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May 7th, 2018

Virtual Reality Technology and its Applications in the Next 5 Years

Alma Causey

Alma Causey, VR/AR Writer

A couple of years ago, Mark Zuckerberg shared a picture from a tech conference where he walked past a room full of an audience wearing virtual reality headsets. The photo taken from the Samsung Event in Barcelona instantly became viral around the web and opened the doors to several healthy debates. Although there was a group who appreciated the new form of technology, the objectors claimed the devices to be creepy and responsible for cutting off people from the real world.

Nevertheless, the founder of Facebook, along with several industry experts, has no doubts about virtual technology. They predict that it will be the next big thing, similar to mobile apps and intelligent personal assistants such as Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant. Even though it is not as mainstream as other forms of technology, the tech trends for the coming years show that it has enormous potential to change our lives.

A recent study found that 22.4 million Americans experience virtual reality at least once a month while the numbers are predicted to grow to 36.7 million by the end of this year. Moreover, experts anticipate the virtual industry to quadruplicate in just four years and reach the revenue threshold of $21.5 billion by the year 2020 while compared to the $3.7 billion revenue in 2016.

Simply put, virtual reality is technically real and will rapidly take over the world of technology in the coming few years. Here are some ways VR and its applications will change our lives and habits in the next five years.

1. Enhanced Shopping Experience

Experts believe that the VR technology will be a considerable advantage to the shopping sector. Since many consumers are wary of online shopping, the VR technology will allow them to “touch” and “feel” the product. Thus, helping them in their purchase decision. Moreover, virtual reality will make it easier for consumers to scan product options and navigate store layouts, similar to a brick and mortar location.

Consumers are also open to the new technology affecting their shopping experience. In fact, a survey by Business Insider reveals that 35% of consumers agree to make more online purchases if they were given a more realistic feel of the product. Moreover, 22% claim to visit physical stores less if they started shopping with the help of VR technology.

VR Mainstream

2. Experience Less Pain

Several studies show virtual reality being beneficial in easing pain and helping patients cope with ‘painful’ procedures. One such study displays that the parts of the brain linked to pain are less active when a patient is busy experiencing virtual reality. The health care industry believes that shortly, the same technology will help people tolerate medical procedures such as dental treatments without anesthesia.

Additionally, a “distraction therapy” through virtual reality can be helpful for people who are undergoing physical pain. For example, a 2011 study on military burn victims reveals that patients who were playing VR games were more ‘forgetful’ of their pain while the technology proved to be more potent than morphine for pain management.

3. Traveling from the Comfort of Home

With virtual reality, you can experience the “try before you fly” module. Travelers who are planning their next vacation can become familiar with their destination through virtual reality and observe what the place has to offer from the comfort of their own home.

Travelers all over the world are equally excited about the prospective new feature. In a survey released by ZEISS and YouGov, 73% of participants were keen on making travel decision through VR technology. Ultimately, Airbnb’s also working out ways to implement the 3D technology that will help incapable renters to get a better feeling of the space they are planning to rent.

At another instance, Mark Zuckerberg allowed the audience to witness his own VR project where a drone equipped with several cameras made it possible for the people to see Venice with a complete 360-degree view.

4. VR Trains Employees

Retail giant, Walmart is using VR technology to train its employees. By collaborating with a virtual reality startup named STRIVR, Walmart is making it easy for employees to experience real-life scenarios and get the first-hand experience of customer service.

Military and healthcare industry are also making use of the evolving technology and training employees who work in high-risk condition get a better idea of their operations.

With time, we can expect more companies to join the bandwagon of VR technology as this innovative method reduces training cost, resource expenditure for the company, and lessens the risk to human life.

5. Enhanced Gaming Experience

In a recent survey, 77% of respondents stated that their VR headset is more in use for video gaming while the virtual reality gaming sales revenue is expected to hit $22.9 billion by the year 2020.

Several leading companies have already started implementing VR technology in their video games, and within some time, the technology will have an extensive effect on the industry.

However, high-prices and spam software remain to be a challenge for the developers. As the technology develops, we can hope that the VR headset companies reduce their prices and implement a better testing policy to ensure their software remains bug-free.

Conclusion

With virtual reality, the users can experience anything, anywhere, anytime. It is the most immersive type of technology that allows the human brain to believe that it’s somewhere else and ables them to forget their ‘real-world.’

Today, more than 69% of young adults plan to purchase a virtual reality headset in the coming years and with time; we can expect more individuals to invest in the headset to transform their lives and ways of living. The technology is rapidly gaining momentum in the real world, and within a few years, we can predict that many more sectors such as AirG spam less chatting, education, and time-management software will adopt the movement and change the outlook of our lives.

These were just a few predictions that we can hope for the virtual reality technology. Let us all wait and see how many turn true.

ABOUT

Alma Causey is a Freelance writer by day and sports fan by night. She writes about tech education and health-related issues. Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover.

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