The current situation related to the coronavirus has substantially contributed to the development of virtual reality. Companies are starting to look for new forms of remote collaboration and business, and together with digitization and robotics, this is one of the segments that is growing rapidly, despite the global crisis. Let’s have a look at what benefits virtual reality can bring into your life.
People don’t want to just sit at home, reconciled with the status quo concerning social distancing and other limitations; they want to experience something unique, lifelike, and this can be mediated by virtual reality, into which companies are massively investing right now. One of the reasons is that the situation is not very good for retail, which is dying due to the current pandemic. And shopping online alone is not enough. With many practical applications and benefits for the users, virtual reality looks extremely promising. What’s more, virtual reality and virtual currencies, or cryptocurrencies, seem to be a good match.
Virtual reality also ranks among the technologies with the highest growth potential. Some experts estimate that the investments in virtual reality and augmented reality will multiply up to 20-fold over the next four years.
Virtual Reality: Real Applications Beyond Gaming
Until recently, 3D and virtual reality was typically associated with the gaming and film industry. Nowadays, more and more companies are starting to realize the untapped potential of this exciting new field of technology, which is possible thanks to modern powerful computers and consumer devices easily available to the general public.
Companies have found that users are willing to invest their time, resources and money into virtual reality and augmented reality. For the time being, primarily tech-savvy users are interested in virtual reality. A similar group of users is starting to use virtual currencies (digital currencies, cryptocurrencies). Thus, it seems logical that sooner or later, payments in the virtual reality field will be done with cryptocurrencies.
If the Ethereum blockchain is used as the base platform to build virtual reality worlds, Ether or ERC-20 tokens could be chosen as the common currency. In case virtual reality is built on many different platforms, Bitcoin might be a better candidate. If Facebook’s VR space Horizon gains many users, they might want to use Libra for their payments. Among other contestants are, for example, Decentraland (MANA), CEEK VR (CEEK), MARK.SPACE (MRK), and GazeCoin (GZE).
Virtual Reality Gear
To enjoy the VR to the fullest, specially designed VR gear is needed:
- VR Headset: Special glasses with a lifelike picture, crystal-clear audio and quality microphone to allow for smooth communication.
- Computer in a backpack: For the fullest VR experience, a powerful computer is needed, equipped with a hefty battery, all carried in a specially designed, comfortable backpack.
- Controller: Made to match the VR experience, it can be a special ice-hockey stick, tennis racket, golf club, firearm, etc., giving you all the options to interact with the virtual world.
The gear also depends on the type of virtual reality – with non-immersive, semi-immersive, and fully-immersive simulations. Depending on the platform, other devices and accessories might be needed, as well. The good news is that all these are becoming available to the general public at a price to allow for a faster spread and adoption of this technology.
Virtual Reality in Military, Flight Industry, and Education
Military and flight industry was among the first to make use of the benefits of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Ground force, air forces and navy – all three of these major military fields make use of VR in virtual boot camps, battlefield simulations, and vehicle simulations.
Virtual reality also allows for highly effective medical training, including simulations of complex surgeries, with no danger to any actual patient. VR is used not only by military pilots but also by airlines such as Lufthansa and Qantas to effectively train their pilots, cabin crews, flight attendants and aircraft mechanics.
Virtual reality in education brings in many benefits, for example:
- The whole process is engaging, interesting, and motivating.
- The students are provided with a lifelike experience that is impossible to achieve in traditional ways.
- The quality and effectiveness of education is improved on many levels.
- The learning itself feels like fun, it doesn’t feel like work.
- VR improves knowledge retention and student test scores.
- VR helps and appeals to even the least responsive students.
Virtual Reality in Movies
After a few not-so-successful experiments with 4D and 5D cinemas, cinematographers are looking at new technologies. The Czech studio Brainz Immersive, which deals with the development of new VR concepts, was the first domestic company to bring in a new cinematic experience: watching films in virtual reality.
Studio Brainz Immersive presents cinema in the guise of virtual reality. It tries to respond to new trends in the film industry. Brainz uses headsets (VR glasses) from the company Oculus, which is owned by Facebook. The headset projects the image directly onto the wearer’s retina, and the viewer is virtually transferred to the film’s venue, feeling as if standing side by side with the movie characters or becoming one of them themselves.
Virtual Reality in Sports
NHL clubs have begun testing a virtual reality training program developed by the Czech Sense Arena team. Interactive drills help improve reaction time, active hands, puck tracking, and play tracking. You get measurable results, measurable improvements.
You get better at power-play, passing shots or shooting practice. All this without ice, but with an unlimited number of repetitions. Are you saying that you can’t imagine a similar ice-hockey training? Well, something like this might soon become a standard part of the sports world. This is thanks to an application developed by this Czech company.
