Technological advancements have moved rapidly in recent years. What we thought was impossible just five years ago is now used daily by everyday people.
The subject of science fiction not so long ago, a lot of tech is now a reality. VR (virtual reality) is a part of that revolution and is pushing the limits of how businesses operate.
VR is a software-generated virtual environment that simulates a place or situation; whether real or fictional. Users can interact with the objects and other participants, as well as the environment itself in a way that feels increasingly real.
Typically, people wear VR headsets that are connected to software in order to create this immersive virtual experience.
Initially, VR was considered as a video gaming novelty, but in recent years, it has also been adopted in various industries (from healthcare to entertainment or education among others) as well as various practical applications.
In this article, we’ll delve into a variety of examples of how businesses are using virtual reality in 2023.
Let’s explore how VR can:
Facilitate employee training in potentially hazardous situations
Accelerate product designing and prototyping
Power marketing and sales strategies
Enhance remote real-time collaboration across the globe
1. VR for training: controlled, engaging & risk-free practice
One of the most popular implementations of VR in recent years has been its ability to create immersive and realistic training and work simulation experiences.
Through the collection of data during sessions, training can be further tailored to each individual as it identifies areas where knowledge or skills are lacking.
Thus, VR training can benefit businesses and organizations in a plethora of fields;
Employee training in hazardous environments
What if you could facilitate training in dangerous environments from a safe place? This is one of the most unique qualities of virtual reality!
You can build VR simulations to train workers on how to safely operate heavy or complex equipment or handle hazardous materials, practice the execution of safety protocols; and all that without putting themselves in harm’s way;
Imagine a virtual construction site with scaffolding: VR is used to create realistic and immersive simulations of hazardous environments without the real-world risks involved;
and thus improve their skills in a safe and controlled environment.
Customer service training
With the advancements in AI technologies, AI-VR integration can further enhance customer service training with its ability to generate complex role-playing scenarios, allowing representatives to virtually deal with a variety of difficult customer situations.
Thus, VR can:
enhance customer service representatives' communications skills and develop their empathy; and help reduce the risks of disappointing or offending real customers
Support the learning and understanding of a product or service and be prepared for different issues, troubleshooting, or claims they may have to deal with.
Support employees in learning the process and steps required in their roles
Medical training and surgery simulations
The medical and healthcare field demands precision, and VR has been a game-changer in helping medical professionals (surgeons, nurses, etc.) practice their skills without risking real patients’ well-being.
VR can create an immersive replica of an operating room, allowing surgeons to not only practice the procedure but also experience the pressure and intensity of real surgeries in real time, over and over again.
This can enhance strategic planning, adaptability, and quick thinking under pressure as well as consolidate knowledge and practical skills.
2. Virtual product prototyping: bridging ideas and reality
In today’s demanding business landscape, speed and efficiency are critical for success; and this is where VR can be a real asset.
Accelerating product development cycles
Many businesses have leveraged VR to accelerate their product development cycles:
Design visualization and iterations: Product designers can leverage VR to visualize and showcase product designs in an immersive and realistic way without needing to build a prototype. This is a cost-effective and faster way to iterate on designs and identify potential problems before building a prototype or the actual physical production starts.
Cost-effective testing: Before VR, we had to build physical prototypes; which are often costly and time-consuming to make. VR can help with performing a thorough test in a completely virtual realm, which can save costs when physical prototypes are not necessary and reduce the time-to-market of the product.
Prototyping in architecture and real estate
VR is also useful in architecture, interior design, and real estate thanks to its ability to create virtual renders of properties and buildings.
Create renders of a design before a build: As architects, this can help visualize a concept, support or amend the design and technical decisions, and establish how to approach the construction of a building
Facilitating 3D virtual tours of properties: this allows potential buyers to explore and “experience” the property in an immersive way without having to physically visit the house.
Visualizing customization options: VR technology can help homeowners or buyers customize every aspect of the property (interior layouts, furnishings, finishes, etc.) by allowing them to visualize the customization choices in a realistic context.
This can help with making better-informed decisions when customizing properties.
In the automotive and aerospace industries
The automotive and aerospace industries have also adopted the use of VR to create virtual prototypes of aircraft and vehicles. Virtual prototyping can benefit businesses in these industries by:
Testing aerodynamics and performance: Businesses in the aerospace and automotive industries can use VR technologies to test the performance and aerodynamics of vehicles and aircraft without needing to create expensive physical prototypes. This can save significant time while allowing engineers to fine-tune and optimize performance via VR simulation.
Reducing waste from physical prototyping: Before VR, building vehicles and aircraft required businesses to start with (more than one) physical prototype, which resulted in significant material waste. VR technologies drastically reduce or even eliminate the need for physical prototyping, which in turn helps with their environmental impact.
⇒ In short, leveraging VR in product development, especially in virtual prototyping, has been a game-changer from the initial product design to actual creation and has enabled businesses to reduce costs, accelerate innovation, experience the space, or try the product, whilst minimizing environmental impact.
