Virtual Reality for Business

Virtual Reality for Business
Article by Sumana Ganguly
Last Updated: November 30, 2023

Virtual reality for business is rapidly expanding — from less than $12 billion in 2022, it is expected to reach over $22 billion by 2025. Industry leaders predict that the investment pace in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will increase by 83% in the following period.

You might wonder why virtual reality for business became so widely accepted; the answer is pretty simple. VR accelerates and improves all stages of business processes, from designing and manufacturing to product presentation, marketing campaigns and customer experience.

Considering all the opportunities and benefits it delivers, interest in virtual reality for business purposes is at its peak — and it will keep growing as this technology becomes more advanced.

This article will introduce you to virtual reality for business, its usages and advantages.

Let’s dive in.

What Is Virtual Reality for Business?

Programmers use modern technology — computer modeling, simulation and realistic picture generation — to create an artificial 3D environment known as virtual reality.

Using VR headsets and haptic gloves, people can enter the virtual world and experience real-life sensations. VR can involve the senses of vision, hearing, smell, touch and feeling of warmth and/or cold to provide an immersive feel of the real world.

VR has many applications — from entertainment to business, and they all include staying in a 3D world, like the one in video games or animations.

Companies incorporate VR into their business operations in a relevant and appropriate way for their industry, market and target audience. Virtual reality allows businesses to present their products and services uniquely, improving user experience and increasing engagement, loyalty and brand credibility, which all drive more revenue in the end.

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Is Virtual Reality the Same as Augmented Reality?

People often use the terms “virtual reality” and “augmented reality” (VR and AR) interchangeably, but it’s important to understand their differences as businesses look to digital transformation.

While VR immerses the user in an entirely fictional world, augmented reality is only 25% virtual — it relies on real-world scenes and doesn't require any VR equipment. AR places 3D objects in the natural environment with the help of a technology device, usually a smartphone. A perfect example of AR is Google’s 3D and augmented reality search.

Although they can work separately, VR and AR create a symbiosis that provides an exciting and engaging customer experience. Their combination is also known as mixed reality (MR).

How To Use Virtual Reality for Business Purposes

Companies can choose from various virtual reality solutions that best suit their industry, market and target audience. Here are some reasons businesses use VR:

1. Marketing

By creating appealing virtual surroundings, businesses can tell a story about their brand, show their products in a different light, provide memorable and engaging user experiences, retain customers and stand out from the competition. VR for marketing purposes provides almost endless opportunities and can be used by various industries.

2. eCommerce

47% of people globally don't like shopping online since they can't physically view the products they’re buying. In addition, 43% of consumers said that not being able to try products before buying was their primary objection to online shopping.

VR showrooms, developed by leading AR/VR companies, offer a solution to both of these issues. They allow customers to view the products from all angles and perspectives while resting in the comfort of their homes.

3. Manufacturing

In the manufacturing sector, VR can increase productivity, lower training costs and boost the availability of new items to the market. By simulating manufacturing operations, VR can improve safety at work — it predicts and helps avoid potential hazards associated with the assembly line and other dangerous spots.

4. Data Visualization

3D technology is becoming popular in data analytics because it provides fewer distractions, more space to display data, increased processing bandwidth and more natural interaction.

Data visualization provides a better understanding of data alone and repeating patterns. It is considerably simpler to understand the results using images and videos rather than just numbers or textual content.

5. Training and Education

Companies and educational institutions increasingly use VR for educational purposes, employee training and experiential learning. VR shortens the time needed to acquire new knowledge because it allows candidates to experience all theoretical situations in practice. Such lessons are memorable and improve engagement and exam results.

6. Design and Prototyping

Prototyping is essential when developing a new product, but instead of 3D printing technology you can make prototypes in VR faster and more efficiently. VR facilitates and accelerates all the designing stages, enabling designers to create integrated 3D representations of their concepts. Moving these tasks into the virtual environment is also cost-effective.

