For instance, many of the readers reading this article may have never experienced a virtual reality headset, given the world has only 171 million active users, of which about 16 million are hardcore gamers. Which means it is still a niche. However, according to recent reports, due to the global lockdown and increased use of technology from home, the virtual reality industry is looking hopeful with a steep increase in users and businesses it registered recently.
Let us take a look at how some businesses have placed their faith in virtual reality and the ways they are using it not just increase sales, but also boost brand awareness and improve customer experiences.
1. Live Events, Festivals & Concerts
With travel ban and social distancing rules across the world, many events, festivals, and concerts have suffered massive losses. As the COVID-19 outbreak has shown that necessity is the mother of all invention, with many industries innovating during this period, the events industry has left no stone unturned in the race for innovation. The UK based Glastonbury Festival which hosts 80,000 attendees each year canceled its festival in March, however, soon announced that the festival will now be hosted virtually. With 50 artists, 200 visual art pieces, and 5 virtual stages, the festival is looking at a larger number of virtual attendees in this year´s edition to stream live on July 3rd and 4th of 2020.
Another such example is John Legend´s virtual reality concert that took place this June 25th, 2020 for global audiences in lockdown. The concert was live-streamed with John´s digital avatar who was not just performing, but also interacting with fans who could further send virtual gifts. The concert was a part of a series of superstar virtual concerts that the broadcast and gaming firm Wave facilitates using live music in virtual settings. The company also went on to raise $30 million in funding during the pandemic.
2. Travel & Tourism
From the Colosseum´s virtual trip to Rome to exploring the entire neighborhood of the town you want to visit, the use of virtual reality in bringing about the ´see- before-you-buy´ experience has caused a huge stir in the travel industry.
Considered as an innovative marketing strategy, countries like Austria, France, and Switzerland are already using virtual reality by offering 360º virtual tours and experiences, while witnessing a steep rise in demand and curiosity of the future traveler. Amadeus is one such company that is changing the game of virtual travel with its recent VR booking platform which lets the user spin a virtual the globe, choose their destination, experience a Business class section of an aircraft before purchasing it to even tying the belt on a flight to your virtual child.
The world recently not just experienced remote working, but also was forced to adapt to remote-learning. Virtual reality has already been bridging the gap between learners and educators and has now seen an even higher demand in immersive education. Educational VR experiences have proven that learning is more effective and also understood with more clarity because of the visual element to it. Labster is one such company that offers a virtual lab with science courses for school and university students. Through its pedagogical techniques that facilitate a better understanding of theoretical information, the company uses gamification and storytelling to make laboratory practice, learning, and experiments easier to interpret and implement for students.
Floreo is one such company that is leveraging the power of Virtual Reality to develop a supplementary method of teaching social and communication skills for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). With its extensive pool of content, its lessons focus on teaching discrete social behaviors, managing planned and unplanned events, and improving sensory and emotional regulation.
Not just in imparting education, virtual reality is also playing a large role in taking the university to the student. YouVisit is one such company excelling in offering campus tours in a 360º and VR experience, giving an in-depth introduction to a student or parent of the university campus before choosing.
While Virtual reality may be growing at a rapid rate, it is its accessibility to larger audiences that will make a difference in its stability. With headsets often considered as “expensive” to larger audiences, it is only time that will tell us whether the recent new-found acceptance of the technology is here to stay or not.