Interest, investments and funding are not scarce for companies eager to spearhead the VR industry. Funding was reaching $2.8 billion in 2016 and totaling $8.8 billion since 20121. Some predict the virtual reality hardware and software market will reach the $70 billion mark by 20202.
The business applications of VR are as varied as the industries the technology could impact; Virtual Reality as a means of business communication both internally and externally has long been envisioned and predicted. The applications can range from “face-to-face” meetings to mass participation through “Virtual Conventions.” Enterprise adoption of VR would also mean the introduction of a massive opportunity for Communication providers.
Virtual Reality, in one iteration or another, has long been used by the aerospace and defense industry, be it for product design or for simulations/training. The technology will no doubt further evolve in this industry as well as translate to industrial manufacturers, where equipment is expensive and training is costly. Beyond the benefits to manufacturers using the technology for product design, utilizing Virtual Reality for training can have immediate effects and be extremely cost-effective.
The potential opportunities Virtual Reality offers to the media and entertainment industry is notable; albeit in an experimental capacity. The technology has the potential to define not only the experience of sporting events and music concerts, but also span to the film industry and television broadcasts, by providing an immersive experience for the user that might also find favor with advertisers, especially with the potential of eye tracking technology being incorporated.
Automotive companies are experimenting with creating virtual “test drives” that demonstrate the experience of driving one of their cars through an immersive experience. Similarly, retailers are finding VR helpful to enable shoppers to experience products they typically require viewing in person for “fit and feel” from the comfort of their home.
In seemingly every industry, enterprises can find benefits from VR, from enhancing communication to more effective training and product development, to improving the customer experience. For example, marketing departments might benefit from the tracking data and analytics the technology could provide. Marketers and advertisers can utilize Virtual Reality for purposes of brand loyalty and awareness by building immersive experiences directed at consumers. Furthermore, VR applications to help in big data visualization across the enterprise are already being developed.