7. Transportation

VR is a powerful visualization tool that may simulate forces, collisions, various road configurations and meteorological conditions. At the design and development stage, it also enhances vehicle safety. Before creating a prototype, designers and engineers can assess and analyze how a collision affects a model.

8. Healthcare

VR technology is used in some medical institutions to help doctors understand symptoms and development of various health conditions, such as dementia, migraine, Parkinson's disease and others. By simulating genuine surgical techniques and anatomy in VR, surgeons can improve readiness and effectiveness in the operating room.

9. Military

With risk-free training and realistic vehicles and weaponry, VR prepares soldiers for real battle situations. Training instructors can even include tracking devices with haptic feedback to provide soldiers with a more realistic training environment.

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Advantages of Virtual Reality for Business

VR application has great potential in various industries besides gaming, with which it is mainly associated. Here are some of the most prominent benefits of business usage of VR:

1. Time and Cost-Effective Product Design

Whether it's a prototype toy, car or building, VR can significantly reduce costs.

In VR, you can see the product from all angles under different lighting and in various environments. That will give you insights into the elements that need to be changed before starting production.

Best of all — you can make as many virtual prototypes as you need until you get the final version to bring to reality.

2. Affordable Product Testing

Developing and testing a new product can cost thousands of dollars, but not if you examine it in virtual surroundings. Before you create an actual material product, test all its features in VR and make necessary adjustments.

The industrial Metaverse is one of VR's best examples of product testing. Nvidia, the world leader in artificial intelligence computing, has created Omniverse — an open platform for 3D design collaboration and digital twin simulation. Ericsson built digital twins in Omniverse to test 5G antennas and their environmental impact before implementing them in the real world.

3. Risk-Free Investments

Let's say you own a chain of stores and want to redesign their interior. You are unsure if your idea is good, and its implementation will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Instead of taking unnecessary risks, create the interior in VR. You can walk through the redesigned store and see it from all angles. Invite the designers and management of the firm to join you and decide together whether the real-life investment is worth it or not.

4. Improved Customer Experience

The positive customer experience (CX) builds brand credibility, and people tend to be loyal to the brand they trust. Focusing on CX, VR and AR improves marketing campaigns.

Allow customers to gain real insight into the products or services they are about to buy, and you will get long-term loyal customers who will be your brand's best advocates.

For example, using VR allows customers to walk on Hawaiian beaches, smell salt in the air and see the green of the mountains in the embrace of the sea waves. A walk through the paradise apartments on the beach will convince them to pay a high arrangement price.

Using AR, you can allow customers to try out a wardrobe or a new hairstyle on themselves or see pieces of furniture in their home before they actually invest their money.

5. Leveled-up Competitive Advantage

Gaining a competitive advantage is one of the top three priorities, according to 57% of businesses. Still, how do you get customers' attention in a market that is overflooded with similar products? Use VR to your advantage.

Offering a unique experience of your product will gain more attention than a “regular” advertisement. Your customers will appreciate the added value you’re providing and stay loyal to your brand — and you cannot put a price on that.

6. Global Collaboration Possibility

VR opens the door to global collaboration without the need to leave the comfort of your office. You can gather experts worldwide without expensive plane tickets and hotel stays — just put on your VR headsets and join a virtual collaboration network.

7. Increased Profitability

All your efforts to accelerate business operations, train employees and improve customer experience ultimately drive more revenue to your company.

Does Using VR for Business Purposes Have Disadvantages?

Despite its many advantages, virtual reality for business also has some drawbacks:

  • Although it might save you money, VR technology requires a considerable investment.
  • Only customers that have VR equipment can engage with your brand.
  • VR technology is in the early stages of development and it will take time to be widely accepted.

Virtual Reality for Business: Final Thoughts

According to predictions, the global VR industry will reach $26.9 billion by 2027, leading to additional breakthroughs in this cutting-edge technology.

Virtual reality provides many benefits to almost all industries, with only a few downsides. It facilitates learning processes, engages employees and customers, improves customer experience, builds brand awareness and drives revenue.

The future is here — just find a suitable way to incorporate it into your business strategy according to your company's missions and objectives.

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