3. VR marketing and sales: elevating customer engagement
Modern marketing is about constantly fighting for attention and engagement, and VR is now a potent weapon in delivering various innovative marketing and sales efforts: immersive virtual retail experiences, VR advertising campaigns, interactive promotions, and so on.
So how can VR revolutionize marketing and sales?
Virtual showrooms and retail experiences
One of the most promising ways to use VR in sales/marketing is to create virtual retail experiences and showrooms.
VR can facilitate the experience in several ways:
Trying products and virtual fitting: VR can allow customers to try, “touch,” test, and fit products before purchase, bridging the gap between traditional in-store shopping and the e-commerce experience. This can be especially beneficial for customers wanting to purchase products that are expensive or difficult to return.
Testing customizable options: For example, car dealers can leverage VR to allow potential buyers to explore different paint colors, interior options, or any variant of a car in an immersive way
Interactive advertising campaigns through VR
VR technologies can help create interactive and immersive promotional campaigns.
This way, we can go beyond the traditional promotion experience, taking the audience from mere viewers to allowing them to “experience” the ads.
Interactive VR ads have been shown to be significantly more effective than traditional ads.
These interactive storytelling experiences, paired with VR’s ability to simulate realistic environments and stimulate emotional responses, can allow businesses to engage their customers on a deeper level.
VR implementation in real estate marketing
With VR, we can take prospective buyers on an immersive virtual tour through the property, even if buyers are currently across the globe. Virtual tours allow potential home buyers to “explore” the property and inspect every detail without having to physically visit the house.
Another promising implementation of VR in real estate marketing is showcasing empty/unfurnished space; With VR, real estate agents can virtually stage empty properties with décor and furnishings.
4. Facilitating remote collaboration & fostering innovation through VR
In today’s interconnected and post-pandemic world, remote working and remote collaboration are becoming the norm.
VR technologies have emerged as a powerful solution for organizations in various industries to facilitate better remote collaboration.
We have seen effective VR implementations in remote working, both in creative industries like design or architecture and in more rigid fields like manufacturing and engineering.
With VR, team members located in different locations can collaborate effectively in real-time, facilitating a global team collaboration.
Design and creative collaboration
While other technologies (i.e. video conferencing) can help facilitate remote collaboration, VR has a distinct advantage: its ability to facilitate real-time immersive virtual collaboration.
With VR, multiple engineers, artists, or designers can create, prototype, and modify designs in real time within a shared virtual environment. This collaboration through VR can improve collaboration efficiency, encourage innovation, and minimize errors.
VR technologies can also facilitate cross-industry collaborations, bridging teams in different industries; this can help both teams with creative and innovative solutions by sharing different expertise and ideas.
Streamlining communication among team members
Miscommunication is one of the major hurdles in many organizations, preventing effective workflow execution and innovation.
VR can help facilitate more accurate communication; its immersive real-time environment can help minimize miscommunication so everyone can interpret creative ideas, concepts, and designs more accurately.
5. VR in healthcare and therapy: facilitating healing and rehabilitation
The healthcare industry is one of the industries that can benefit the most from VR.
There have been various VR implementations powering innovative treatment methods for both mental and physical health.
Virtual exposure therapy for anxiety disorders
In recent years, mental health professionals have leveraged VR technology in mental healthcare by using a safe virtual environment for those battling anxiety disorders.
In virtual exposure therapy, patients can be trained to confront their fears gradually in a safe and controlled environment. VR can facilitate gradual desensitization by immersing patients in scenarios that can potentially trigger their conditions but at a controlled and manageable pace.
This controlled gradual exposure allows for a more personalized, comfortable, and effective therapeutic journey. Patients can gradually build resilience and thus reduce their symptoms while minimizing risks.
VR in physical rehabilitation and motor skills improvement
Healthcare providers can use VR to create realistic environments where patients can practice physical exercises in a more entertaining and engaging way.
VR can also support further home-based rehabilitation.
This may also enable them to be more committed to following the whole treatment.
VR has been particularly promising for upper-extremities rehabilitation and helps patients improve their motor skills and physical fitness in a more controlled and safe environment.
Leveraging VR technology will also allow healthcare providers to track patients’ range of motion, movement forms, and progress accurately. Medical professionals can use this data to adjust their treatments accordingly, improving the treatment plan continuously to be more effective and efficient.
Anxiety and pain distraction during medical procedures or in chronic pain
Another common use case for VR in the medical field is to provide virtual entertainment/distraction for patients supporting traditional methods during painful medical procedures (childbirth, surgery, etc.) or suffering from chronic pain
Through using VR, they can focus on the virtual entertainment rather than the pain.
VR is quickly becoming a valid support to traditional pain management. Whilst it doesn’t replace the need for sedation or pain management drugs, it can significantly help through distracting pain signals to the brain or lowering anxiety related to procedures.
6. VR in entertainment and tourism: opening portals to new realities
Entertainment and tourism are among the industries seeing the potential of being transformed by VR.
