20 Ways Virtual Reality is Changing the World

Originally published at www.linkedin.com.

1) Tourism & Destination Marketing

VR is an innovative way to market vacation destination. You could climb Eiffel Tower, enjoy the beaches in Hawaii or skiing down the slopes of Whistler. All those and more even though you’re imprisoned in a rainy London.

Could this be a future of travel? We have limited time, limited resources and shared discomfort of flying long destinations. With VR you could step inside another world.

Examples in use:

While it won’t replace the real experience it will have practical use. Marriott is banking on it and that’s why they partnered with FrameStore VR studio to develop “Transporter”. You could check the room where you could stay and look around the lobby.

Qantas partnered up with Samsung to market end destinations to tourists who are flying to Australia. While they are flying, they can use Gear VR and explore network destinations, Qantas products and latest blockbuster movies.

Horrible advertisement though, right?

2) Automotive

Why wouldn’t you want to test drive a car before you make an purchase. Check the interior of the car and check how it feels like to be in the drivers’ seat. Not only this is a great interaction with the potential customers — it reinforces the brand engagement and sparks the conversations.

Examples in use:

Volvo did just that a while ago. If you’re in US you can test Drive a Volvo XC90 using their app and a phone.

Similarly, Audi is offering their customers to try out popular Audi TT in VR using Oculus Rift. The executives at Audi called it “the most flexible sales format ever invented in the car industry.” The Audi Virtual Reality Experience wearable tech allows shoppers to customize the ideal configuration of the Audi they want and view the car inside and out from a first-person perspective.

3) Education

From biology to history. Imagined reliving famous battles. Fighting alongside Attila the Hun, Alexander the Great or General Patton? Sounds like the most interesting history lessons doesn’t it. How about getting inside a human body and study how the nervous system works? The applications of VR in education are endless.

Examples in use:

Immersion VR Education won the Time Warner Future of Storytelling Award with Apollo 11 VR experience. Yep, you can be the n-th person on the moon. In terms of VR speaking, off course.

One school is using virtual reality to take kids to Buckingham Palace and the Taj Mahal — without leaving the classroom. The teacher uses a tablet and acts as a tour guide, highlighting interesting points on the screen.

4. Live Shows

Didn’t get the ticket for the show? Or do you just hate crowds, and that annoying fella who knocked a cold lager from your hands. Well, sit in your lazy boy, grab a cold one from the fridge and enjoy the performance from your living room. Plus, you will be on stage with the artist himself.

Examples in use:

Check out Paul McCartney free virtual-reality concert app

If you install popular VRSE app, you have a chance to “attend” SNL episodes or MUSE and U2 music videos.

5) Movie Trailers

It’s something completely different to build the hype for the new movie when you place a viewer inside the action with the freedom to look wherever he wants.

6) Old fashioned Commercials in a “new fashion”

Soft cheese supplier Boursin created a virtual reality experience that takes you on a journey through a fridge full of delightful treats.

7) Journalism

When New York Times distributed over 1 million Google Cardboards to their subscribers, they hinted that content will follow. As Marcus Wohlsen from Wired said, this style of content distribution will become “normal”:

I don’t know what the exact year is, but I believe that up to a certain age, any technology a kid encounters registers as “normal.” To me, a world without color TV or personal computers is an abstraction. For a host of kids as of yesterday, so is a world without VR.

Example in use:

The New York times have their own VR app, called NYT VR which is offering continuous exclusive content that keeps its ‘readers’ coming back for more.

8) Healthcare

Could a cardboard VR viewer be useful in healthcare? Absolutely, in fact doctors from Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami saved a baby’s life. Psychiatrist at the University of Louisville use VR to treat patients with social anxieties or phobias.

Virtual reality is also used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Soldiers suffering from battlefield trauma and other psychological conditions can learn how to deal with their symptoms in a ‘safe’ environment. The idea is for them to be exposed to the triggers for their condition which they gradually adjust to. This has the effect of decreasing their symptoms and enabling them to cope to new or unexpected situations.

9) Meditation

The beneficial effects of meditation has been scientifically proven. Because VR transports you into completely immersive environment it will allow the user to go to even deeper into the relaxation zone. Apps like CubicleNinja’s Guided Mediatation have a lot of potential. Aside from the fact that you could create some really amazing environments to mediate in, wearing an HMD also forces you to focus.

10) Gaming

Doh. Most analysts agree that gaming will be the early driver of uptake of high-end VR headsets. Sony’s Playstation is about to enter the fray with PlayStation VR (fka Project Morpheus). Since Sony is already in most of homes, this is a perfect chance for them to introduce VR to wider audience.

There aren’t any AAA games out there yet, which can be blamed on higher cost of production. Oculus is promising 100+ Rift Games by the end of 2016. At the moment you can enjoy these games that are supporting Oculus Rift. On the console section, all eyes are turned to Playstation VR. Sony already settled himself in most living rooms. PS4 will officially support VR technology and the cost of VR unit is significantly lower than Oculus or Vive.

Keep your eyes on YouTube for latest news about VR gaming.

