Social distancing measures prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically decreased in-person meetings and travel. As a result, many people became more interested in virtual reality as a means of enjoying places and experiences that weren’t accessible. The opportunities provided by VR and its potential to revolutionize everything from education and industry to travel and entertainment have taken center stage.
As top tech leaders, the members of Forbes Technology Council are watching the VR space and how it’s developing to meet consumers’ needs. Below, they share 16 uses for VR that are sure to make a big splash among consumers in the months to come.
1. Campaign-Mode Video Games
I am seeing people move meetings to campaign-mode video games for a change of scenery, blending engaging interaction with work. There’s a lot of room for creativity and no need for absolute conformity any more—in fact, thinking of new ways to interact shows respect and empathy for what employees are managing in their lives, both for themselves and on behalf of the organizations we’re running. – Frank Speiser, Talla
2. Building Inspections
Industries are slowly realizing that VR has many use cases and that it’s not limited to the hospitality or entertainment industries. Building inspections is one such domain. Training staff by simulating real-life scenarios is one of a few ways that VR can improve inspections. COVID-19 has made this even more relevant—even small businesses can leverage the power of virtual inspections. – Harshil Shah, DXFactor
3. Virtual Work Meetings
Forget Zoom meetings with your co-workers squished into tiny corners of your screen—soon we’ll be meeting in virtual environments. Taking remote working into VR spaces will let us manipulate objects collaboratively, break off into sidebar conversations by “walking” away and have more natural professional relationships. Gossip around a virtual water-cooler? It’ll happen sooner than you think. – Chris Turlica, MaintainX Inc.
4. Sports And Entertainment
I believe VR in the entertainment industry is well-suited to make a tremendous splash with consumers, including allowing people to experience sports or movies through a VR stadium environment. The premium seats would allow you to interact with your favorite sports or movie stars and be connected and draw energy through a stadium or group seating experience. – Ajit Gaddam, Visa Inc.
5. Group Socialization
I think that we need a platform to let individuals mimic the hallway conversations that happen in large conferences. The platform should be agnostic to the event and let people find others and be found, have side chats and schedule follow-up meetings. It should be API-powered to all event platforms and highly customizable in terms of how much information you want to share with others. – Marcelo De Santis, ThoughtWorks
6. Learning And Education
The education and learning paradigm has dramatically changed during COVID-19. While video collaboration platforms have attempted to replace classroom learning, they are not providing the same tactile experience. AR/VR can dramatically change this by creating immersive learning experiences. Applications that teach anatomy (such as HoloAnatomy) are great examples of what the future of learning might be. – Frank Palermo, Virtusa
7. ‘Try Before You Buy’ Previews
Soon you will be able to use VR to preview furniture, apartments, cars, hotel rooms, airline interiors—anything that you would want to “kick the tires” on before seeing. Of course, you can never replace finding out if that chair is comfortable, but you can decide if you like how it looks. Creative photography does not compare. – Seth Wasserman, Menin Hospitality
8. Real Estate Tours
We’ve been seeing VR used for shopping and gaming for a while. With social distancing, real estate professionals have started using VR a lot. Here in New York, StreetEasy has introduced virtual viewing for potential buyers. Even the people who don’t want to make decisions based on virtual viewing will be able to shorten the list of prospective homes. It’s going to save a lot of time since buyers can view a lot more places without leaving their couch. – Vikram Joshi, pulsd
9. Immersive Retail Shopping
The pandemic has introduced a new generation to VR. In the future, we’ll increasingly be using VR for retail shopping as well as to purchase immersive experiences such as Disney’s new VR movie experience. This means we’ll be making purchases and exchanging payment card and banking information through VR. Proving an identity in a VR environment will also become commonplace. – Will LaSala, OneSpan
10. Medical Training
VR medical training through companies such as Immertec is revolutionizing healthcare. The value of these types of innovations has only been augmented by COVID-19. These technologies are not only here to stay, but they will also evolve exponentially once the pandemic subsides. – José Morey, Liberty BioSecurity
11. Meditation And Relaxation
The stress and discomfort brought on by the pandemic and the associated lockdown have brought a new wave of users to meditation and relaxation apps. Integrating immersive VR could be the next big step for these increasingly popular apps. Studies suggest that using virtual reality to “visit” places around the world can have a calming effect and might help people deal with the stress of isolation. – Ron Cogburn, Exela Technologies
12. Employee Onboarding
Major retailers, sports teams and tech companies are using technologies like Strivr to train employees for operational efficiency, customer service and more. With more people working remotely, the employee onboarding experience is changing. VR can engage employees remotely and provide opportunities for consistent delivery of information from anywhere. – Ryan Chan, UpKeep Maintenance Management
13. Music Events
With strict social distancing guidelines in place, it will be some time before folks can gather at music venues for live shows. Being able to strap on a VR headset and attend your favorite musician’s livestream will be a game-changer. You are in the comfort of your own home, so no more having to wait in long lines for unhygienic bathrooms or paying for overpriced drinks. – Abishek Surana Rajendra, Course Hero
14. Fitness Classes
Staying in shape during social distancing can be difficult. Luckily, virtual workouts can give users the ability to feel like they’re participating in a social event where they’re collaborating or competing against other users in real time while staying active. It’s an innovative way to stay connected with others while you’re stuck in the house. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC
15. Job Interviews
People often think that if we have a face-to-face interview we can hire better. That’s going to change, and virtual interviewing will be a lifestyle change businesses and candidates will have to adapt to. When we can work virtually, why can’t we hire virtually? It’s all about trust, and trust is a seed that needs to be planted before you see the flower bloom. – Bhavna Juneja, Infinity, a Stamford Technology Company
Frequent travelers have been hit by the pandemic—just as hard as travel agencies. But people find a way to catch up, and that’s where VR can come in handy. We can still have a (virtual) walk around ancient historic places or scenic landscapes without leaving our homes and while following social distancing rules. – Alexey Makarov, Qulix Systems
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Source : Forbes