4 Reasons Virtual Reality is Closer than You Think

In October 2016, I attended OrlandoiX at the Orange County Convention Center in, you guessed it, Orlando, FL. The event was for all things digital, mostly centered around games. I was there with my company, Doghead Simulations, exhibiting our virtual reality collaboration software. While there, I attended a few panels and speakers whose topics were on virtual reality (VR). Although I know the transformative power of VR, it was nice to hear that other industry leaders think so too.

Below are 4 reasons virtual reality is closer than you think:

1. How do we know that VR is not a gimmick technology like 3D?

A gimmick technology is something that everyone thinks is transformative but really isn’t. 3D is one such technology. 3D was shiny and new. Movie producers quickly started filming their movies in 3D. However, it didn’t really catch on. 3D movies have been known to give people motion sickness and the majority of movies are still played in 2D.

Another problem with 3D is that it isn’t an immersive technology, like virtual reality. There is no way to interact with 3D other than with your eyes. Virtual reality on the other hand completely immerses the user in its content. Virtual reality changes the narrative and storytelling for the person inside of it, making the user feel like they are actually part of the story. This is big because when you’re a part of something, you take action to keep it going.

We are also seeing companies invest in VR way more than they did with 3D. The virtual reality market is projecting $120 billion dollars in revenue by 2020! That’s only four years away, whereas 3D film revenue has been dropping since 2010. In 2015 it only raked in $1.7 billion dollars.

2. Isn’t the only virtual reality market for gamers?

Virtual reality will have different markets for different customers such as games, sports, entertainment, business, and medical. There are a lot of markets ripe for disruption. A few of the panelists from OrlandoiX believe that telepresence will be the first content for VR. Take sports for example. Soon you will be able to buy a VIP season pass to your favorite games in virtual reality, where can watch the game as if you were almost in it. Users can already watch basketball games in VR like the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors kick off their title defense.

In the same way that people will be able to participate in their favorite sports games, virtually, they will use VR to participate in other aspects of their lives too. One such area is business meetings. Instead of having to spend countless hours in airports, airplanes, and cars, people will be able to conduct their meetings in virtual reality. They will have all the tools at their fingertips as if they were in a real-life meeting room together, except without the travel time.

3. Headsets are bulky.

It’s important to note that VR is a platform, not a peripheral. Most people, when they
imagine VR think of the HMDs (head mounted displays) worn but the hardware will change and evolve over time. Relating VR to a peripheral would be like saying radio only works old fashioned boxes in your grandparent’s house. Now we can stream radio from our phones, laptops, and cars. In the same way, virtual reality can be experienced through headsets, mobile VR, caves, and who knows what next.

4. My 360-degree video is virtual reality.

There are a couple new technologies on the market besides virtual reality that can be confused with it. There are 360-degree videos that can be explored with apps like VIAR360. 360-degree videos are not real virtual reality because you cannot interact with the content besides moving between scenes that are stitched together and clicking on information buttons added after the video is taken. You can’t change the story of a 360-degree video and this is why it is not VR.

Augmented reality is also confused with VR, especially since the two terms are used together a lot. Augmented reality interposes a digital image in the real world. For instance, check out this video of the Microsoft HoloLens. The friend in Germany is interposed into the room of the person in the US. Another use of augmented reality is Llama Zoo, where you can view a heart and click on it. Think Tony Stark when you think of Augmented Reality.

Down the line, these three technologies, 360-degree video, virtual reality, and augmented reality, will combine to form “mixed reality”, which is the real future.

What do you think about virtual reality? Which are you most excited to use?


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