With the introduction of a fast 5G cellular network and the anticipated launches of new types of wireless AR glasses and lenses, we may be at the cusp of a technological revolution, where immersive technologies will be the next big thing after mobile computing. Although a major part of the demand for immersive technologies currently comes from the creative industries (gaming, streaming live events, retail, and video entertainment), the spectrum for its application is much broader than that. Let us take a look at the large array of areas where immersive technologies can be tremendously beneficial to the user experience.
One of the most promising areas for immersive technologies is education. While the existing technologies in education involve only two of the five human senses (vision and hearing), the introduction of haptic and sensorial media (which utilize smell and taste) has the potential to increase the level of student interaction as well as to improve learning outcomes. It has been proven that the introduction of immersive technologies into primary and middle school education increases student engagement in the classroom, improves memory retention among students and, in most cases, boosts academic performance. Specifically, immersive technologies may be highly beneficial for educating students with special needs. For instance, in 2019, the US Office of Special Education Programs has invested $2.5 million into the execution of the VOISS project: Virtual Reality Opportunities to Implement Social Skills. The project aims to improve the social skills of children who are on the autism spectrum, and to help them interact with other students by building empathy and stimulating the development of their soft skills.
Additionally, immersive technologies are widely employed in higher education, in order to train young specialists to perform otherwise complex and dangerous tasks. For instance, VR is widely used for training neurosurgeons. It provides maximum patient safety and saves working hours in the operating room. Haptics can also provide numerous benefits to training aviation pilots. The sense of touch allows pilots to activate muscle memory and thus to decrease their response time, which is crucial in critical situations. In addition, creating virtual reality simulations is far cheaper than building real-life mock-ups of aviation models. Immersive technologies therefore bring both educational and financial advantages to training young professionals.
Simulation and prototyping
When it comes to prototyping, immersive technologies have great potential to reduce costs. . They enable manufacturers to precisely model and visualize the final result of a product, before it goes into prototype production. For instance, Ford Motor Company has been actively incorporating virtual reality into their design process since 2000. With the introduction of the Oculus Rift headset technology, the company made VR central to their design process. Another convincing example of the cost-saving benefits of VR comes from the principal manufacturer of the United Kingdom’s royal warships, BAE Systems. BAE has introduced a laser tracking system and an interactive wand, which allows engineers to “move” inside of a virtual prototype of a navy ship and track the smallest flaws. This system also allows engineers from different sites to work together as a team, reducing the costs of logistics. In the end, the VR simulation tool allows the production of a precise prototype of a ship before sending it into full-scale production.
Next to the aforementioned training of medical staff, the introduction of immersive technologies into healthcare shows great potential for improving patient services. For instance, AppliedVR has partnered up with over 100 hospitals across the US to provide young patients with VR sets, in order to distract them during painful or invasive procedures. Virtual reality can also support in treating mental health conditions, since it makes remote therapy sessions more accessible and thereby reduces the stigma attached to seeking help for mental health issues.
Entertainment and retail
The creative industries are currently the heavy users of immersive technologies. While both AR and VR already play an active role in gaming, the next big thing for the entertainment industry is streaming live events. For instance, NEXTVR has partnered with WWE, the world’s largest wrestling association, to broadcast live events in 3D. Immersive technologies have the power to create a deeper emotional connection with content, so this kind of application has enormous monetization potential.
Fashion and retail are also hopping on the bandwagon, like luxury brand MOSCHINO, which launched its first virtual reality fashion show in collaboration with H&M in 2018, using Magic Leap technology.
Engagement is key for implementing immersive technologies, and this is why the application of AR, VR, and 3D is so promising for the retail industry. According to Forbes, the consumer satisfaction rate with the use of immersive technologies exceeds 70%, which makes solutions such as virtual fitting rooms, interactive mirrors and accurate 3D product visualization lucrative for retailers. Luxury brands, such as Chanel, Dior, and many others, are already following the trend, so it is only a matter of time until immersive shopping becomes the new norm. Therefore it is high time to prepare your own business for the new era of shopping.
Cappasity provides a turnkey solution for flawless, fast and efficient embedding of 360°, VR and AR content into an existing business. Cappasity’s Immersive Shopping Lab offers the development of a full roadmap for integrating augmented and virtual reality, as well as analytics for tracking the statistics along the way. Now is the time to prepare for the future and to make your business successful in the new decade. Make it happen by partnering with Cappasity, the experts of AR and VR in retail.