1838 – Invention of stereoscopic photo viewer by Charles Wheatstone
1987 – Virtual Reality coined by Jaron Lanier, went on to sell the first set of Virtual Reality goggles called the EyePhone
1995 – Nintendo release Virtual Boy, the first portable VR console with support for two colours
2010 – First prototype of the Oculus Rift is built, beginning a series of advancements in VR over the decade
2017 – People continue to ask each other if this is the year that VR will take off
In the 179 year history of Virtual Reality, uptake has been relatively slow. In that time cinema, recorded music, space flight and the internet have been invented and had a greater impact on society than VR has had. This is partly due to the concept of VR being ahead of its time; it is only relatively recently that computers have had the required hardware to create a simulation that could be called a reality rather than an 8-bit fever dream. The basic requirements to run software on the human body are far higher than any needed to run on modern computers, although recent developments have made the technology more palatable for consumers.
Image Credit: The Lawnmower Man, 1992
VR will change everything. All sectors could be greatly enhanced by workers and consumers utilising an extra layer of perception in order to communicate ideas; from a farmer remotely controlling robotic scarecrows to guard their crop to a jury reliving a simulated crime to people using VR to try different haircuts at a barbers, the combination of VR and automation will catapult any job from abject drudgery to high-tech pleasure.
So why does your company need a VR strategy? The same reason why a marketing strategy is more or less a social media strategy; the technology will become so intrinsic to society that lacking a strategy will leave you looking like Fred Flintstone (but worse as there are no dinosaurs that can replicate VR in the same way they replaced mechanisms like waste disposal units or aeroplanes in the show). As with any strategy, one needs to consider what they would like to achieve and work backwards, supplemented by research and creativity.
Image Credit: Creative Commons, PixaBay
For VR, I would encourage anyone who has not fully experienced it to do so as soon as possible. You could get a set of Google cardboard and watch some 360 videos through your phone, but this is equivalent to eating banana flavoured Angel Delight rather than an actual banana. For the real thing I’d recommend dropping by your nearest VR arcade and ask for a demonstration, the staff there would also be happy to answer any questions you may have. Regardless, properly engaging with high quality content is important to experience in order to understand it.
The next step would be to consider how that experience may be mixed into how your business is run. Could you create content for audiences using VR? Would visualising something in VR make it easier for colleagues and investors to understand a concept and feedback easier? Should you consider a room for VR in planning your new office space? These questions are purely from a business perspective, but similar questions about using VR could be relevant for teachers making lesson plans, for artists thinking of new work, for carers to enhance the lives of those they look after; think of how Virtual Reality might impact your work, whatever it is you do.
Image Credit: Creative Commons, Pexels
A VR strategy just a few years ago would have seemed premature, but with recent developments and consumer uptake, VR has arrived. Will your company find out about it later, reacting to it and coming up with a half-baked idea (see: Questionable Snapchat filters), or will you have a strategy in place along with the knowledge and resources to take advantage of the next technological leap?
- gameslab leeds