Virtual Reality is no more the hobbyists’ garage adventure it used to be; major technology and entertainment players like Facebook, Samsung, Google, Sony, and many others are betting big on the new technology. They have already poured massive amounts of money into it, and each of them envisions different future applications for VR. They all agree that VR is where the future battles for consumers will be fought, so what does this mean for other players in the market?
A typical lifecycle for every new technology is comprised of 4 phases – ideation, early adoption, maturity, and obsolescence. Ideation is the riskiest phase for businesses. The idea is untested and it is not even clear whether the theory will translate into an implementable form. If the idea works out, the rewards are immense! Then comes the early adoption phase: during this phase, there is enough proof that the technology is fully implementable. Perhaps, there are multiple prototypes of the technology too, but its commercial success is still unknown. This is the phase where entrepreneurs and startups with high risk appetite enter: they are instrumental in making new technology mainstream and will reap all the rewards of an early mover. Right now, Virtual Reality is in this phase.
VR is currently a tested product, yet there are still a lot of unknowns. We still don’t know how to make the VR experience as intuitive as, say, a touchscreen. Naturally, there isn’t much content created for VR; however, this is also the perfect time for businesses to develop a VR strategy so that they can ride on the huge VR wave on the horizon. Pokémon Go has already showed us what Augmented Reality can do for us, if implemented correctly. VR does not have any dearth of applications either — from gaming to education to adult entertainment and more, there is a whole world of opportunities for VR technologies. As touchscreens revolutionized the smartphone industry, an intuitive VR experience can give it the necessary push for wider consumer adoption. Considering the massive support this technology has in the industry, it is bound to happen sooner than later. This has serious implications for small time players.
Humans are imaginative organisms; everything we think, we do it in images. However, our instruments of education – black boards, projector screens, computer screens, etc. – impart knowledge through 2D models. Not all students have the same mental faculties required to interpret 2D images and form 3D mental images. This makes for a disastrous limitation in learning for students of all ages. VR seeks to change all of this. VR technology will revolutionize the learning experience for the next generation of students; it will be richer and more effective in delivering knowledge to students in a way that is more readily absorbed by the young minds.
The good thing about this industry is that there is an immediate demand for this technology. Universities, colleges, and schools are competing to differentiate their programs from their competitors, and VR enabled classroom technology will help them make the next big leap. Interested businesses can easily gauge the demand for such products by talking to institutions in their markets, and then embark on developing education oriented VR technologies for them. That’s a highly profitable and relatively low risk option.
Let’s face it: video games have been eating up family time. Players are spending less and less time socializing with their family and friends, and spending more of their time playing games. But VR takes it even further. Frankly, VR is probably the single most isolating experience humans have come up with so far; however, it also has the potential to be a powerful socializing experience. Thanks to VR, we will soon be able to play video games, watch movies, and have face to face conversations with each other without being physically present at a place. Imagine this. You don’t have to suffer through the traffic to gather at your friend’s house to enjoy a game together. Similarly, you can play multiplayer videogames with your friends who are located in a different part of the world. You can enjoy live concerts, boxing matches, and other events with your friends using VR technology, without even sharing the room with them.
The social aspect of VR will be one of the next big applications of VR. In a world dominated by a very few social giants like Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp, any business that offers VR enabled social media platform can easily become a giant in itself.
These two VR applications come with enormous potential for rewards and a lower risk factor. For businesses looking to diversify or for startups looking for a promising revenue source, now is the time to invest in VR solutions.