In the 1990s Virtual Reality burst onto the technology scene and we heard, back then, how it was going to revolutionize everything. But since that time, we’ve seen other technology leapfrog VR applications. The Internet went from a novelty to a utility, and telephones went from a household convenience to mobile mini-computers no one can live or work without today, while VR seemed to have been relegated to the gaming world (That’s a $100B world, by the way, which is nothing to sneer at).
The gaming industry nurtured improvements to VR for decades, and now the business world at large is poised to take advantage. Virtual Reality is about to explode in a big way, and there is a huge market waiting to capitalize. How could you use Virtual Reality technology to improve your business?
Could you stop causing death by Powerpoint and give your customers a digital Virtual Reality experience instead? Could you create digital prototypes faster and with less expense than an analog prototype? Could you prove out and streamline production processes and manufacturing flows prior to significant capital investments? Could you train your people to perform specialized tasks in a virtual setting and avoid the waste of time and risk of costly mistakes?
Jeff Smith, Director Ideas Lab at Dassault Systèmes, has been instrumental in creating virtual and immersive environments on a large scale; first at Lockheed Martin, and now in a partnership with Dassault Systèmes and Wichita State University. “The Innovation Center, now under construction at WSU, will give industry, researches and students the ability to experience ideas virtually before creating them physically,” explains Smith. “This system allows for 99% of the critical design, analysis, processes, costs and risks to be addressed before investing substantial resources into actual production.”
You don’t have to build a multi-million-dollar facility to take your first steps into the virtual world. Here’s an example of one company using Virtual Reality on a smaller scale to transform a very traditional business practice.
Touchstone Research, a market research firm in Connecticut, is creating virtual reality focus groups and research panels. “We are always scanning the tech space to make sure we are on the leading edge of what’s available,” states Aaron Burch, Touchstone CEO. “And, ironically, we’re helping our customers get ready to go to market with their products—including their VR products—by using Virtual Reality focus groups to gather market information, particularly from the youth and teen segments.”
Touchstone is merging VR technology with research methodologies to answer its customers’ questions about market demand. They’re doing something very conventional in the business world, focus groups and market research, but they’re doing it in an unconventional way, using the newest technology. With its “V-Room,” Touchstone brings the world into a single virtual location, saving travel and facilities costs, and allowing for flexibility in scheduling you cannot find if you are trying to get a diverse group of people to converge in the same physical location. It’s easier, cheaper, faster. And it’s cooler. What could VR technology do for your business?
Do you know of a company that’s using Virtual Reality tech to disrupt its industry? Let me know. I’d like to write about it.
This article was written by Larry Myler from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.