According to recent reports, the virtual reality industry’s market is expected to reach over $1 billion per year by 2018. While the exact definition of “virtual reality” is somewhat nebulous and this specific study includes both virtual reality (VR), which it defines as “the three dimensional interactive world produced by a computer”, and augmented reality (AR), which is a type of VR but instead of being fully immersive it simply enhances the already existing reality. Nonetheless, this report is just the realization of something computer programmers have known for decades: true virtual reality is on the horizon and its applications are endless. Some people see VR as limited to an entertainment function but it holds an enormous amount of potential within already existing industries. Below is an examination of what industries will be affected most by the inevitable VR revolution, so remember that you heard it here first when you’re exploring the jungles of the Amazon from your house!
5. Real Estate
One huge hurdle for high-volume real estate firms is showing properties to international clients. Not everyone can fly out to New York from Paris on a whim and in many cases agents will have to create a video pitch for their long-distance clientele. Here, the advantages of VR become obvious as there would be no better way for a out-of-the-country buyer to tour a property than to digitally walk through a photo-realistic virtual model of it. Aside from just international buyers, any property could be virtually toured by prospective buyers or renters saving real estate and leasing agents a huge amount of time by eliminating the obligatory tour.
As it stands, AutoCAD is the industry standard for architects building models of their planned structures and it does a fantastic job of helping users present just how their building would look in reality. Now, imagine that the three-dimensional model created by AutoCAD could be modeled in even more detail and then one could walk through it and see just how it would look with their own two eyes. While it may not solve any efficiency-based issues for architects, VR would provide an entirely new perspective for architects and allow them to create like never before.
The potential benefits of VR education are staggering as the cost of learning would plummet as physical buildings, textbooks, transport, and school supplies would become completely unnecessary. Perhaps the writing utensil and textbook advocates on K Street would balk at the suggestion, but VR could make one-on-one attention a reality for every child in the world, however inaccessible their location may be.
Just as computer simulations have already drastically changed the aviation industry as pilots can train without expending valuable resources and engineers can test the structural limits of their theoretical aircraft, VR will take flight to new heights. Pun very much intended. As mentioned, flight simulators have made training pilots a far simpler task than having to fire up a real live airplane every time, VR will give pilots a much more authentic feel as they will be completely surrounded by a virtual cockpit without any real-world intrusions and will save money as current cockpit simulators are extremely bulky and can cost several million dollars.
Virtual reality has nearly endless applications in a wide array of different industries, but it’s hard to ignore that video gaming will see the biggest revolution as a result of improved VR technology. The fact that anyone is even talking about VR right now is a direct result of the huge buzz surrounded the long-awaited Oculus Rift VR headset and system. The headset has completely changed what it means to be “in the game” and it is the realization of millions of gamers’ wildest dreams. Many respected social role models will decry the rise of VR as the worst perpetrator of the anti-social tendencies that video games allegedly cause, but no one will care because they will be slaying dragons and rescuing damsels in a jaw-droppingly beautiful virtual reality.