Virtual tourism and historical recreation
We can use VR technologies to create realistic and immersive simulations of distant eras and locations: the Colosseum in all its glory, the Samurai battles in ancient Japan, and so on.
This VR implementation makes it possible for people to explore historical sites that may no longer exist, even from the comfort of their homes.
VR also makes it possible for us to preserve cultural heritage digitally by recreating historic sites, priceless artifacts, and traditions in a realistic and immersive simulation. Future generations can learn and experience these cultural heritages interactively and further foster the safekeeping of such traditions and memories.
Interactive storytelling and gaming
Gaming has been one of the earliest implementations of VR, but today’s VR technologies have elevated it to the next level.
VR can now be used to create hyper-realistic, immersive narrative experiences, allowing participants to step into the heart of the stories and interact with them rather than simply being passive observers. They can help Sherlock Holmes solve mysteries, enter realistic fantasy worlds, make important decisions to escape the zombie apocalypse, and more.
With new controllers and motion sensors, VR gaming can now allow full-body engagement. Users can interact with the virtual environment in physical ways, like moving their bodies in a sword fight or a dance-off contest with other players.
Live events and concerts in virtual spaces
VR can help dismantle geographical limitations so audiences from all around the world can join live events and concerts.
This won’t only amplify the artist’s reach but also help democratize access to entertainment
While VR could never fully replicate the feeling of live events (at least for now), it can however be used to redefine live entertainment possibilities.
For example, in a VR concert, the audience can have the artist perform on a fantasy stage together with fairies, unicorns, and other fantastic creatures. We could also add more interactivity to the virtual events and even let the audience influence the concert’s or event’s direction.
Future VR trends and considerations
Despite the rapid advancements of VR technology and its implementations, the VR landscape continues to evolve, and there are a number of key trends and considerations that are likely to emerge in the near future.
Continued integration of AI and VR
With the rising adoption of AI (Artificial Intelligence) in the past couple of years, we could also expect the integration of VR and AI going forward.
This VR-AI integration can bring a plethora of benefits, including but not limited to:
Personalization: AI algorithms can custom-tailor the VR experiences to each user’s preferences and needs, so each of these VR journeys will be uniquely engaging.
Enhanced realism: AI can be utilized to improve the interactivity and realism of VR environments, further blurring the boundaries between the virtual and the real world.
Seamless interactions: AI technologies like natural language processing (NLP) and gesture recognition will facilitate more seamless and intuitive interactions within the VR environment.
Growing ethical concerns and privacy issues
With VR being widely adopted and used all around the world, there’s now a rapidly growing concern for data privacy issues and ethical matters.
Data privacy issues: Many VR environments collect a vast amount of sensitive user data, which raises concerns about data privacy and cybersecurity.
When implementing VR technologies, the business in question should first carefully develop policies and regulations to take these data privacy issues into account and carefully navigate the ethical landscape.
Depersonalization: When not appropriately managed, prolonged use of VR applications can potentially lead to depersonalization, a condition where users struggle to differentiate between the virtual environment and the real world. It’s critical to carefully consider the potential mental health impacts of VR technology and act preemptively.
Preventing addiction and overuse: Similarly, there’s a growing risk of VR users becoming addicted and spending too much time in virtual environments. It’s critical to find the right balance between maximizing engagement and educating users about responsible usage when using VR technologies.
Potential for VR technology democratization
In the future, we can expect the increasing democratization of VR technologies.
More accessible VR education and training: As the technology becomes more accessible, virtual training could become the standard solution for training and education; more professionals and students can now leverage VR technologies to enhance existing skills and develop new ones.
Increased affordability: Further technological advancements in VR technology will make it more widely available and affordable; it will become more accessible, especially for smaller businesses and individuals with tighter budgets.
Empowering global collaboration: As VR becomes accessible to a broader demographic all around the world, the potential for global collaboration will also expand.
Virtual Reality (VR) has become a driving force of transformation in many industries.
There is now a wide variety of VR technology implementations for businesses, and here are some of the key advantages of using virtual reality:
Improved efficiency and productivity: VR can help businesses streamline their operations and save their expenses in various ways.
Cost-Efficiency: VR enables virtual training and remote collaboration, which can help businesses save costs.
Healthcare and therapy: One of the most exciting implementations of VR is in the healthcare and medical industry, as much for training of medical staff than as therapeutic support in both physical and mental health treatments.
Augmented Decision-Making: VR empowers data visualization in a more lifelike manner, facilitating more informed and effective decision-making.
If you are interested in embarking on your business’s own VR adventure, check out Pixaera’s cutting-edge VR training solutions and expertise.
Pixaera helps build custom-tailored VR experiences to support businesses, captivate target audiences or enhance employee training in engaging and exciting ways.
We have been working tirelessly to create personalized and effective VR training solutions for high-risk industries such as construction or Oil and Gas, and we are ready to take you on your own VR journey, wherever you wish it to go!