In today’s multimedia environment, the pace and speed of technological advances can leave marketers feeling overwhelmed. Nowhere is that more evident than in the cutting-edge, awe-inspiring industry of virtual reality (VR). Think Oculus Rift. Think Palmer Luckey. Think again. There is much more to virtual reality than meets the eye (pun-intended). This article will be a two-part series focused on the marketing applications of virtual reality, but before we go there, we need to determine what virtual reality is and what it isn’t.
What is Virtual and Augmented Reality?
VR is unique in comparison to other similar technologies as it offers the user their “own” reality with what they see, hear, and possibly even feel around them.
Augmented reality is often confused to be virtual reality; however, it is a different technology. Augment.com focuses on educating the public on all things AR and VR. This team defined AR as, “A technology that layers computer-generated enhancements atop an existing reality in order to make it more meaningful through the ability to interact with it.” What this means is that AR uses real world imagery and simply overlays the virtual aspects. An example of this is the popular Pokémon Go app.
This is different than what VR provides which could arguably be considered a completely alternative reality of which the user is able to have a range of control over.
How does it work?
Virtual Reality Modeling Language, VRML, is the coding language used to make virtual reality possible. This coding can be used to define what interactions are possible for the VR experience and also create a series of images. VR becomes realistic to its user when they use headsets to view the VR imagery and gloves or bodysuits with sensors attached for the computer to track their movements.
Why should I care about Virtual Reality?
The future of VR holds hostage industries such as ecommerce, travel, advertising, dating, and even real estate. While many are nervous how VR will impact our society, health and social skills, there are huge possibilities and benefits to the growth of VR.
According to Forbes Magazine, VR hardware and software sales could reach $21.8 billion worldwide by the year of 2020. This is an unbelievable compound annual growth rate of 142% since the $108.8 million in sales in 2014. Forbes goes on to explain that Video game sales will lead the VR market, however music, social, tourism, sports and fitness will all contribute significantly. The explosion of VR will force numerous industries to adapt with its technology as consumers will be expecting more and more VR experiences. With Virtual Reality developing and gaining popularity at an alarming rate, the business world must either adapt with it or lose against it.
How will virtual reality impact your marketing plans? What opportunities does VR offer digital marketers? Follow our next blog post that will delve deeper into the future of VR and how it will impact your business.