Virtual reality began as an impossible idea, living only in the imagination of the Jetsens. Yet in the past few years, it has become a tangible goal. Such technologies as the Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard make this seem like an actual reality, rather than an idea only for movies.
The concept of virtual reality, or virtual experience, is using computer technology to create a simulated, 3-D world that a user can manipulate and explore while feeling as if he or she were in that world. Whether you are playing your favorite video game, site seeing across the world from your own bed, or hanging out with friends in VR, it feels as though you are actually immersed in your activity.
VR has many different applications other than a simple 360-degree entertainment experience. A neurosurgeon can view brain structures before a surgery, students can learn about rainforest biological systems without leaving the classroom, and an architect can walk through a building before it’s complete. Training, learning, and designing can all be done in a practical manner.
Take Facebook for example. As a company that has always been on top, the brand is among the first to allow for 360-degree videos to be uploaded to its site, alongside video giant YouTube. While not exactly virtual reality, this is the first step toward mainstream consumption of the technology. Both brands have even made it possible for those users of the Google Cardboard to view 360-degree video. Mark Zuckerberg is even quoted saying that virtual reality will be the most shared content on the web within the next five years.
Meanwhile, Google is working with companies that help create realistic avatars to mimic facial expressions and body movements. The tech mogul is currently aiming to conquer the other senses as well. Some companies like Iceland-based startup BreakRoom is using virtual reality to create virtual office spaces. This allows users to work uninterrupted in a more cohesive workspace. Even such companies as Land Rover are taking advantage of the technology to create hype around their new product, seen in the video below.
The idea alone seems extremely promising, but only if the technology is up to the test. The word “reality” is built right into the title, so defects such as buffering can completely pull the viewer out of the experience. It seems that heightened interest in the media form has forced researchers to step up their game, and it seems as though virtual objects may be closer to reality than they appear.
Combining 360-degree video with accessible VR headset technologies will allow marketers to get more and more creative with their campaign strategy efforts. Once the technology is fully adapted, advertising will be whole new game. Virtual reality is going to fix real world issues, create opportunities for unique problem solving, and open the gates for a non-disruptive, free flow of information.
How is virtual reality going to affect Dallas-Fort Worth? Maybe Toyota will use it to showcase new cars, or Baylor Scott & White will pioneer new medical technologies. We can only wait to find out.
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