If you were to go back a couple of decades and explain to someone what virtual reality (VR) is, they would probably think that you were discussing the plot of a science fiction movie, rather than something that has become an important part of daily life in 2023.
VR has come a long way in the past few years and its usage is becoming extremely far-reaching; spanning a range of industries and helping to speed up, and streamline a variety of vital tasks.
But, virtual reality hasn’t even reached its peak yet in terms of both performance and usability. The technology behind VR is still growing at an extremely fast pace and is expected to continue revolutionising industries in the near and distant future.
What is the benefit of VR?
Many businesses are now starting to realise the benefits of VR, in fact, 91% of businesses are currently using – or plan to use – VR or AR (augmented reality) technology.
Some of the benefits that businesses are able to enjoy when using virtual reality include:
- Improved customer interaction and loyalty.
- Create new, immersive experiences that separate you from competitors.
- Boost collaboration on projects in multiple locations.
- Improve health and safety procedures.
- Speed up the learning process by allowing remote training.
- Give customers the chance to ‘try’ products before they buy.
- Create fun learning experiences for students and staff.
How virtual reality is used in industries?
The benefits of using virtual reality can be enjoyed by a variety of industries, even ones that seem to be completely opposite.
From aerospace to education, VR is successfully shaking up some of our most critical industries.
1. Aerospace and aviation
In the aerospace and aviation industries, VR has found particular use in recreating flight training and simulation exercises for pilots in training. Using VR simulators, pilots can practice various scenarios that seem extremely realistic but don’t involve putting themselves in any danger, or at the expense of using an actual aircraft.
Normally pilots would have to go through hours and hours of training before they are able to take a seat in a plane with passengers, by using virtual reality simulators they are able to get the experience they need so they can perform better in real-life scenarios.
The medical industry is one of the most important ones as they are responsible for treating all of us in an emergency, or when we’re feeling under the weather. Thanks to virtual reality, doctors are finding new, more efficient ways to care for the sick.
VR tools have started to be used in neurosurgery and thoracic surgery, giving doctors a chance to virtually explore the inside of a person’s brain and body before they begin surgery. This normally helps to ensure a successful operation with minimal risk and provides doctors with more information on the patient, which can make all the difference.
Similarly, VR has also started to be used to treat nervous system disorders and relieve anxiety. Patients have been able to use VR to understand what will happen to them during surgery or provide them with more knowledge on a condition they’re suffering from. Using VR, doctors are able to create 3D models of someone’s brain and body based on MRIs, CT scans, and angiograms which a patient can then view.
Finally, the education industry has also started to incorporate elements of virtual reality in schools to improve learning outcomes for students. VR is so effective in a school environment because of how accessible it is; no matter where a student is from and regardless of their abilities, they can all benefit from VR-driven learning experiences.
Using VR tools, teachers can take content from a textbook and turn it into immersive, engaging learning experiences for students. Within a virtual learning environment, students can interact with course content in a completely new way which can help them to pick up new topics, retain more information, and ultimately succeed in the future.
VR can also take the risk out of learning; particularly in science-based subjects. Rather than letting students play around with chemicals or open flames in a physical classroom, they can be free to test and explore in a virtual laboratory where they don’t have to worry about putting themselves in danger.
Which industry uses VR the most?
The gaming industry was a very early adopter of virtual reality and remains the industry that uses it the most. The VR gaming industry is expected to be valued at $2.4 / £1.94 billion in 2024, and many popular games already involve some elements of VR.
Outside of the gaming industry, it’s healthcare, education, manufacturing, and advertising that are anticipated to utilise the most VR.