How will VR technology impact your business operations?
Last month saw the exciting launch of Meta’s Quest 3 VR headset. It was an important milestone for the industry for several reasons. Firstly, the device has made some significant technological advances that have improved functionality and comfort for users. Next, the price – just under $500 – is a serious amount of bang for your buck. For those of us working in the VR industry, it feels like Quest 3 and the upcoming Apple VisionPro can boost investment and attention to the industry and bring us that much closer to a point of mass adoption. And the Mixed Reality headsets should remove the point of friction for some users, make them feel comfortable and safe, and open up so many use cases for creators.
This is because new, affordable and advanced VR devices are only one piece of the puzzle. One of the issues that has held back the VR/AR industry is the lack of platform providers and tools that make developing virtual experiences accessible and cost-effective. Thanks in no small part to the influx of funding and interest thanks to Meta going all-in on VR, a vibrant ecosystem has been created that has developed a range of solutions to solve these problems.
So if I’m right, VR will become mainstream in the coming years. What would that mean for companies?
Founder and CEO of ShapesXR.
Creating customer engagement
In a competitive and challenging economic environment, industries are crying out for innovation to re-engage customers. Retailers in particular have been experimenting with both AR and VR for years to create new customer interactions. Their success is limited because they don’t have the platforms and tools to do this in a cost- and time-efficient manner. Without mainstream device adoption, their creations are largely limited to the in-store experience.
Now that that hurdle is likely to be cleared, we’ll see an explosion of experimentation. To make this possible, brands, and the agencies that support them, will need to become skilled at becoming visual storytellers. Creating customer engagement in 3D is very different than on a flat screen. It opens the door to many more possibilities, but to realize these, companies will need to hire or upskill their teams to use design platforms effectively and also construct compelling stories.
VR experiences will also need to be integrated into other marketing channels to create the seamless, personalized communications that people now expect. In the long term, this will require a reorganization of marketing departments and the adoption of new technology to make this possible. Fortunately, the rise of composable architecture goes hand in hand with the growth of spatial computing and VR/MR headsets in particular, making customizing your tech stack much easier.
The same will apply to game development and the entertainment industry. We have already seen concerts with holographic artists, so it is very easy to imagine all the possibilities of producing plays, music festivals, TV shows and films on VR or AR.
VR for collaboration
Consumer-oriented applications of VR are just the tip of the iceberg; the most attractive use cases will likely first appear within B2B. For example, as the workforce becomes increasingly distributed and hybrid working remains popular, XR offers an exceptional way to bring teams together for project collaboration – everything from designing new products to developing event spaces. For B2B companies, VR’s biggest promise is to make collaboration and upskilling more efficient and effective.
We haven’t even talked about the Metaverse, or metaverse-style connected worlds, which could transform the way we perceive and use the Internet. Everything from social media to purchasing products and managing our finances could get the VR treatment.
For many companies, mastering the possibilities that VR offers will start with education. The use cases that will have the most impact on your business are likely to be underreported since so much media attention is focused on visually appealing applications like new games. Reading up on the different platforms and services available will give you a good insight into what can make a difference to your business. As I said, developing VR services and experiences has become a lot easier, so there’s nothing to say you can’t create or customize a solution to meet your needs.
The last part is the willingness to experiment. Creation on the ‘spatial’ internet looks and feels very different from creation in 2D. Having platforms that allow new 3D experiences to be created in 3D is a game changer because it allows us to see what these experiences will actually look like and allows your imagination to run wild. For example, designing 3D extensions for physical or web-based products will catalyze more innovation. We really don’t know what the ‘killer use case’ for VR will ultimately be; the company that discovers this will reap extraordinary benefits.
I’ll close with a brief mention of our old friend generative AI; no tech article would be complete without this. Generative AI will play a major role in reducing the cost and time involved in creating VR experiences. While it is not yet completely fit for purpose, there is no denying that it will play a major role in the future of the industry.
We have listed the best business VR headsets.