People have had a fascination with virtual reality since before the days of the Sensorama. The idea of it is captivating – an immersive, interactive technology that extends the reach of what you can experience in a lifetime. However, most applications of virtual reality have lived in the world of entertainment or in organizations with millions of dollars to invest in training programs, such as the military’s parachute training.
The launch of more affordable virtual reality hardware, such as the Oculus Rift and Gear VR, is opening the door for businesses to more widely take advantage of the technology.
Virtual reality has the potential to help businesses large and small in new and exciting ways because it accomplishes two important things:
- It provides a new way to digest content. Phones, tablets, smart tv’s – these are some of latest and greatest methods with content optimized specifically for them, and now we can add a new one to the mix.
- It creates a new channel to build relationships and community. Virtual reality can create a direct connection to an audience or community, giving them another place to listen and ask questions.
As virtual reality becomes a more adopted technology by the general public, it’s applications become endless. Here are some cool ideas of how businesses can take advantage of the immersive experience of virtual reality.
Training without the collateral damage
New employees have a learning curve that can become dangerous to a business’s operations because their inherent lack of knowledge presents the possibility of accidents. With VR, training employees can utilize simulations to learn how to do their new job. It could include how to properly handle equipment or hazardous materials, or how to interact with customers in difficult scenarios.
Enhanced product trials
Lower the barrier to entry for a potential buyer to try out your product by offering a simulation. There is even the potential to allow them to set scenarios that are custom to their needs. This would reduce return costs and getting unwanted products back. It can also be used to educate consumers about how to best use the product for their set scenario to increase stickiness.
Remote team management
It’s becoming more popular to have remote teams, but they often face challenges around team communication because they lack the option for in-person meetings. VR can provide better meeting and team communication experiences. This will also help to cultivate a company culture even though there may not be a centralized location.
New take on content marketing
The first wave of content marketing was blogging and then it was all about video. The next wave will be immersive content that provides a new level of engagement with the story. It can also enhance the emotional response to marketing campaigns because it creates a more “real” feeling.
Internal product testing
Create real life simulations for testing products to understand limits and customer experiences better before they go to market. This will help create a stronger brand experience by being able to better predict customer needs.
A new sales process
Gone are the days of door-to-door sale, while the in-person sales call is also quickly losing favor. However out of date they might now be, they did bring a level of personalization and connection to the sales process that a conference call lacks. Virtual reality could offer the next generation of in-person sales.
While we may not yet be certain how widely virtual reality will catch on or what shape it will be in when it finally does, we do know that the technology has a lot of possibility.