Virtual reality is taking the entertainment and gaming worlds by storm, but there is a more serious side to VR too: business. While many may see VR as little more than a fancy new toy, there are serious business applications for VR. It will help lower costs, increase sales, improve efficiency and enhance the overall customer experience.
Small mistakes in the planning stages can turn into big issues later on, and VR is a great tool for preventing costly future problems. VR is already revolutionizing the architectural and building process by allowing people to inspect the final product before it is even built. Want to experiment with different office layouts before committing to one? You can do that in VR. What if you are opening a new retail store and want to make sure it has the proper customer flow? VR has you covered. Want to explore potential locations without leaving home? No problem in VR.
VR used to only be a tool for major industrial companies like Ford in their product design because of its high cost, but recent advancements have brought the cost down low enough so all different industries can start including VR in their planning stages.
After all of that planning, it is time to start training. Luckily, you can do that in VR too. From welders to astronauts and everything in-between (even professional athletes), VR is a great way to train employees on technical skills. It is also a tool for customer-facing employees, helping improve their empathy and showing them how to respond in different situations. One of its biggest potential applications is in medical training, which Goldman Sachs estimates is a $5 billion + market opportunity.
Any business that focuses on “experiencing a space” should be taking advantage of VR. Real estate is one clear use case for VR, and startups like Matterport and Virt have been developing new ways to bring the real world into VR. Retailers, both online and brick & mortar, have started using VR as a tool to enhance the customer experience. Travel companies have also taken notice, with leaders like Marriott and Qantas providing VR experiences.