The total immersion of VR allows the user to be taken places and to see things that aren’t part of their reality.
The boom in VR showrooms, particularly in the retail and automotive sectors (JLR’s version here) show how VR is moving beyond a marketing gimmick into a genuine tool which allows the user to not only experience something but configure and perhaps even buy.
With the cost of high quality VR decreasing, it is also becoming increasingly pervasive in training – when the training about avoiding hazards or operating in a hostile or remote environment, or if the location doesn’t exist yet. Here at Preloaded, we’ve been working with a transport organisation to prototype Hazard VR, a use of VR to train employees on working safely and identifying hazards in challenging environments. The difference using VR makes is that it enables those being trained to get nearer than ever to experience the hazards or challenges they might encounter in contrast with traditional training locations where access to equipment can be limited.
Away from the world of work, VR can make the real world more accessible in all sorts of ways. For sports fans, that means ever more immersive ways of watching their favourite games, whether that’s football giant Manchester City offering behind-the-scenes views of the Etihad Stadium to amplify excitement or US broadcaster FOX Sports making a soccer game VR-friendly, sports can now be enjoyed in new, exciting ways.
In the cultural sector, VR could make it possible for us to experience inaccessible treasures once more. The Lascaux cave system in Southern France with its breathtaking 17000 year old cave paintings, which has been closed to the public since 1963, could be captured in VR for people to explore without fear of their very presence threatening the existence of these incredible images created by early Man.
VR is also hugely social. While nothing quite beats hanging out with friends in real-life scenarios, Oculus and Facebook have launched Oculus Rooms and Parties, VR gathering places for small groups to get together, chat and play games in scenarios that are “focused on enabling social activities that mirror how you may hang out with friends in real life.” For the socially shy, the geographically separated or the just plain curious, this is an enhanced way to ‘hang out’ with like-minded individuals in familiar environments.