The rise and demand for virtual reality (VR) can no longer be ignored. Daily, new stories about the leaps and bounds made in VR emerge across global media, and the time to act for your business is now.
It’s time to welcome the numerous benefits that virtual reality can bring to your business.
Not convinced? This blog will cover some of the most popular uses of VR technology in business, so you have some practical ideas on where to get started!
What is virtual reality technology?
The essence of virtual reality is to replace the visual aspect of an environment or experience and replace it with a customised world. This can be done to simulate a situation or provide an entertaining experience.
Individuals can be exposed to virtual reality by companies, through the use of headsets which create a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment that a person can explore and interact with.
The application of virtual reality by businesses is expanding all the time, as the benefits are becoming clearer. From fighter pilot training to underwater diving experiences, the possibilities of VR seem to be only limited by our imaginations. And, with the ever-improving technology behind these ideas, VR has never been more accessible or commercially useful than today.
The benefits of virtual reality technology
The potential of virtual reality is enormous. Just in the entertainment industry, immersive films and video games are good examples of how the technology can be applied to exceed customer expectations and gain an advantage over competitors. Outside of entertainment, virtual reality has many serious, real-world, applications to offer as well.
1. Project planning and conceptions
Virtual reality can be employed by architects, engineers and designers to view and present their ideas and concepts, on a realistic scale.
Imagine replacing the scaled-down model version of a new building, with a virtual reality version that can actually be explored in the first person. This is a powerful tool for investors and clients. With VR, they can conceptualise the environment and gain a greater understanding of what the project will look like when finished.
The practical aspect of being able to visualise projects can also assist with monitoring and improving safety and spotting defects. Allowing planners to carry out a certain degree of testing before any materials are actually committed.
2. Customer Experience
Retailers are able to provide personalised shopping experiences using VR technology. A great example of this is IKEA’s VR retail experience. This solution allows users to choose a layout for their home, furnish it in real scale and then get a list of all items selected with the unique reference code and price list.
There are various other examples of customer experiences being improved through the use of virtual reality technologies, such as test driving new cars without needing to leave the showroom. This technology allows products to be opened up to a much wider market and with some experiences being accessed from home, the barriers for participation are really low.
Consumers can see how they would look wearing new clothes or accessories without having to try them on in person, even new hairstyles can be tested out! The speed and ease that these products can be accessed by the marketplace make virtual reality a powerful commercial device, especially when compared to traditional methods of “try before you buy”.
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Online education is not a new phenomenon. In fact, in recent years its use has exploded through necessity (i.e the dreaded pandemic!)...but there were aspects of training that couldn’t be done through an online portal. However, VR technology can bridge the gap between online learning and the demands of real-world, hands-on training. Immersive training scenarios can be accessed through headsets to help students and staff learn new skills and develop.
For example, a US-based plumbing and heating company helps train their engineers by using virtual reality to expose them to common scenarios from that industry.
Companies of any size can use virtual reality for their marketing. With the technology allowing for virtual reality to be employed on smartphones through a downloadable app, there’s no prohibitive cost associated with incorporating virtual reality into a marketing campaign or product launch.
With modern consumers more tech-savvy and with higher expectations, the latest technology has to be embraced to make meaningful connections with your target audience. VR technology allows companies to achieve this.
Such marketing campaigns can include 360º videos or even advertising posters that can be interacted with through QR codes and smartphone apps.
Remote learning and hybrid working are here to stay now. Video calling is almost ubiquitous to allow for effective communication and collaboration amongst professional teams. By incorporating virtual reality, the collaboration can occur in a virtual environment of your design, not just removing distractions but providing opportunities for creativity and innovation.
A virtual work environment can help to reduce the cost of providing ad hoc physical workspaces and meet the huge demand for blended working. With virtual work environments, managers can feel connected to the team, while providing them with the flexibility to work physically from their preferred location.
The benefits of virtual reality to business are far-reaching and only limited by the creativity and imagination of those employing it.
It can be used to take products to a wider and more accessible marketplace, or to design and test products. It has revolutionised the concept of “try before you buy” and in the future, will be utilised in many areas of the manufacturing, training, health, fitness and retail industries.
The only question is, how will you use it?
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