Today, when people think of virtual reality the image of a bulky headset comes to mind coupled with the thought of playing a video game. There is no denying that virtual reality has taken a strong hold on the video game industry (as most emerging technologies do), but as the technology becomes more advanced and the hardware becomes cheaper VR undoubtedly begins to impact other industries as well. Recent figures estimate the VR and AR industries will be worth more than $167 billion by the year 2020. Here are the three industries that we at RedFox believe will be impacted the most by VR in the coming years.
Healthcare is an industry that will start feeling the positive effects of VR technology early on before many others will. Over the past 30 years medical technology alone has advanced by leaps and bounds in regards to the various tools available to medical professionals. These new tools have led to new advancements have given rise to an era of medicine that shares an odd symbiotic relationship with technology; VR is no exception. Becoming a doctor is not an easy achievement as it requires years of schooling and countless hours of hands on training and practice. In fact, there is a limit to the amount of hands on a training a medical student can receive based purely on the physical limitations of performing certain procedures.
How can VR impact healthcare you may be wondering? First, VR can aid in the training of new doctors by providing lifelike simulations that can be just as effective as the real thing. The amount of required hands on training will be reduced significantly and re-allocated to training in the VR space. Procedures that professionals would never be able to perform until an emergency required it, could be performed in VR simulations giving professionals an advantage in preparation for the real thing. VR simulations can be created for all facets of healthcare; emergency medicine, pediatrics, cardiovascular, neurology, and physical therapy will all benefit from the enhanced training that VR will provide.
Education is number two on our list for some obvious reasons. History has shown that although the way we teach in the U.S has remained stagnant for many years, education’s integration of new technology in the classroom has been both quick and widespread. Many public schools offer iPad and Google Chromebook check-out programs to students, and this is if the school doesn’t already require students to have the devices and let’s them “lease” the tech at the start of the school year. VR will be no different once the technology advances, hardware prices drop, and the tech becomes more mainstream.
Many recent studies have shown that people learn better through experiences. With the power of VR in hand institutions will have the opportunity to teach students in ways never once thought possible. The geography of the Himalayas can be taught at the top of Mt. Everest, D-Day in WWII can be explained on the beaches of Normandy, and the chemical composition of the sun can be analyzed by holding it in your hand. The landscape of education will be changed forever when it is finally decided to leverage the technology to start teaching through experience; this reality is not far off.
The entertainment industry is known for being progressive in adopting new technology to provide new experiences for people. In fact, most of the technologies that we use today may not have happened if the entertainment industry had not decided to back them. The internet, and its adoption in entertainment, was the last major technological advancement to affect the industry and how people consume media; VR will be the next. If leveraged appropriately, VR will offer a degree of entertainment unlike any other through the power of immersion.
Up until now media (movies, TV shows, video games) has to be viewed on a flat screen that can only display the content in three dimensions. VR, using the power of 360° video, can capture the entirety of a scene and immerse the consumer in a experience through both sight and sound. Imagine watching a remake of the Titanic in VR, but instead of just viewing it from your television screen you can be standing on the bow of the ship itself watching everything unfold. You can sit in the living room of the apartment that your favorite sitcom characters hangout in and join them in their comedic antics, or be immersed and explore the depths of the Marianas Trench in National Geographic’s latest special. These are just a few ideas of the endless possibilities for entertainment that the world of VR can impact. If Netflix can beam full length 4K movies to your TV through the internet, then surely VR can immerse you in the scenes of your favorite movies or TV shows.
When the price of VR finally drops and the technology becomes more mainstream there is no denying that these and many other industries will experience the impacts of the tech. It’s very likely that we are sitting on the threshold of what the introduction of the radio and television was like in the 20th century; life changing. However, until mass adoption takes place we can just assume and dream what the world will look like when VR finally takes hold and changes the way we all communicate and interact with one another for the remainder of humanity’s existence.
Nick Myers is a Partner at RedFox Creative. For more information or to leave a comment, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!