Virtual reality offers the potential to completely alter the way we see, think and interact with the world. Goldman Sachs predicts that virtual reality/augmented reality headsets have the potential to replace smartphones and personal computers as the tool of choice for interfacing with technology. (1) It has the capacity to be revolutionary, with many use cases in a wide range of business applications across many different industries.
As with all new technology, virtual reality presents forward thinking businesses innovative ways to improve themselves and their products/services. In the coming years it is expected to have applications in a wide range of businesses, leading many big technology companies (such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Sony, HTC & Samsung, to name a few) are beginning to take interest in utilising and developing this new platform. In 2014-2016 alone there were 225 VR venture capital investments totalling 3.5 billion, 30% of B2C companies on Forbes 2000 used VR marketing in 2017 (2) and there is expected to be a x20 increase in the total internet traffic of VR/AR between 2016 and 2021. (3)
So why is there so much hype about this new technology? To put it simply, people enjoy virtual reality experiences. They are more emotionally engaging than normal video (4) and after trying a VR experience people often describe it using words like ‘cool’, ‘like’, ‘awesome’, ‘excited’ & ‘fun’. Additionally, people are highly likely to tell their friends about VR experiences and go on to seek out more VR in the future. Even among those who haven’t tried VR, most are interested and feel positively towards VR experiences. (5) VR is also excellent for building consumer sentiment: using VR builds a positive view of a brand, as well as making it seem innovative. (6)