The Virtual Reality Landscape In A Nutshell
No industry has had modifications as visible as technology. Nearly every component of human existence has been impacted by technology, namely virtual reality (VR).
Primarily known for its use in the gaming industry and other avenues of entertainment, many companies are beginning to witness firsthand the inherent value of VR in more practical areas to offer better, safer, and smarter decision-making opportunities for businesses.
Learning & Training
Both of these serve to immensely benefit from the immersive technology. A key benefit observed in the most critical industries, for instance, is through allowing risk mitigation, safety optimisation, and upscaling through simulations. VR lets employees practice their tasks and skills in zero-risk environments in manners that are nearly indistinguishable from the real thing. For those operating dangerous or complex machinery, this serves as a powerful tool.
The Feeling Of Presence
Both in entertainment and training, immersion is the driving factor behind an optimised user experience in VR. The technology allows for simulations that look and feel as real as can be. Improvements in recent years in both software and hardware are leading developers to opt for three-dimensional experiences that dynamically impact the user experience. This has created a market that will be projected to explode over the next several years.
Increasing Content Lifespan
As costs associated with content creation in the market of VR have reduced in recent years, software developers can employ the technology in a variety of strategic ways. This means that content featuring VR is more long-lasting and keeps users coming back for more. It’s very easy to observe the way in which this allows for impact content to maximise participation, engagement, and completion.
Tourism and Traveling
Most have been in quarantine for the past few years as a result of the global pandemic, and yet, VR has allowed the continued experience of the real world through digital lenses that give people the opportunity to visit museums, explore hotels and cruise ships, and walk the streets of far-away countries all from the comfort of their own home.
Instead of trying to completely replace the adventures that come with travel, VR simply lets people visit a given space and gain an understanding of their location prior to the commitment of an expensive trip. Upon returning home, VR subsequently delivers the capability of revisiting such amazing locales with personal videography and photography.
Avatars Are Becoming Photorealistic
One of the greatest benefits of VR, especially for enterprises, is the ability to bring employees together from a multitude of locations in a shared area. In a fully remote and hybrid working world, VR can provide engaging spaces in which people can collaborate and share meaningful ideas.
Unlike conferencing with video, VR has the potential to develop the feeling of presence that is naturally experienced in the physical world. However, the illusion only works when the right technology is available. Photorealistic avatars let users create what is essentially a “digital twin” version of themselves to exist and roam in the virtual world. Many potential concerns still need to be overcome, such as the risk of the uncanny valley. Successful avatars with photorealistic graphical detail can not only improve immersion but greatly improve industries like healthcare by allowing doctors to examine patients at a distance.
Features like tracking have been, from the get-go, the quintessential component of successful VR experiences. In order for any HMD to be effective, it must track user movements in a clean and elegant fashion, allowing people to easily look around a room with 6 degrees of freedom like in the real world.
Particularly, eye tracking has proven a key component to deliver immersion and also improve VR technology bandwidth, with many designers experimenting with various tools that allow the software to maximise the resolution of the specific pixels that the user is observing at the time.
This critical strategy for optimisation helps ensure future HMDs use the technology in an efficient way to drive the best possible experiences. Similarly, it will help adjust the position of one’s view in the digital world along with head tracking to help reduce the probability of motion sickness.
Yet another essential consideration for HMDs is spatial audio. As the world of information technology continues to dig deeper into VR’s benefits, it has become increasingly clear that full immersion demands far more than 360-degree views. It’s important for teams to have access to all senses when within the landscape of VR.
This is, by definition, VR’s version of surround sound. Using specialised speakers and headsets, developers can take advantage of sound from specific areas of digital environments, allowing the overall experience to become that much more engaging and realistic. Furthermore, it improves the natural sense of movement when traversing in the virtual world. Spatial audio locks sound in a given landscape to a specific space instead of funnelling everything to the user’s ears at an identical volume regardless of your position. By accomplishing such a feat, VR can better understand the layout of these landscapes in a realistic way.
Solving input has been a major roadblock in delivering the highest sense of immersion, and more HMDs are taking on larger arrays of accessories to enhance the experience. Modern devices come bundled with not only sensors and controllers but also adjustable spatial audio systems. A particularly valuable accessory that has captured mainstream attention in the industry today includes haptic feedback. This refers to the sense of touch in communication. With the aid of motion, pressure, and vibrations, haptic feedback creates the illusion of interacting with real objects.
2022 is only the beginning of what is to come with this fast-paced and exciting vertical. Over the course of the next two years, the industry’s market cap is expected to reach a staggering $300 billion. Trends that have been mentioned in this article are just some of the many ways this innovative technology is used to optimise learning, mitigate risk, and enjoy life.