Ways Businesses Use Virtual Reality

From travel to retail, businesses of all types are starting to consider and use virtual reality. And like many mediums, there are multiple of ways VR can be implemented. Below, we’ve broken down four of the most common uses for virtual reality.

Marketing and Storytelling

In the past several years, virtual reality marketing has exploded. There are several reasons for this, including the technologies current novelty status, but also because VR creates deeply immersive experiences that consumers want–and aren’t likely to forget.

In the retail sector, both The North Face and Toms used VR to promote their brands. In 2015, The North Face place a VR headset in its New York City location, allowing shoppers to experience what it’s like to be at California’s Yosemite National Park and the Moab desert in Utah.

“Every brand wants to forge an emotional connection with its customers,” Eric Oliver, The North Face’s director of digital marketing told Digiday. “Our brand mission is to inspire a life of exploration, so we felt like this was a great way to enhance our storytelling, use technology and transport people to the outdoors.”

Meanwhile, Toms tapped into a similar concept with a VR marketing campaign that empowered viewers to experience what it’s like to go on one of the company’s philanthropic giving trips. To do this, the company set up VR stations at retail stores and other outlets.

Recruitment and Talent Management

Imagine interviewing for a company, and when you ask about its culture, you’re given a VR headset and told to experience it yourself. Companies can use virtual reality to help recruits see their facilities, meetings, and outings. New and potential hires might also meet co-workers and important managers.

Aside from building excitement, companies can also use VR to train employees.

“VR could be used for many other training scenarios that require using equipment that may not be in the same location, or equipment that is too difficult or not available, or even equipment that has yet to be deployed,” Brian Blau, research director for Gartner, told ZDNet.

Collaboration and Communication

Chances are your company is highly collaborative. And nothing can destroy collaboration as easily as distance. Virtual reality has the ability to eliminate and streamline communication between offices and employees, but make distance irrelevant.

“Imagine a videoconference in which you can look around and see avatars of your colleagues, all exploring a model, prototype, or scientific visualization together,” said Michael Grabowski, associate professor at Manhattan College. “You all can be immersed within the design and virtually test or reconfigure the model.”

Product Design and Prototyping

Prototyping in real life can be time intensive and costly. Some company like Ford have ditched physical prototyping in favor of creating models in virtual reality. It’s not a new revolution either. Ford has been designing cars in VR since 1999–long before the tech was fashionable.

Jeff Greenberg, Ford senior technical leader, touted the benefits in cost, time, and quality. He said it allowed Ford’s “designers and engineers more creative freedoms to explore options that in the past would have been too time- or cost-intensive to consider.”

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