Business Unusual

Virtual reality gets real

The notion of virtual reality (VR) has lived in science fiction and movies for decades but the ability for it to be used in everyday scenarios is a recent one.

The history of VR will most likely be marked with the Kickstarter campaign for a head-mounted display called the Oculus Rift, launched in August 2012 calling for $250 000 to build an affordable device for gamers. The project earned founders Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe over $2 million from backers and also attracted the attention of Facebook.

That attention turned into a $2 billion acquisition in 2014 to turn the gadget into a new industry.

While it has taken longer than expected for the first Oculus to be released officially (March 28, 2016) it has been released as a development platform which has allowed many other products to be created to work with the VR gear.

Samsung working with Oculus has already released two versions that work with their smartphones. And Google has allowed hundreds of apps to be created to run on Android that turns your phone into a VR reality device with the use of simple cardboard goggles.

The types of devices

There are two ways the devices change reality. Virtual reality replaces what you see with an immersive version that replaces everything that you see. Augmented reality adds non-real items into what you see in reality.

Augmented reality was touted to be a big deal for marketers as they would allow 2D objects to transform into 3D ones to make you want to buy a car, watch a new movie, or buy a product.

The effect was created by using a device with a camera and a screen and your smartphone. The smartphone would need software to recognise the 2D trigger to start the 3D overlay.

It has not been that well received as it required users to fiddle with lots of different software and often were not even aware that it was an option.

One potential exception is Google's visual translator that uses the camera to read signs which it can translate into a variety of languages.

A demonstration of how Google's augmented reality translation app works.

The Microsoft Hololens is likely to give new impetus to augmented reality as it also a head mounted display but does not replace everything you see, just how you see it.

It is still in development but the developer version is due out in early 2016.

An idea of what and how the Hololens might be used.

Where it will be used

Here are eight areas that are likely to see improvement or significant disruption by the introduction of VR and 360 video.

1. Watch movies like never before: With YouTube and [Facebook](https://360video.fb.com/ ) accepting 360 video's you can expect to see the way we watch video to move from bigger and bigger screens to ones that wrap around you.

  1. Construction: builders know how often plans get changed once owners get to walk inside the building because they were not able to get the same sense of the design while still on paper.

  2. Education: besides making subjects more interesting, it also allows the student to access the class remotely. An interesting side note is that it may be a better environment for certain learning challenged students which are over stimulated in real classrooms.

  3. Teleconferencing: attend a meeting with a more realistic feel than before. Adding a tele-presence bot (allows the user to move around a real exhibition) and interact with people. This also has implications for the education options by giving access to the best trainers anywhere in the world. It also make remote filming and control using drones easier.

  4. Travel: combining great footage of holiday destination allows you to decide in the best way is you really want to go or virtual holiday tours of the amazing sites on the planet might be enough. See anything without the queues with the best weather and without the need to take days to get there. You can also visit businesses to see if they have what you are looking for or find out if a new home is in a good neighbourhood.

  5. Games: Initially it will be gamers that drive the demand and see the devices becoming a lot more common to be able to be used for the other options. Games have already created impressive virtual worlds to completely engage players getting them to spend even longer away from the real world.

  6. Treating phobias: the improved reality will allow those with phobias to deal with them in a much safer way. Afraid of spiders? You can get closer to a virtual spider that can be controlled and can't bite you before confronting real ones.

  7. Training: The opportunity to simulate a range of experiences to train anyone from surgeons to soldiers is easier and cheaper as the technology improves.

  8. Sex: the sex industry usually always finds a way to use a new technology to add to the services and and products it offers and VR offers some potentially significant options.

This is not a comprehensive list as the real new uses of this technology may only become known once more people are physically using it.


Recommended

by THE NEWSROOM
Read More
Why we celebrate a saints day with commercial things to show love

Why we celebrate a saints day with commercial things to show love

Valentine's Day is hundreds of years old, but some of the tokens of our love are quite new.

Dead investors are some of the most successful (and other top tips on investing)

Dead investors are some of the most successful (and other top tips on investing)

Thanks to index funds, everyone can benefit from stock market investing, so why don’t they?

The surprising history of some well known products

The surprising history of some well known products

A successful business develops a product that will be popular with its customers. These originally were not.

Will the device that helped turn you into a couch potato also help get you fit?

Will the device that helped turn you into a couch potato also help get you fit?

Turning exercise into a game is hard, perhaps VR, virtual coaches and fitness trackers could help.

Facebook has a problem and it is us

Facebook has a problem and it is us

Facebook’s change to what gets shown in your newsfeed will affect many businesses, but the problem is almost 100 years old.

A big battery may work better than a power plant

A big battery may work better than a power plant

Electricity grids fail if there is more demand than supply. Batteries could fix that.

Popular articles
5 biggest corporate scandals of 2017 (The Year of Corporate Scandals)

5 biggest corporate scandals of 2017 (The Year of Corporate Scandals)

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Financial Mail Editor Rob Rose.

I was not introduced to Ajay Gupta - Grootes

I was not introduced to Ajay Gupta - Grootes

Stephen Grootes says he believes former Eskom CEO Brian Dames when said he was not formally introduced to the Gupta family.

Minister Zwane confirms trips to Dubai and Switzerland

Minister Zwane confirms trips to Dubai and Switzerland

EWN parliamentary correspondent Gaye Davis says Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane received detailed and tough questions.

Vavi: I can't sleep at night for making Zuma the president

Vavi: I can't sleep at night for making Zuma the president

Zwelinzima Vavi says South Africa is paying dearly for choices they've made in being angry with Mbeki and not thinking logically.

Zweli Mkhize 'taken by surprise' with latest cabinet reshuffle

Zweli Mkhize 'taken by surprise' with latest cabinet reshuffle

The ANC treasurer-general confirmed Mantashe’s comments that the President did not consult the ANC leadership on the reshuffle.

Zuma is paying it forward and stacking the deck in his favor - Brown

Zuma is paying it forward and stacking the deck in his favor - Brown

Political analyst Karima Brown says the latest Cabinet Reshuffle is a move to strengthen his hand at the December conference.

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

The EFF lawyer stole the show during the state capture report court battle.

5 advantages of leasing instead of owning a car (lower monthly payments!)

5 advantages of leasing instead of owning a car (lower monthly payments!)

Want (or need) a new car? Dale Scorer (a wealth manager at AlphaWealth) reckons you should consider leasing.

Best way to get richer (especially if you’re between ages 20 and 45)

Best way to get richer (especially if you’re between ages 20 and 45)

Still young(ish)? Consider the single best thing you can do to increase your wealth by much more than the inflation rate.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...