VR is that technology that has been bubbling under for years, slowly, slowly having breakthroughs here and there, slowly being discovered by more people. VR is here to stay. As the engines that power VR worlds advance, 3D imaging becomes easier, and VR headsets decrease in cost, we’re about to see this particular technology take off – with a whole range of applications. Here are five examples of how VR is set to change how we live.
1. VR gaming starts hitting its strides
VR gaming at the moment is still in its infancy. There aren’t a whole lot of games on the market and the games that are out there are fractured across platforms – they only exist on one, unlike games like Call of Duty which have versions available across multiple systems. There’s even the new IMAX VR centers, like the video arcade alleys of the 80s, being rolled out which are an interesting concept but a further fracturing.
Once VR gaming engines start to advance further and there is more talent and money poured into the industry, we’ll start to see it coming along in leaps and bounds. While the majority of interest in VR gaming from a consumer perspective currently lies in first person shooters (much like online gaming in general), it will be interesting when we’re being served realistic-looking games in all genres.
For instance, online gambling and casinos are popular with players looking to have a punt. Much as casinos in the real world are an exciting way to relax, so too are online ones. Imagine VR casinos where you hit the casino floor (maybe even a model of a real casino in Vegas), and check out the slots or blackjack tables, where it’s possible to win real money?
2. The way we are working is changing
Change is afoot in the workforce. What we are seeing is a shift in the way that we do work. Not only are companies offering more flexible working terms, there are now more fully remote jobs on offer, and the gig economy means that people don’t need to lock in to one particular job at all. Whereas big businesses up until now have been keen to retain top talent or take on consultants, all signs point to expert freelancing being a new way of doing business.
How does this relate to VR? Well, people don’t want to go into the office all the time. They don’t want to trek across town for a meeting. They don’t want to have to fly interstate, or worse, internationally. The issue with this currently is that online communication can be difficult. Sure, we have virtual meetings with either voice, or voice and video, but it simply isn’t the same as really being there. However, an immersive, VR experience? It might just be personal, detailed and “real” enough to cut it.
Having VR meetings might just be the best thing to happen to the international workforce.
3. Home buying and renting
If you have ever gone through the process of buying or renting a home, then you will know how annoying it can be traipsing from home to home to try and find the one that you want to buy or rent. Viewings might be at inopportune times, they might clash with others, or be on the complete opposite side of the city – or even the world. Buying off the plan means putting your faith in static knock ups with little “feel” of how your new home will be in real life.
VR is already changing all this. Many real estate companies are readily taking up VR as a way to help interested parties view homes that are inconvenient to get to, or in the case of off the plan homes, do not yet exist. Virtual walkthroughs are becoming a popular tool for real estate agents to bring the home to you – rather than the other way around.
Imagine it, a real estate agent comes to your door with a VR set (or you use your own at home) and gives you walkthroughs of all the properties you’re interested in. If one of these doesn’t strike your fancy, new homes that come on the market are sent straight to you to view.
4. Event attendance
You know how pay per view boxing events make the whole world go bonkers? Cable companies sell the rights to view the bout – and we sit there glued to our screens? The rich and famous make their way to the event with hundred thousand dollar seats? Events are a huge business, and plenty of people want to get in on the action.
Now, what’s better than being able to watch the boxing in 2D on your widescreen? Slipping on your VR and being ringside among the action. With live streaming VR, this is possible. It’s not just sporting events that this will be able to be used for. Imagine being able to be “present” at the Oscars, or Carnival in Rio?
But perhaps the best applications of VR event attendance will be for business. Whether there are physical conferences and events, or purely VR events, attendees from around the world will be able to gather, share expertise, and buy and sell, all without leaving their home offices.
We may even see consumer marketplaces, ala the Big Market from Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, becoming a reality.
5. VR for military training
VR has been explored as a military capability in defense departments around the world since day dot, as a low-cost training alternative. Real life training for the military, ground, air, and sea forces, can come at a huge expense, and oftentimes departments are under pressure to come in under budget.
VR offers the military an amazing low-cost solution that doesn’t require forces to be in situ (or simulated in situ) or even co-located.
Simulated military exercises are nothing new. They have been around since computers were capable enough of giving a “good enough” impression of an exercise. The military has always been keen to use computers to help give them the edge. You’ll remember that the internet itself is a product of a defense project.
The issue with developing VR applications for defense is that the knowledge of how to build these platforms rests solely within the gaming industry at this point. They are the ones with the technology to build these solutions – not defense. What this means is that we will potentially see governments purchasing gaming houses, or contracting them for more and more business.
VR is also going to become more prevalent in other industries where there is a lot of investment, however, live training is very expensive – such as in medical applications and heavy-duty manufacturing.
6. The Entire History of You
This one is a Black Mirror episode, but just hear us out for a minute. The Entire History of You’s premise is that a chip implanted in everyone’s brain is able to record their entire lives, available to replay whenever they please.
Could this be a reality? There is no doubt that you could record all your experiences from your own viewpoint, along with sound, and upload to the cloud right now – you might need a lot of storage at the moment. You could easily replay them on a VR headset. You could revisit a particular point in time by the timestamp – or even perhaps by asking Siri/Alexa/Cortana/? to take you back to a particular place when you give them some input.
This is all easily implementable right now. It might be a little bit creepy but it’s definitely achievable. Imagine being able to find exactly where you left your keys easily? Go back to conversations to see if you missed anything? The implications are staggering. However, it might be best to check out the episode if you’re wondering why it might not be such a great idea.
Let us know in the comments below and if you are a fan of Virtual Reality!
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Nerd Stash. An avid gamer since I could walk and can be found in Ashland, KY, where he hopes to find inspiration and uniqueness in life by meeting awesome people, development friendships with companies, and become more nerdy.