Where is VR Going?

Knoxlabs ponders the potential of virtual reality in various fields…


Virtual reality is an emerging industry, and Knoxlabs feels honored to be a part of its development. For some years now we’ve been watching VR grow before our eyes, and like to think that we’ve played some part in the way things are going. But this blog post is not a venue for us to toot our own horn. No, we’re writing today for a specific purpose, and that is to give a general overview of the three primary spheres in which VR has already made an impact, or will leave its mark in the very near future.

1) GAMING

Gamers may be the most enthusiastic group when it comes to virtual reality. Indeed, what is a video game if not a virtual world? When you play a video game, you become a different version of yourself, perhaps a hero or a genius, and you embark on a fantastic adventure that leads to fantastic ends.

New VR technology has simply taken this addictive experience to a whole other level, hence the enthusiasm. Now you no longer need to imagine that you are in some other reality. You can put on a headset and step into an alternate world complete with 360 views and sounds. In some instances, you can even meet other VR gamers in live time, or go to special venues designed for a highly advanced VR gaming experience.

Thanks to projects like Oculus’ VR Jam, the number of VR apps is growing at a tremendous rate. Already VR has taken its place in the gaming world as king, and there is no doubt that it will keep that position for some time to come.

2) MARKETING

From the very beginning the advertising industry has been an excessively adaptive one. Whenever a new technology becomes popular, marketers are the first to identify it and invent new ways to push their products and services via the new medium. Virtual reality, is no exception.

Already countless big brands are unleashing massive VR marketing campaigns. They give out thousands of customized free cardboards and develop VR apps to promote their brand. Indeed, what better way for a customer to evaluate a product than to experience it in a virtual space? If you’re going to buy a bag online, rather than see it as a 2D image, now you can experience it in a 360 space, turning it around however you like and comparing it with other models.

One of the most important parts of marketing for any brand, is to be able to present your customer base with an attractive image. You want people to fall in love with the feeling of your brand, because that is what sells. With virtual reality, this idea can be realized in a highly effective manner. Brands can create actual experiences that represent their values and image. Furthermore, their customers can actually step into these experiences and get an intimate view of what the brand has to offer.

So far these practices are still being developed and have yet to go viral. But with big brands paving the way, their mass popularity cannot be far off.

3) EDUCATION

Some years ago education made its debut on the online platform. In many ways this was a revolution because it allowed students from all of the world, with various backgrounds and means, to come together online and receive knowledge that was once confined to the halls and classrooms of elite universities. Virtual reality is developing the online classroom further.

There are several startups like AvayaLive Engage that are creating actual virtual classrooms where students and professors are represented as avatars and can meet in live time in the virtual space. Some ivy leagues like Stanford are already testing the software, and it seems likely that as VR headgear becomes more common, so will the use of such virtual classrooms and meeting spaces.

Virtual reality has also become an effective training tool for a variety of professions. Whether it’s the NFL, or the US Army, people whose jobs entail the potential of physical harm can now be trained in virtual scenarios. This way the novice is exposed to less risk as he/she learns, and can practice as much as needed without wasting resources.

Unlike the marketing industry, educational institutions are usually slower with adapting to new technologies. However VR is already being used in some major schools and organizations, thus it must simply be a matter of time before the technology becomes as common as the computer or the notebook.

Now we come to the big one…

… and that is media and communication. However, this blog is already too long, so we’re going to leave those two spheres for another post coming soon.

If you really think about it, virtual reality is a form of communication. It’s a way of expressing ourselves and reaching others that is completely new to our time and presents a vast array of opportunities. We want to cover it thoroughly. So stay tuned!