If you were around in the 1990s you may have seen everyone caught up in the idea of virtual reality (VR). The idea wasn’t enough though; the tech just wasn’t there. But now it’s actually happening – and it’s set to transform the market. In this opinion piece, Roberto Boschiroli, Head of Marketing of digital consumer finance firm MoneyMe investigates why millennials are best placed to benefit from VR.
You may have already seen the Oculus Rift, or the ads for the upcoming PlayStation VR. They look cool enough and the games will be great, but this space is missing something.
The biggest benefits in VR aren’t in flying a spaceship or watching a movie. The biggest breakthroughs will come when savvy entrepreneurs start realising how putting people in different virtual environments can create sustainable, profitable businesses.
The best part? The people best positioned to create those businesses are probably teenagers. They’re the early adopters, and because they’re growing up with this tech, they’re going to think of new ways to take VR outside of games.
We’re already seeing VR take off outside gaming. Filmmakers in Hollywood are figuring out how they can create interactive blockbusters (imagine watching a superhero movie as the fight goes on around you), and Qantas trialled VR headsets on flights last year. Imagine being 32,000 feet in the air and being immersed somewhere else – maybe even the destination you’re flying to. It’ll go a long way in helping those nervous flyers.
Virtual reality is just the beginning. Augmented reality is going to change how we interact with the world, and don’t just think about clunky headsets, think about contact lenses and how this tech will interact in the future.
Augmented reality is a real view of the world, with information laid on top of it – like video, graphics or GPS information. Imagine looking around the street, but with a pair of glasses or contact lenses, being able to view information about your area in real time. Perhaps you could view reviews of local cafes or restaurants.
This isn’t science fiction, it’s happening. Magic Leap, a company in the United States, is the furthest along and has received half a billion dollars in investment from investment companies – and some extra cash from Google, too. BMW has already debuted glasses for drivers that give their wearers information they would usually get on the dashboard, it even shows available parking spaces.
Can you imagine the type of content both VR and augmented reality could create? Better still, what type of experiences it could open up for people?
Think about being able to walk around your new home, even though you haven’t built it yet. You could change architectural details in real-time and give your builder a sense of what you really want.
Or maybe you want to attend a concert, but it’s sold out. Promoters could sell virtual tickets for you to attend the concert via headset – so you never miss out.
Teachers could show students the wonders of the solar system in their own classroom – and they won’t even have to visit a museum.
The best part of all this? Virtual reality technology is becoming cheaper. With the Oculus Rift and upcoming PlayStation VR headsets costing around or under $1,000 each, coming up with some easy money for this type of purchase isn’t an impossible endeavour.
We’re going to see a lot more news about virtual reality this year and games are just the beginning. There are millions of other uses, and it’s going to be young people who can really show us what this technology can do.
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