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How Virtual Reality Can Improve Any Industry

Virtual Reality Headset

5 min read

Improving your business isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary if you want to continue growth and stay ahead of your competitors.

By 2025, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will become synonymous with business. As consumers become more familiar with the capabilities of VR, more types of businesses will start to use this technology as a way to reach out to people.

VR has the ability to improve nearly any industry you can think of. Uses for this technology include everything from customer experience to marketing initiatives.

While some of the equipment is costly today, expect prices to come down as VR popularity grows. Here are eight industries already utilizing VR:

1. Medical

The uses for VR in the medical industry are limitless. Imagine medical students doing brain surgery via VR before working on an actual patient. Intricate surgeries, such as separating conjoined twins, could be performed before the event with VR.

Augmented reality could help patients learn to retrain their brains or learn to walk or talk again after a stroke when used in conjunction with physical therapy and special equipment.

Neurosurgeons at UCLA already use VR in treating patients. These surgeons wear reality goggles and use computers to navigate through the brain and remove tumors. Rather than simply using VR for practice, these surgeons use VR to perform the actual procedure.

This advance makes surgeries possible that might have been impossible in the past.

2. Marketing

Around 96 percent of B2B companies use video marketing at some point, and 73 percent of them indicate a positive return on investment (ROI) from those videos.

VR allows these marketers to take the entire concept a step further and provide 3-D experiences for the end user. 360-degree videos, for example, immerse the consumer in the buying experience. This improves the overall connection between company and customer.

3. Real Estate

VR is making a mark on real estate as well. Although 360-degree videos and digital walk-throughs have been utilized for years in this industry, more recently agents use VR for everything from staging to home showings. Real estate professionals now use VR in a variety of creative ways to entice potential buyers and show your home in the best light possible.

Century21 uses virtual stagers to show a home in its best light. This saves homeowners a lot of money as well. Instead of paying rent on expensive furnishings and accessories, virtual stages take a photograph and enhance it digitally for the seller. Because the designs are created digitally, you’ll receive several choices in designs.

4. Automobile

The automobile industry is highly competitive. Auto manufacturers seek to make their cars safer and more fuel-efficient while keeping them attractive to consumers.

Although car designers put their designs through a series of steps and companies do rigorous testing, VR allows designers to skip some of these manual processes and see how a slight change to a fender design impacts the functions of the car before they actually build a prototype.

Ford Motor Co.'s car design team is using Microsoft's HoloLens to figure out how changes work with real-world limitations. This speeds up the process of building a model of the car, because engineers can test out the concept before building a complete model. This saves time and money.

5. Manufacturing

Worker safety is a concern at most manufacturing facilities. Not only do companies want their workers to remain safe, but OSHA requirements also may indicate how much annual training employees need. Companies must meet these requirements. This brings virtual reality into the training process.

Rather than sitting in a stuffy room and watching boring safety videos, workers can step behind a virtual machine and engage in hands-on training. Mistakes are instantly felt and seen, which drives home the point of not sticking your hands inside the moving parts of a real machine.

6. Wholesale

Inventory control isn’t always easy, especially for larger businesses. Imagine trying to locate the exact item you want at an Amazon warehouse if you don’t keep everything perfectly organized or have a strong system in place.

Fortunately, VR helps with inventory control, allowing employees to quickly locate and track product movement throughout a warehouse.

DHL currently utilizes AR to improve its picking process by as much as 25 percent. Employees pick faster and with fewer errors using the wearable technology. This improves inventory processes and reduces errors in order fulfillment.

As an added bonus, employees were able to complete more work in a shorter period of time and more accurately.

7. Architectural Design

Architectural design includes both the overall structure of a new building and its interior layout. Using VR in architecture allows professionals at every point in the process to make adjustments on the fly without the cost of creating models.

For example, pulling up a VR model of a factory floor and laying out machines, personnel and tools allows designers to see the flow of the layout and figure out best placement or even multiple options.

8. Retail

Predictions state retailers will invest about $422 million in AR and VR technology in the near future. Imagine a furniture showroom that comes to life overtop a photo of your living room. Suddenly, consumer shopping experiences become immersive rather than based on imagination alone.

Instead of imagining how something might look in your living room, you'll know exactly how that new couch will match your current furniture and color scheme.

VR Impacts in the Future

As VR and AR become more commonplace and the cost of glasses and equipment comes down, expect to see them in nearly every area of business. In addition to prototyping and inventory control, it will be used to reach consumers and predict future habits.

This technology is still in development stages, so all the ways it might impact business are still uncertain. For the time being, utilize mobile technologies and implement what is affordable for your business model.

Effective Inbound Marketing Campign

Lexie Lu

Lexie Lu

Lexie Lu is a freelance graphic designer and blogger. She keeps up with the latest design news and always has some coffee in close proximity. She writes on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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Published on May 9, 2018


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