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4 min read
How Virtual Reality is changing business
Posted in Technology on 30th November 2016 9:00 am
In June this year we wrote a blog post about Virtual Reality, where we looked at how the technology can be used as a gaming phenomenon, as a storytelling tool, and as a sales tool. Since then, we’ve had the chance to try it for ourselves.
In April this year, Liverpool Science Park welcomed the company ‘Real Space’.
Real Space are an exciting team enablers and creators, specialising in virtual and augmented reality. They’re currently working on a variety of exciting projects with clients varying from football clubs to Liverpool landmarks.
When we were invited to come and try out Real Space’s virtual reality technology, we jumped at the opportunity.
I put on the headset and went on a virtual journey from New York, to outer-space and to the bottom of the ocean.
There is a strange tension between the feeling of being immersed in a computer-generated environment, and the reality of being in a green screened room full of people watching your every move.
The experience was undeniably incredible, and it’s safe to say, we were impressed.
Whilst we were in Real Space, we also learnt about how VR technology works and how businesses use it today.
What is the difference between virtual and augmented reality?
Virtual reality is a computer-generated environment that a user can immerse themselves in a way that feels real.
Currently, virtual reality uses two of the five senses: sight and sound. However companies are working to incorporate taste, touch and smell in order to enhance the experience further.
Augmented reality however, is the blending of virtual reality and real-life.
Users can interact with the virtual things within the context of reality. The technology used is very similar to that of virtual reality, the only difference is that it is a computer-generated object within the environment of reality.
The most current example of this, is the Pokemon Go phenomenon. Within the application, users can see and interact with virtual creatures within the context of their own environment.
Virtual reality requires many technical parts, the basics of which include a computer with a VR programme, head mounted display (HMD), controllers and hand tracking devices.
The HMD can range from something as simple as the Google Cardboard to the more sophisticated Samsung Gear VR.
Generally, VR headsets have two different displays, which alter the images slightly per eye to create a 3D image. This change in image is done to emulate the slight difference of vision we have from looking solely through our left or our right eye.
In order to truly create a feeling of visual reality, head tracking is key.
This ensures the image portrayed through the device adapts to every slight movement of the head to emulate sight. The use of 3D audio can also increase the sense of immersion by enhancing the encompassing feeling of virtual reality further.
Along with head tracking, motion tracking can make the virtual experience more deeply engaging, meaning users can interact fully with their surroundings. Not only can consumers be placed underwater, but they can interact with the anemones and the jelly fish passing by.
This movement can be emulated either through having motion detection sensors surrounding the area, or more commonly by having hand held motion sensors that double up as controls.
Whilst virtual reality headsets make a good Christmas present, there is much more this modern technology can do.
The Independent have discussed how VR could change our shopping habits not only from being online, but by creating virtual changing rooms where consumers can try on virtual clothes before ordering them online.
They have even mentioned the possibility of VR headsets that detect your emotions, and will then change the ‘reality’ portrayed accordingly.
Conversely, companies such as Diageo are using VR to enhance awareness of issues surrounding their product offering such as drink driving. The multinational drinks company released a 360° video on their social media which was compatible with various VR devices to allow as many users to experience it as possible.
In order to enhance the experience further, Diageo provide a D-Box chair in some of their events to incorporate the 3rd sense of touch, to make the experience more jarring and realistic.
Along with enhancing commercial experiences and promoting causes, VR can also be used to create a feeling of intimacy with things that otherwise weren’t very interactive.
The Telegraph recently released an article detailing how young parents can now meet their unborn child through Virtual Reality. Not only can this technology enhance this important moment, but it also allows doctors to detect problems early.
Real Space are working with other companies on exciting projects that contribute to integral parts of the business, as well as their marketing and advertising campaigns.
This new technology will have immense effect upon how businesses work internally, as well as externally with their customers.
To find out how you could use this technology to aid your business, we’d highly recommend you get in touch with Real Space.
And finally, a big thank you to Real Space for inviting us to their offices to experience this exciting new technology!
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