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Published on June 23rd, 2018 | by Sunit Nandi

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Five Most Innovative Industries in Virtual Reality Besides Gaming

After remaining dormant for more than a decade, virtual reality finally took off last year, thanks to the collective efforts of hardware manufacturers, software developers, and other heavily invested parties.

Although primarily championed by the gaming and entertainment communities, virtual reality has found a place in many other industries. Entrepreneurs and IT specialists are discovering new applications of VR every day. In fact, there are only a few industries left that seemingly lack the potential of making use of the technology.

Below are five industrial sectors that are being revolutionized by virtual reality.

1. Healthcare

VR has increasingly become a useful tool in the medical industry. For starters, hospitals are now using virtual reality software to train medical professionals across a variety of activities, including inserting IVs and catheters, performing CPR, and caring for wounds. In a report by Fortune, Dr. Narendra Kini, Miami Children’s Health System CEO, remarked that VR allows trainees to form memories as though they have done the procedures in real life.

In addition to making healthcare study more practical and comprehensive, medical and research institutions are using virtual reality for exposure therapy, where patients with phobias of heights, crowds, cluster, or even public speaking can practice in a safe and controlled environment.

In another case, a VR experience called SnowWorld is helping burn victims deal with the painful process of wound care by distracting them with an immersive environment featuring snowball-throwing penguins.

As experts continue to discover new ways of incorporating virtual reality into healthcare, it won’t be long until the technology becomes the standard for consumer experience.

2. Space

Gadgets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive allow those of us who aren’t astronauts to visit unreachable realms of the universe right in the comfort of our homes. Software like Universe Sandbox, for example, enables us to interact with the cosmos in new and exciting ways.

Taking things up a notch is NASA, which recently teamed up with visual effects company Magnopus, the European Space Agency and Facebook’s Oculus division, to create a virtual reality app, with which one can explore the ins and outs of the International Space Station.

Even more remarkable is the Mars 2030 project, which promises to let users walk around 15 square miles of the Red Planet, experience the feel of an actual spacesuit, drive a Mars rover, and hang out with a humanoid robot named Valkyrie. Mars 2030 will be available later this year, on the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and PlayStation VR.

Beyond virtual exploration, virtual reality also offers space agencies a practical tool for training astronauts, designing sustainable human missions and inspiring the next generation of space scientists.

3. Business

Virtual reality is slowly but steadily finding its way into the modern business environment. Progressive companies are making use of VR technology in employee recruitment, where candidates are placed in complex situations to give the employers a better gauge of their suitability. Similarly, training new staff is becoming more direct and hands-on.

In the retail sector, emerging businesses are using VR technology to give customers a more intuitive shopping experience, where potential buyers can walk around stores and pick out what they want.

VR is also replacing traditional boardrooms by allowing executives from different locations to meet in a simulated environment. Therefore, going to meetings no longer requires attendees to be physically present.

4. Education

The advantage of using virtual reality as a teaching tool is that it enables students to perceive the learning process as a more engaging three-dimensional experience. Even complex data can be presented in a way that makes it both fun and easy to grasp.

For instance, geography students can learn about different parts of the world by visiting them in VR. They can, therefore, gather information about physically inaccessible locations like active volcanoes and underwater canyons using a method that fosters a liking for education in ways that traditional learning materials never could.

With virtual reality, education is moving on from pens and books to interactive technologies that help to impart knowledge and understanding.

5. Tourism

Traditionally, the marketing of travel destinations has been accomplished through catchy ads and compelling storytelling. However, although these methods have proved useful, they have always been undermined by their inability to give prospective holidaymakers a subjective view and feel of those destinations.

In comes virtual reality, an innovative marketing tool that enables customers to experience travel locations directly, albeit briefly, from their living rooms, so they can make more informed travel plans. Travel companies now have websites that offer 360-degree videos of hotels and attractions to give tourists the power to control their experience and view activities they could indulge in while visiting.

For an industry that relies primarily on the value of the customer’s experience, VR is undoubtedly a big asset.

Final words

The industries above are just some among many that are using virtual reality to enhance their products and services. They show just how much potential VR holds for entrepreneurs, IT professionals, customers, and tech enthusiasts in general.

Admittedly, the cost of the equipment used to film 360-degree footage is high, and not many can afford a high-end VR-ready PC or a premium virtual reality headset. But as we continue into the future, the technology is bound to get cheaper and more accessible for mainstream applications.

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About the Author

I'm the leader of Techno FAQ. Also an engineering college student with immense interest in science and technology. Other interests include literature, coin collecting, gardening and photography. Always wish to live life like there's no tomorrow.



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