Virtual reality, a technology only imagined in the sixties, is now a reality. It is the latest tool that firms use to improve their operations. Several industries use the technology for amazing things, such as virtual marketing, but each organization must decide if the
technology offers them value. Could Virtual Reality be a Valuable Marketing Tool for your Business?
A New Tool for Businesses
Virtual reality (VR) is the latest business buzzword. Although the concept is cutting-edge, engineers have hypothesized on how to create digital environments since the 60’s. Now, the technology is financially accessible, because the computing power required to render a 3D environment is finally affordable. For example, VR firm Oculus offers 3D hardware that ranges from $600 to $1,500. Developments such as this position the technology for the mainstream for the first time in history.
The industry is still developing as business as users try to figure out what hardware and software configurations to use. Many firms show interest in the technology, and analyst Goldman Sachs forecasts that the industry will generate $80 billion annually by 2025, providing that firms can successfully exploit the technology.
Companies are adopting VR at a feverish pace. Currently, the technology is most prevalent as a front line demonstration tool, yet some firms seek to use virtual reality for business-to-business applications such as consulting and training.
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An Emerging Industry
Industry insiders are not sure which direction the virtual reality industry will follow, but leading technology manufacturers hope that it will grow as significant as the cell phone or the Internet. Other firms want to create new platforms for virtual marketing and personal communications.
Some analysts predict that the industry’s growth will outpace the Goldman Sachs estimate by almost double in the year 2020, which is probable with current offerings far outperforming past attempts such as Google Glass. Despite this, only a little more than 30 percent of consumers are aware of the technology. Still, firms like Oculus are betting that this will change soon.
Early Adopters Lead the Way
Businesses have long anticipated virtual reality and are rapidly deploying the technology as a marketing tool. Some hardware manufacturers are supporting the business adoption trend with VR headgear developed solely for commercial use.
Currently, businesses can share information faster and, in some cases, in real-time. Many real estate sales professionals use the platform with 3-D goggles to allow potential buyers to view properties without traveling. Despite the fervent interest, the platform is still undeveloped. However, with businesses bearing most of the costs, widespread consumer adoption is imminent.
Deciding if VR Works for Specific Applications
The virtual reality industry is still forming, making it difficult for firms to figure out how to invest in the technology. If VR seems to offer value, says analysts, businesses should consider procuring as much content as possible until the industry stabilizes; they caution that the firms that are here today may not exist tomorrow. Therefore, at this early stage in VR development, experts also recommend securing technology from more than one manufacturer.
Business experts suggest only deploying the technology if it can provide a better experience than traditional methods or technologies. Although the cost to deploy the technology is high, its novelty can help firms stand out from the competition.
Industry insiders hope that virtual reality is the next big technology that will change how the world communicates. So far, firms use it mostly during virtual marketing demonstrations with clients, but virtual reality technology companies have many plans for the concept. While some companies are familiar with the risks associated with adopting cutting-edge concepts, each firm must decide if the technology provides value for their particular organization.
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