Virtual Reality was once only associated with the gaming industry, but there is a whole range of other amazing uses of VR most people don’t even know about; VR has featured in fields ranging from education to the military and even the courtroom. VR is immersive, interesting and, as you will find out from this article, very versatile.
By the end of 2021, the number of VR headsets sold is predicted to reach 100 million so it is easy to see how VR is being adopted universally, and why you should be more aware of what it can do (especially in the wake of the coronavirus and the move we have all had to make to working remotely).
1. Medical Training
VR is interactive and hands-on; this suits medical and dental students perfectly. VR can be used to practice procedures and bridge the gap between watching demonstrations and becoming a practising doctor; some studies have even shown that in-hospital mortality rate rises following trainee doctors’ first day at work and VR could be the solution.
In the operating theatre itself, surgeons can use VR tech to practise and plan complex surgeries ahead of time by producing a 3D representation of a patient’s anatomy – VR could literally one day save your life! (and reduce costs in training for the ever-strained NHS).
2. Pain Management & Mental Health
We all know VR can produce some weird and trippy effects – Travis Scott’s virtual concert is a perfect example ( watch here for anyone who hasn’t seen it). VR headsets are actually used in a similar way to distract patients’ brains and confuse the pain pathway in hospitals and dental operating theatres, to relieve pain.
VR exposure therapy (VRET) on the other hand, can also help people recover from PTSD – by actively confronting the things that a person fears the most, anxiety and fear can be controlled. This is something VR is uniquely amazing at; for example, a veteran who developed PTSD from combat cannot confront a combat situation again, but VR makes it possible to come to terms with events and aid healing.
Other than helping cope with and overcome PTSD, VR is also training our troops! Simulations in VR can put a trainee in any number of pressurised situations and train them how to react without putting them in any real-life danger. We can safely replicate dangerous scenarios and prepare soldiers. All branches of the military from the army to the Royal Air Force use VR in training; flight simulations, vehicle simulation, virtual boot camp – the uses are almost endless. It is no wonder (as predicted by Goldman Sachs) that the US military alone is projected to generate $1.4 billion in revenues in the VR industry by 2025.
The learning applications of VR aren’t just limited to the military and medical schools, but it can also be a valuable tool in the classroom; VR can be used to raise engagement and increase knowledge retention by students. Teaching and learning from virtual situations could be the future of learning efficiently, by undertaking virtual tours of places such as museums, re-enactments of historical events or even traversing the solar system.
In the workplace, businesses spend a lot of money on increasing their existing employees’ skills and orienting new trainees; having instructors and a dedicated area for training can be costly. VR offers a way for organisations to efficiently train employees without needing to create a physical training environment. Soft Skills Training with VR has also become popular, with companies like Equal Reality and VirtualSpeech preparing people for real-life scenarios; things such as dealing with discrimination, angry customers or public speaking can all be simulated in VR.
Courtrooms are getting an immersive upgrade as well. In 2018, Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court became the first court to use VR to evaluate crime scenes by transporting a witness back to the event. Although VR still has a lot of layers of checking for it to be wholly admissible in court, it is an interesting glimpse at how the system could change. Visual aids like photographs and documents introduce more room for misinterpretation than a reconstruction. On top of this, interactive tech can make it a lot easier for people to visualise and understand the details of a case. As a matter of fact, Virtual Reality versions of Auschwitz were used in the war crime prosecutions of wartime SS camp guard Reinhold Hanning and helped sentence him to 5 years in jail.
6. Shopping & Fashion
VR has even had an impact on the catwalk; TopShop’s VR Catwalk Experience was just the beginning of it changing up the industry. Virtual simulations of the stores themselves are the next step in how consumers will purchase products on the web; apps already exist that allow a virtual tour of an entire store, and improve on the existing online shopping experience. Trillenium and ASOS are working on a VR project right now, and plan on using the technology to create a virtual shop to allow their customers to “wander stores in cyberspace.”
7. Digital Marketing & Advertising
Visual content is king! However, with the amount of content out there at our fingertips, it is only the most immersive and interactive of them that catch our eyes and attention – this is where VR comes in. Traditional advertising is less effective these days, and more interactive persuasion techniques can come in handy. 360º VR promotional videos have already been put out, and the range is astounding! From Volvo’s XC90 test drive to Oreo’s fantastical “World of a Flavoured Cookie” 360º experience on YouTube, they are all undoubtedly entertaining.
A professional photography & videography company like Splento with experience in high-quality media production can create 360º experiences like this for a range of uses, including real estate tours, to boost any business through innovative advertising – any marketing campaign can benefit from the powers of VR!
While the entire travel industry has seemed to come to a halt in the wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic, VR can allow people to visit nearly any place during lockdown! Virtual tourism has seen a boom since March 2020 and everywhere from the Louvre to Disney World have virtual tours (and virtual theme-park rides!) available for people to enjoy at home. Hotels and resorts are also using virtual tours and experiences to gain an advantage over local competitors, by creating a virtual world where customers can experience the services on offer.
Alternatively, virtual tourism lets people who are unable to travel for one reason or another to appreciate what different places around the globe have to offer, by immersing themselves in other cultures and allowing for a greater understanding of different traditions.
9. Painting & Art
Google’s 3D painting app, Tilt Brush, lets people paint and create in 3D space, and is changing the landscape of art-making. It is a unique platform for experimenting; it is sculptural but at the same time, being virtual, it doesn’t have to obey the laws of physics – this can lead to some cool art. Jonathan Yeo has recently created a sculpture of his own face in the app and since got it cast in bronze. Using VR to create real-life sculptures with the weighty permanence of bronze demonstrates how VR is quite literally having a real-world impact!
10. Modelling & Manufacturing
VR can be used to construct 3D models by drawing freehand smooth curves, or to extrude in virtual reality and walk around your model to see it in all its glory. VR makes modelling much more accessible with its shallow learning curve and is already being put to use in businesses like Ford to make their models, as well as simulating their production lines. This makes sense when you realise that mistakes in VR cost a lot less than mistakes in real life!
Overall visual content will be king, and it is well worth being aware of it. Remember to visit splento.com to see if we can help with any of your virtual digital marketing needs.