Virtual reality has evolved. It has become less expensive, more accessible, more intuitive, and in some cases, DIY. We’ve seen how it has grown from an inventor’s dream to a marketer’s reality. It has taken on new forms and applications throughout the years. Everything from gloves and headsets, to training simulators, have been explored as possible ways to create immersive environments to captivate viewers.
The virtual reality of today is driven by the industry’s leading tech giants; each attempting to throw their hat in the ring, and bring their own special flare to the table. Everyone from Sony PlayStation to Facebook with its Oculus Rift technology are aiming to take control of the market.
Today, one of the most common forms of virtual reality is wired headsets. It wasn’t until just a few years ago that Google pushed the entire community to think bigger. And by bigger, I mean thinking beyond expensive mainstream headsets and thinking about the experience itself.
Google unveiled their infamous Google Cardboard in 2014. It is a cardboard frame that holds your phone and allows you to directly experience virtual reality via apps in the App Store. It appears this may have been Google’s not-so-subtle jab at the elaborate systems currently dominating the marketplace. By packaging up their cardboard solution into a $15 dollar system that anyone can drop a phone into, they opened new doors to the future of this emerging medium.
We have the technology. We have the market demand. Now, the real question has become, how do we create compelling content?
Make the viewer the protagonist, not just a spectator in the experience.
o Virtual Tours: Considering colleges across the nation? Virtual tours of college campuses could alleviate some of the time and money necessary to finding the right college experience for you or your children. Plus, they’re able to customize the experience for each individual user.
Use virtual reality to eliminate concerns about common inhibitors such as cost, fear, or location.
o Activities: Skydiving and extreme sports are not for everyone. But it seems there are two schools of thought when it comes down to each of them. It’s something I’m interested in (but might have some hesitation) or it’s something I’m not ever going to do. Immersive virtual reality experiences can help to alleviate fears about activities that may seem too scary or farfetched.
Give the viewer an experience they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to access.
o Education: Not everyone can afford to visit museums or landmarks across the world. These are prime opportunities to show people a realistic taste of what these places are like without the cost of air fare.
o Travel and Tourism: National Parks and scenic locations are ripe for experiences that bridge the gap between photos and the physical experiences. Taking a virtual tour of a National Park or destination before heading to a travel site to book can help ensure travelers that they are making the right decision.
Address familiar topics and experiences from a new viewpoint.
o Healthcare: It’s often very difficult for loved ones of patients to understand what a patient may be going through. With virtual reality simulations, we can get closer to that understanding, and provide physicians with a new lens into the patient’s world.
Source: Open Biomedical
What does this mean for brands and marketers?
It seems virtual reality has grown up. While we still see a strong application in the gaming field, we’re also seeing practical application outside of just modern gaming. And this practical application for brands and marketers is seemingly limitless.
Do you have a product or service that has people are on the fence about or is complex to the average consumer? Imagine if you could put your product or service directly in front of a user and allow the user to personally navigate even the most complex scenarios to find out what it’s really like for themselves.