The Business of Virtual Reality

We live in an age where our favourite science-fiction films are quickly becoming science-fact. While many people bemoan our lack of hoverboards and flying cars, technology is making leaps and bounds in other directions. We are on the cusp of virtual reality becoming a widespread phenomenon. From 360° video to immersion in computer generated environments, the possibilities are getting more attainable, affordable, and realistic every day.

Rather than being used to enslave the human race à la The Matrix, virtual reality technology could have many practical applications. Like the internet, it is in danger of being overlooked as an entertainment gimmick which will only ever be embraced by gamers and nerds, but the truth is that, in a few years’ time, it may be an indispensable piece of office equipment. Here are just a few ways it could be implemented in the business world:

1. Conferencing

While video conferencing has come a long way, there’s still something very impersonal and distancing about attending a meeting through a computer screen. With VR technology and live 360° video streaming, you could attend a meeting in all but body. The level of body language and non-verbal communication that a computer screen obscures will be restored, allowing you to more effectively communicate with your colleagues. It could even make conference rooms redundant; you may well attend a meeting in a virtual boardroom, where all the attendees are in different cities across the globe, each wearing a VR headset.

2. Customer service

Conferencing is just the beginning when it comes to VR’s potential for communication. If you’ve ever rung a technical support phone line, you’ll know how frustrating it can be to try and describe the issue you’re having with your new toaster. If you’ve ever worked on a technical support phone line, you’ll know how frustrating it can be to try and get a more specific response than “my toaster doesn’t work.” If, however, you could simply switch on your VR connection and examine the toaster in 360°, a solution would be so much easier to find, making everyone’s lives easier.

3. Training

Training can be a time consuming and expensive exercise for many businesses. At the moment, simulation is only used by particularly dangerous and expensive industries such as aviation. With the advent of affordable virtual reality and augmented reality headsets, there is the potential to easily digitally train employees without the expense of travel, risk, or expertise that would otherwise be required.

4. Visualising

Even the most exquisite artist’s impression will pale in comparison to being able to guide your client through a virtually rendered model of the conservatory you intend to build for them. Of course, this is just one example, the applications of this technology are limited by your imagination.



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