The future of VR is looking pretty good. Although this HiTech technology is often associated with science fiction and the gaming industry, VR, short for Virtual Reality, has the potential to disrupt a number of industries. Many companies are looking for innovative ways to increase their productivity while improving their processes and maintaining their company culture intact, and as remoteness gains traction, VR’s chances of helping achieve these goals become more of a reality.
Like many other technologies, the future of VR depends strongly on how both the hardware and software evolve. However, this is no impediment to imagine what the future of VR may look like. Speculating about the future is a great way to develop new products, and most importantly, it can help companies be prepared to embrace what the future holds.
In this post we discuss some predictions on the future of VR and how it will potentially help shape some industries in the near future.
What Is Virtual Reality?
Virtual Reality, also known as VR, is a simulated experience that is often used to achieve specific goals. These goals vary depending on the software that is being executed and the industry. To enter the simulated experience, users utilize special devices known as Virtual Reality headsets that place the user in the simulation.
VR is not new, although experts seem to have a hard time agreeing on when the technology was actually developed. However, there seems to be a consensus that the term became popularized by Jaron Lanier in the 80s. Since then, it has expanded throughout the world; it is almost certain that anyone will understand what the term refers to.
For most people, this technology is directly related to the gaming industry. However, it has much more to offer than just gaming applications. In recent years, the scope of VR has transcended the gaming industry into new frontiers, the most important one being education; EdTech has seen an important use of VR technologies. Other relevant industries are the military and medicine.
Virtual Reality and Gamification
Gamification is the use of game-related elements into non-game related environments. Even though VR has changed across the years, it has managed to preserve its gamification element. So, even though it is now used for a wider range of use cases, it still rests on the idea of making it fun for the user. The future of VR will surely depend on such gamification elements.
Virtual Reality and User Experience: VR Experiences
Just like mobile and web apps require a powerful User Experience, VR products also require us to keep humans at the center through well-thought-out VR experiences. A common mistake most people make when thinking about this technology is that, because it is highly dependent on virtuality, it should not consider the user. On the contrary, only the virtual tools that consider the User Experience will be able to succeed.
The Different Types of Virtual Reality
Although the term Virtual Reality is often used to refer to any simulated experience, not all of these experiences are the same. These are the most common types of simulated experiences found in Virtual Reality:
- Immersive VR: This is the type of VR with which most people are familiar. It is the recreation of our world in a computer-generated environment. The best example is video games.
- Cyberspace: Not all simulations need to resemble our reality. Cyberspace, also known as text-based Virtual Reality, uses environments constructed out of text. The Internet is a great example.
- Augmented Reality: This particular type of VR builds on top of our world. Through special devices like a VR headset or a mobile phone and its camera, users can enable digital elements. Pokémon Go is a great example of this. Although they are two different things, VR and AR go hand in hand.
- Mixed Reality: Also known as extended reality, this type of VR combines real and virtual world elements. Controllers and other devices add the reality element to the equation. This is widely used for education, training, and entertainment experiences. Flight Simulator is a great example.
Virtual Reality Use Cases
As Virtual Reality devices have become more affordable and new software tools have been developed, the technology has experimented with lots of new features. In other words, we have seen some new VR use cases.
This comes as no surprise, because, as a result of new development tools, both users and developers have been willing to experiment more with devices, software, and how they can be used. This is a natural cycle that tends to occur with new hardware and software dependent technologies.
These are some of the most popular existing VR use cases:
- VR video games: Gaming applications are increasingly using VR technologies to immerse players into virtual worlds with great success. Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge is one of our favorite titles here at Koombea.
- VR education: With the possibility to access high-quality education from anywhere in the world, virtual education is becoming very attractive to many.
- VR military training: Although VR is attractive for almost any type of training, there is a lot that can be done when it comes to training individuals for military purposes.
- VR medical training: One of the many challenges that many medical students face is learning to do things that require direct contact with patients when they are not yet ready. Medical VR can help solve this problem.
Virtual Reality Predictions
As I’ve already mentioned, the future of VR looks very promising. These are some of the industry-specific Virtual Reality predictions we here at Koombea have laid out:
- VR in medicine: Virtual Reality’s power does not stop in terms of training when it comes to MedTech. It can also help patients treat doctors through the use of what is known as telemedicine. We expect many practical VR applications that will help doctors treat patients remotely.
- VR collaborative work: As remote work takes all over the world, new communication tools will become crucial in helping workers collaborate in ingenious and more productive ways. Some of our favorite work tools will surely find a way to migrate to the virtual world. We would definitely love to see a VR version of Miro.
- VR social media: The fact that Facebook is investing in Virtual Reality says a lot about the future of social media. We predict that this is one of the areas of VR that will show a stronger impact in the near future.
- VR retail: It is hard to imagine the future of retail without thinking about Augmented Reality and the other types of VR. There are ever-growing opportunities for retailers to experiment with new ways to reimagine customer journeys.
These are some other general predictions for the future of VR:
- Virtual Reality headsets will become cheaper and more affordable. This will help the technology become more accessible, and in turn, help new software tools develop.
- One challenge different industries will face when it comes to VR solutions is finding the right company to develop world-class VR products.
- Entertainment experiences will find a very interesting medium in anything related to VR. For many people, this will become a standard, equivalent to today’s streaming services.
- How to regulate VR products will be at the center of governmental institutions’ challenges, especially when it comes to medicine and education.
The Future of VR: Business Opportunities
There are many ways in which the future of VR seems promising. Although it often feels like an overstatement, this technology will definitely rewrite the rules for many industries. Just like Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are pushing digital transformations forward, so will VR.
One of the secrets of building a powerful VR product is to work with someone who has the right vision and skills to succeed in the market. At Koombea, we have been developing world-class software since 2007, helping our clients stand out in highly competitive markets. We can help you either understand the future of your business and the role VR plays, or develop a powerful and state of the art VR product.
Your idea does not have to be limited to science fiction. Contact us for a free consultation and learn more about our services.