By means of virtual reality, the player is transferred to the environment of an ice-hockey stadium. With the help of a powerful computer, a VR headset (glasses for virtual reality) and specially adapted ice-hockey stick, the player can complete dozens of exercises in various situations practically anywhere. The puck and all teammates on the ice around the player are virtual.
The testing of Sense Arena technology showed that the players measurably improved their skills just after three months – and they had better results than the players in the other group that have not used the virtual reality technology for their practice sessions. NHL teams have already shown their interest in Sense Arena VR technology, which should become available to professional teams around the world.
Virtual reality can be used effectively in many other sports such as cycling, skiing, athletics, golf, baseball, tennis, table tennis, etc. The advantage is that you can practice, develop and automate your skills in virtual reality, getting perfectly ready for the real environment where you will immediately see how much you have improved thanks to VR.
Virtual Reality in Sightseeing
Under the current situation, you might not be allowed or able to travel to see the sights. Well, you no longer have to travel to see what you want. For example, the Google Arts & Culture Program offers a myriad of items, reproductions, and Street View tours from over 2,000 leading museums and archives. Now everyone can walk through the selected places in virtual reality. All you need is a web browser or a mobile phone.
The impetus for starting the project was, among other things, the gradual destruction of monuments, whether by human actions or natural phenomena. In 2016, for example, the temples in Myanmar were damaged, but thanks to a previous scan, it was possible to at least rebuild them virtually.
Other places include Chichen Itza in Mexico and Al Azem Palace in Syria. 3D models, photos, videos and, in some sections, audio guides are available. You can enjoy historical sites as if you were there. You can walk around and enter the pyramids in Egypt, stroll through the cities and towns in the Middle Ages, and experience historical milestones in person.
Virtual Reality in Business and Networking
Somnium Space is a decentralized blockchain-based platform. Anyone who owns virtual reality glasses can enter this world. You can buy land here and use it for personal and business purposes. You can create an avatar or house and sell it to other users. Each transaction requires a small fee.
More and more people from all over the world visit Somnium Space every month; hundreds of users own land here. In the beginning, people used it for personal purposes only. Recently, there has been a great interest from the business side as well. The price of land started at $250 and went up to over $10,000. This clearly shows that people started to realize the potential of virtual reality.
For example, if your company organizes an event or a conference, you have to rent an adequate space for dozens, hundreds or even thousands in attendance, with proper sound, digital displays for a better view, food, drink, parking lots, attendants, security staff, on-site service, etc. Some or many participants have to travel to the venue, book a flight, a hotel, and take a day or two off even if the event will take place for just half a day. Under the current situation, they might have to produce a valid negative coronavirus test to be allowed to travel. With virtual reality, all this is a thing of the past and everything becomes much more effective and streamlined.
In the Somnium cyberspace, the largest gallery in virtual space has grown, with an art collection worth $500,000. Companies can also present their advertisement in Somnium Space or place their sales office here and meet their clients here.
Virtual Reality in Showrooms
Another example is YORD that prepared a presentation of electro mobility in virtual and augmented reality for Skoda Auto. Virtual reality is a great way to operate self-service showrooms to show the features of the cars and other consumer products to clients.
In the Adidas store in Paris, the technology startup has installed a smart mirror in which customers can try on clothes in the virtual world. Similarly, virtual reality can be a great way to easily see how different hairstyles and make-up would suit you. And with the Tiffany jewelry store, they are talking about a possible collaboration in creating a virtual showroom of luxury jewelry.
Virtual Reality in Trading
If you are engaged in trading, you need to see several options at the same time to be effective. With just one or two monitors, you have to resort to split screens or you have to switch views often. In case you use several large monitors to see all the required charts, options and exchanges at the same time, you need quite a lot of space for this.
Virtual reality changes all this dramatically. Instead of e.g. six monitors, you can see everything in 3D in space. You can enlarge the view as needed, fast and effectively. Trading at several exchanges at the same time is suddenly an easy game.
On top of that, you don’t have to be confined to a sterile standard trading office. Wouldn’t it be more pleasant to conduct your trading in a beautiful garden, in a park, by a lake or by a gurgling brook? All this is no problem, thanks to virtual reality.
Virtual Reality and Crypto as Promising Fields
When email became available, many businesses still continued using physical mail and fax machines. Today, even school children use email. When cell phones started, only the top businessmen were interested. Today, practically every child has a smartphone. Virtual reality is similar. At this time, it is a fast-developing, promising field.
The practical applications and benefits of virtual reality are so vast that people might want to adopt this technology much faster than email or cell phones. The same is true for virtual currencies, or cryptocurrencies, that offer peer-to-peer payments with transparent transactions recorded on immutable blockchain. That’s why virtual reality and virtual currencies could be a good match. Only the future will show if this is what the users will choose.