5 answers

What kind of opportunities do you think could come from Virtual Reality?

Asked Houston, Texas

Virtual reality primarely focuses on gaming, but what about implementing VR to help medical professionals prepare for real operations, helping soldiers prepare for the battlefield, etc. What other opportunities do you think will come from virtual reality as technology advances? #technology #stem #software #computer-science

5 answers

Alexa’s Answer

Updated Portland, Oregon

Super interesting questions! There’s a little bit of nuance in the term VR. Usually, VR refers to a completely immersive experience. You are only interacting with a virtual world. There are lots of exciting applications there (training, entertainment, education, communication just to name a few). When I think of VR, I think it’s most interesting applications is as an empathy machine. If you use VR to put yourself in a situation, humanitarian or social situations become much more real than they are when you are reading about them. In this way, it can be a very strong force for good.

But there are just as many (if not more) applications in Augmented Reality (AR). AR is different from VR because it’s not an entirely virtual experience. You’re working with a virtual experience on top of the real world. The applications here are near limitless. If you’re able to put virtual experiences over our physical world, you can move virtual furniture around an empty room. You can virtually see information presented as you take a tour around a new city. You can chat with your colleague that’s on the other side of the world as if they’re in front of you and in your space. There are applications for design, education, communication, tourism, play, etc. Exciting times!

Updated
It is very exciting! I can only imagine what the future holds. Regarding AR, I’ve read articles of possibly being used for shopping! Seeing a certain product through your phone as if it were right in front of you. Thank you for the answer Alexa!

Héctor’s Answer

Updated Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Hey Camilo,

That's a great question. VR is starting its journey in gaming but that is just the top of the iceberg. As you said, there are a lot industries that will take advantage. In fact, they already are!

Medicine as you pointed out is a useful and direct use case. My father in law is using that in a hospital in Barcelona to help people battle their fears. Think about someone that is afraid of highs. VR can help them to face their fears.

But there is so many VR implementations in their way. To enum a few:

  • Business: try on cloths, visit stores far from where you live, visit buildings you are interested into buy
  • Academic: visiting museums, recreate history events, make education cheaper by eliminating hardware needs (think about learning to fly a plane)
  • Safety: dangerous activities could be faked making them safer like police actions
Updated
That is something I didn’t think about but it’s a great idea; using VR to help people overcome certain fears. They aren’t being directly exposed to any danger while still being put in that situation that they are afraid of. Then eventually trying the real thing once they are comfortable enough! Thank you, Hector.

Rod’s Answer

Updated United Kingdom

You are right that there are many ways that VR can be used. For instance, I have seen a VR simulation of the inside of a nuclear power plant. I am involved in a company that does VR pop-ups in shopping malls in the UK.

Head sets are still clunky but that will change. But will VR ever become mainstream. Remember that not all technology survives the market, for instance, 3d TVs did not catch on.

Are you thinking about VR as a career? You don't need to specialise immediately. You can start developing computing or graphic skills that can be used in many areas apart from VR.

Updated
Speaking of, I just watched a group of cops training with VR for an active shooter scenario. The possibilities are there! I am interested in VR, I believe it could be the future of gaming and serve as an educational tool for many different professionals as well. Only time will tell!
Updated
Do you have any thoughts on how you would get involved: coding, graphics, story-telling, game play?
Updated
I just finished taking C++ programming this semester and I will be taking 3D design next year, so I’m hoping to be doing a bit of everything! Although I think the design aspect interests me more.
Updated
I have a good friend - and previous boss - who has a VR startup for health and fitness. It's starting to take off and quite compelling.

Aman’s Answer

Updated Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Here are seven possible businesses opportunities which might exist in a future because of VR. 

1. Virtual reality developer.

VR development firms are already a real thing. The Oculus Rift experience library includes hundreds of titles and the number is growing every day.

With the increasing number of VC’s and Angel investors putting money into VR, developers are in high demand at the moment. This growth will continue for the next several years. With VR development education available and continuing investment in the industry, one can expect the appearance of software development firms focusing exclusively on VR.

2. Producing 360 Video.

Videos produced for 360-degree viewing are one of the most popular and accessible pieces of VR content at the moment. From a consumer perspective, 360 videos do not require an expensive headset and a PC to experience them. From a production perspective they are fairly inexpensive to produce compared to a fully immersive experience. 

A few years ago there was no such a thing as a 360 video production company. Now there are more every year, producing some amazing content. All thanks to VR.

3. UI/UX designer for virtual reality. 

When it comes to an immersive experience, one should not forget about the user. User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design are extremely important in mobile and desktop app development and are critical to VR. Good UX for VR will not only help the user to have a more enjoyable experience but also avoid motion sickness. Which is still a problem right now. 

Currently there are no industry standards for UI and UX in VR. Eventually there will be. This is where the need for UI/UX designers and consulting firms for VR will arise. 

4. VR therapy centers.

Currently 7.8 percent of the US population suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and 18 percent from anxiety. VR has been proven effective in the treatment of PTSD and anxiety disorders. Right now, VR is largely used for exposure therapy, gradually exposing people to the situation that triggers their anxiety or PTSD.

One might expect more therapists to use VR to help those in need. Likewise, expect to see dedicated VR therapy centers popping up across the country. It might be a soothing office with numerous small, yet comfortable rooms outfitted with VR hardware and trained technicians, with medical professionals prescribing and monitoring the user's experience. 

5. VR addiction treatment centers.

No, this does not refer to utilization of VR to treat addiction. It means treating those who become addicted to VR, and in turn have difficulty functioning in the real world -- choosing instead to “live” in a virtual world. Back in 2014, the BBC discussed the very real possibility of VR users becoming addicted to the experience. One magazine went so far to ask, “Is VR our next hard drug?” Video games have been determined to be addictive. Imagine an immersive experience that captivates our mind even more? As the technology improves, both from a hardware and content perspective, it is very easy to understand that this could be a very real problem. 

6. Payment systems for VR.

Retailers are dipping their toes into the virtual world as a means to combat declining in-store purchases. How will consumers pay? Will there be a virtual currency other than bitcoin that will be created and utilized in the virtual world? Who will manage it? Will a virtual currency market be created in which users can trade virtual currency whose value is tied to a real world currency? 

Alibaba recently introduced VR Pay, a virtual-reality payment system that allows virtual reality shoppers to pay for items just by nodding. This begs the question, what other means of conducting virtual transactions will be created? Specifically as we understand how users interact in the virtual world, what will their spending habits be? Will people spend more than they mean to, since the purchase itself will not be real? What happens when a physical package arrives. 

7. Law firms focused on VR.

A truly immersive virtual experience will be almost impossible to separate from the real world. Will real world laws and regulations be applied to the virtual world?

Andres’s Answer

Updated Miami, Florida

Many, you can learn how to develop business inside VR, that can be as profitable as a real business