better collaboration between stakeholders
- Lower cost of implementation
VR for Construction
Prototyping is another way VR advancement is changing the way we work. It’s not the secret that every business wants to cut costs, if possible. However, nowadays no new buildings, cars, phones, electronic devices and other high-tech products are created without a detailed mock-up. Virtual reality enables construction managers and foremen to see how the next phase of construction fits into what they already constructed. Industrial designers can use immersive technologies to showcase their plans and get input from consumers. As a proof, Build Change that constructs buildings all over the world including disaster-prone areas use VR to help onsite stakeholders understand the project needs during the planning phase. Additionally, they use it to ensure remote employers can view progress and provide input throughout the construction phase. The main benefits of VR for constructors are similar to the described in a paragraph above:
- Streamline collaboration between stakeholders
- Improved client’s experience
- Time savings
- Complexity Reduction
- Improved training safety
VR for Engineering
High-fidelity VR systems already exist in such corporations as Caterpillar, General Motors and Ford Motor Co. At Welsh Water, not-for-profit company which supplies drinking water to Wales and England, VR projects virtual images to provide a 360° view and allow designers, engineers, and architects to visualize space more efficiently, and particularly, to design its water and waste water works. The costs for this were recouped on the first project and is now being applied to 50 more projects. That case shows us the following advantages for companies who have already applied VR at work:
- Cost savings
- The accuracy of projects
- Safety Increase
- Complexity Reduction.
How to pick the right business software tool for VR?
If you are not looking for ready solutions and want to create VR scenes just by yourself, you can choose between primary game engines such as Unity, Unreal Engine or CryEngine. For inexperienced users those tools might seem complicated to use, thus, the market offers plenty of user-friendly apps with a more intuitive interface. One of the simplest examples to try VR is the Virtual Desktop app: you just need to slip on a supported head-mounted display, and the Windows desktop appears before you, floating in space. The VR wrapper supports web browsers, video streaming, and even some types of software. More advanced solutions such as Virtualist app can help you build the whole scenes using simple solids, import 3D models from the web or from any other standard 3d authoring tool.
The application can be used either by engineers, designers, constructors as it mentioned above in the article or by managers who would like to try a new form of business conferencing and organise a meeting in a virtual space.