Virtual Reality Trends that Could Be the Future
March 16, 2021
A virtual future may not be too far from reality, and virtual reality has already plugged into daily life. Automotive manufacturers use this technology in design, and retailers may use virtual reality as a means to replicate in-person experiences. The future is virtual.
According to Statista, the predictions for a virtual future include six million virtual reality headset sales for 2021. Statista also predicts that gaming will capture $1.4 billion, while the entire virtual reality market will hit nearly $5 billion (in 2021). What else will consumers view through virtual lenses? Here are virtual reality trends that could be the future.
Virtual reality is already embraced by some retail global giants during employee training. The technology allows employees to safely engage in and experience customer service situations that simulate real life experiences in a virtual realm.
By using a virtual platform to introduce new employees to challenging customer service scenarios, it allows them to better prepare for the real situation. In the virtual realm, mistakes can be used as a learning tool. No customer was actually involved or affected. If an employee incorrectly manages the situation, nothing escalates. Instead, managers could use the virtual real to decide if the employee is a good fit. Virtual reality could be not just a teaching tool but something used to gauge the effectiveness of the employee match, too.
Virtual training scenarios also allow employees to walk through potentially dangerous incidents without any real danger. Virtual reality could be used to help teach employees how to handle a robbery or other emergency situation.
Companies like Strivr have created virtual reality training platforms. Strivr has been used by jetBlue, Fidelity and Verizon. Strivr creates a “custom curriculum” for each company.
Covid kept many Americans at home for months at a time. Even now, many cities in the country still have restrictions on capacity, and, of course, masks may also be required. During the beginning of the pandemic, though, shelter-in-place mandates kept many from leaving home for anything but essential trips.
Not many people were going out. But most everyone was looking for ways to stay busy…and entertained. Sheltering-in-place began to feel like confinement perhaps. However, all those closed recreational businesses began to find their footing virtually. Museums and other venues offered virtual tours and trips.
Virtual was reality. And while virtual trips and tours weren’t the same as the real-life experience, for Americans hunkering indoors, the virtual realm might have been the only ticket to fun.
Those virtual trips could have started a new trend, though. For example, museums of great interest for tourists offered online virtual tours. No matter what part of the world an individual lived, they could virtually walk through museums like the Louvre or the Guggenheim. In fact, the Guggenheim allowed families and individuals to sign up for private virtual tours. The museum also offered online art classes, too!
YouTube also provided individuals and families with a way to explore faraway lands and countries. Videos via YouTube included tours of rainforests and famous landmarks, too. Those staying home could even take a virtual tour of the Pyramids of Giza.
Will the future embrace these virtual tours? Perhaps as virtual reality headsets become more accessible, tours of countries or historical landmarks could go virtual. Maybe museums and other cultural venues also embrace virtual tours.
Online shopping isn’t new. During the pandemic, though, online retail might have felt like the safest option. While many areas of the country have gradually opened up to more foot traffic, stores may be a bit more active with shoppers.
However, some consumers might have become more comfortable and confident with the online retail options. Buying online will likely continue to be a popular choice, but what about virtual shopping? Will online shopping begin to include virtual components?
Currently, virtual and augmented reality features can be found within the online world of commerce. Stores like Ulta and Sephora offer virtual try-on options for consumers to preview shades of cosmetics. Ikea’s stores offer virtual reality experiences to allow consumers to create a kitchen.
Car shopping also has gone virtual. Sites like RelayCars allow consumers to preview a vehicle in virtual reality. Users can swap out the paint hues and peek inside the car. Virtual reality could become more prevalent in the car-shopping experience, and, in the future, perhaps users step into a virtual realm as the beginning of their car hunt. Maybe the virtual reality showrooms give consumers a better idea about the cars they like, and the vehicles that they are ready to ‘x’ off their list.
Medical visits sometimes went remote during the pandemic. It wasn’t uncommon for medical professionals to schedule virtual therapy sessions (for psychologists) or even virtual check-ups when the situation was appropriate.
Could the virtual visit become a mainstay? Or could patients put on a headset to meet up with doctors or therapists? Anything is possible.
Virtual reality is being used, however, by psychologists to help patients experience situations without placing them in harm’s way. Virtual reality allows patients who may suffer from anxiety or agoraphobia to safely confront their fears in virtual reality. For example, someone who fears driving may be able to drive in virtual reality before actually going on the road.
Virtual reality also is used by doctors for training purposes. And maybe in the future this technology could be used in medical schools for some training. In fact, using virtual reality for medical school education during Covid was suggested in a paper published by the Resident Student Organization.
While the pandemic ushered in numerous virtual tours and trips, other virtual experiences could become a reality, too. During the worst of Covid, gone were nights out, including trips to the movies, bar crawls, concerts, theme park visits and other recreational events that kept the weekends busy. Concerts went virtual as favorite musicians hosted performances from their home or other locales.
Could concerts go virtual? Or sporting events? While the in-person experience will probably be greatly embraced once herd immunity hits, some individuals may like the concept of virtually plugging into an event.
Most everyone has experienced a time when they were unable to make an event. Maybe they scored tickets to a major baseball game or a sold-out concert only to have a babysitter cancel. What if virtual became an option? If you can’t make the in-person event but have tickets, what if the future holds virtual seats? This could mean that the attendee wears a headset and enters the venue virtually. They see the game or concert as if they were there! The concept could be incredibly cool. Will it happen? Who knows!
For many employees, work-from-home may be the new office…for good. Some companies have seen how much financial savings goes along with not having employees in the office. Maybe companies have noticed that employees are more productive. Covid might have changed the working environment for these companies.
Virtual meetings and meet-ups could be the future. Automotive companies have used virtual reality to review car designs in a virtual environment. Businesses use virtual conferencing platforms like Zoom to host meetings and stay in touch.
Synergizing could mean virtual meetings in the future! Just be sure to pick a great background!
For some children, virtual learning was an amazing opportunity. Others didn’t fare so well. Schools may be more open to embracing a virtual learning environment for the future. Online colleges are already a reality. Perhaps the online learning that was forced upon schools becomes a doorway to more virtual learning opportunities.
Imagine if many universities started offering virtual classes full-time for students. This could save a tremendous amount of money on housing and other costs. The idea of virtual learning also could make college more accessible to some students.
What if elementary or middle school offered virtual options? For students who struggle in the classroom, this could open up a new way of learning.
AR Post pointed out that self-driving cars may be the future. We already see AI driving the future, and a self-driving car probably isn’t far from reality. Many companies—and tech giants—are working toward a car that drives autonomously. So perhaps we should all get ready to relinquish our driver’s seat!
While many are eyeing the future with self-driving cars, what this will look like is anyone’s best guess. If self-driving cars become the norm, maybe the roads look different. Will self-driving cars all be electric? Will gas stations become obsolete?
The reality of a virtual reality car is that for the roads to become entirely driverless will require a LOT of safety features within the car. A self-driving car will need to understand the future maneuvers of other self-driving cars. The car will need to become incredibly intelligent, understanding not only the basics of movement and acceleration but also the rules of the road, too. The car will need to know who has the right of way. It will need to be programmed with GPS components.
While virtual reality is taking the driver’s seat in our automobiles and accelerating into the fast lane of commerce, too, the virtual future isn’t coded in certainty. Technology evolves quickly, and the design of the virtual future is still a blurred vision…but it is going to be coded with excitement!