11) Adult Entertainment

Porn industry has embraced VR. In the adult entertainment, VR has already cemented itself and will only attract more and more subscribers. A chance to get more up close and personal and provide “realistic” experience with pornstars is a no-brainer business model that is guaranteed to be profitable from the start.

“The entire history of porn has been trying by whatever means available to arrive at this type of experience, and now it’s here. This is a huge leap forward.” — Ian Paul, Naughty America

Examples in use:

  • VRfavs is a portal to news, blogs and anything connected with VR, including NSFW material.

12) Trade Show Advertising

Remember how it was, when you first tried VR? Most of the people haven’t yet experienced VR, and trade shows are a great opportunity to present your brand in a new innovative way.

Simple branded cardboard VR viewer with your logo that you can give away can go a long way.

Examples in use:

Branded VR experiences are taking on many shapes. ViarBox, which makes Google Cardboard like pop-up viewers, will customize viewers with logos and the like for companies. Digital marketing agencies are coupling VR with brands that way.

Branded VR cardboards for a VR Cafe in Vienna:

13) Marketing — Product Validation

This is big. Instead of developing and producing expensive prototypes, you could create virtual world and place your products inside the VR video. You can edit the video in a way so it have different endings — think of it like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. With this conditional storyline you can pre-validate your products with a simple A/B testing inside the VR.

When you offer the video to your target market, you’ll be able to analyze the behaviour of your customer. All that before building prototypes or conducting focus groups.

A small startup company, Viar360 is doing exactly that. They are banking on combining powerful editor with an insightful reporting feature — the Wordpress for managing VR videos.

Viar360 Story Maker draft

Analytics dashboard.

Sign up for Viar360 private alpha here

14) Real Estate

House showings are often time consuming and arduous tasks. Wouldn’t be easier to show homeseekers couple of apartments before showing up on the spot? Or how about pre-selling a condominium before it’s built. Till now, you could show pictures of the rooms, but how about taking a person inside the building?

Example in use:

Sherry FitzGerald does it with Real Estate. The agency provide customers with a high quality, immersive 360° virtual reality tour of housing estates that have not yet been built. Talking about product validation right?

15) All Hands Meetings

B2B marketers could use it to create 360-degree conferences, so that big or small companies, could virtually gather their executives in one space, saving on travel costs. Attend your meeting or deliver a presentation to your partners on the other side of the world by wearing HMV and headphones.

These can also extend to personal use. For instance this is a way to maintain long-distance relationships with your significant other.

16) Sports

Want to see how King James slam dunks in every angle possible? The NBA and Turner Sports partnered with NextVR’s video streaming service to deliver the first NBA VR already.

NextVR Co-Founder David Cole spoke to us about his thoughts with using virtual reality to grow the NBA’s popularity with international fans.

“The NBA has 100s of millions of fans worldwide with many that will never be able to attend a game in person. We can bring the experience over to them wherever they are located and we know that it is something that fans will want to watch. We don’t need to do a focus group to see if fans want to watch NBA basketball in VR, we know that the market is out there and ready to watch our product.”

17) Military

Anything from flight and battlefield simulation. VR has been adopted by all three branches of military (army, navy, and air force). It has been particularly useful for training soldiers for combat situations or other dangerous settings (how to deal with IEDs for example).

There are few patterns you can recognize among the VR use. Virtual Reality is applicable in any situation where there is danger of physical or material harm. Any kind of vehicle simulation and even Nuclear Reactor simulation comes to mind.

18) HR

Once VR gets adopted to the broad audience, the HR department could conduct interviews one-on-one via headset. This would be useful to bigger companies who are choosing the ideal candidates worldwide. As a HR recruiter you could still study reactions on the candidates.

19) National and Theme Parks

No more waiting and elbowing in queue lines for a 2 minute rollercoaster ride. You can experience the Blue Tornado from your own living room. Not only that, because almost everyone can use VR equipment you can offer these exciting experiences to your grandparents or friends with disability. Your grandma can climb the Himalayas without breaking a sweat.

Examples in use:

Six Flags are planning to add virtual reality rollercoaster this season.

British Columbia tourism department made “The Wild Within” so that adventurers could get a feel for the Canadian wilderness. You could choose between two options: a boat ride and a hike in the mountains.

20) Construction

Building a construction project in a virtual environment offers many key benefits. One of the most obvious of these is having the ability to test a number of factors without the time and cost of building the structure, reducing the number of errors present in the completed building.

Example in use:

McCarthy Building Companies are, according to the executives, at a point where they can fly a drone around, laser scan an area, upload that model into a VR headset, and walk through the model using a virtual immersion tool. One can only imagine this will lead to faster project approvals, better client communication and higher client satisfaction

Rest assured, VR is here to stay in one way or another. To help cement its way in the market, producers, developers, filmmakers and storytellers will have create fantastic content. To accomplish this, they will need the right tools for the job.

Viar360 — web native CMS for Virtual Reality videos

Viar360 is striving to satisfy the gap for creating, sharing and measuring VR videos and images across the Web. Join them on their quest and be among the early users, who will receive free membership.