The Power of Virtual Reality

By – Devansh Upadhyay

(UI Developer, ignio AI.Workload Management | Digitate)

Humans may feel pleasant after seeing a beautiful flower in the evening, or their whole day may be spoilt by something horrible they experienced in the morning. Human experiences define what we remember, how we grow as a person and how we react to something. According to a report [1], an average human spends nearly three hours of their day interacting with their smartphone. According to this information, we invest approximately one-eighth of our time on a digital experience platform. Plenty of time is spent in surfing the internet, scrolling feeds and browsing social media. We collect one-eighth of our experiences from a single device which brings us news, feeds and ideas from all over the world.

It all started in 1973, when Martin Cooper, a Motorola engineer, made the first mobile and called their rival, informing them that he’s talking from a mobile phone! Our interactions with mobile technology have evolved from keypad phones to feature phones to smartphones. We have progressed from 0.2 Megapixel to 4K recordings in a single camera of a mobile. Similarly, we are also advancing towards a new era where 2D interaction with mobile screen will transform into 3D visualization in a headset.

Taking all of this into consideration, it will not be an exaggeration to claim that Virtual Reality (VR) will be the next big thing in the near future. In simple terms, Virtual Reality, is a computer generated simulation of any environment. VR uses stimulation of two of our primary senses, that is, vision and hearing, for an immersive experience to explore an alternate digital reality. VR can be described as a digital form of lucid dreaming, but instead of going to sleep we need to fasten our VR headset to experience it.

The Need to Transcend to a New ‘Reality’

In the COVID pandemic situation, most of the experiences have been transformed to their digital versions. The world is transcending to a digital space, whether it is the payments, discussion meetings or community meet-ups. Thus, seeing VR as the new place where experiments will be carried out, will not be an exaggeration. VR added to the power of analytics will be a full-fledged capability to predict an optimal solution to various problems.

There are multiple fields which VR can revolutionize and may provide a better approach to solve problems than the traditional one:

Healthcare

Healthcare is a critical field where VR has proved to be extremely effective. It has already been adopted in therapies to treat patients with phobia and anxiety disorders. VR has also helped people with autism to develop social and communication skills and to diagnose patients with visual or cognitive impairments by tracking their eye movements.

In another study [2], it was found that VR substantially helped in restoring the ability of patients suffering from a chronic spinal cord injury. VR has an excellent use case in training healthcare professionals. Mastering surgical skills requires a lot of practice and necessitates a high amount of repetition. In 2017, a global healthcare company created VR simulations to train surgeons on how to implant orthopedic devices.

The main advantage to this method of training is the zero risk factor to patients. Also, with this new method of training, they tracked the progress and pace of every trainee and provided necessary feedback for their improvement. The results obtained were astonishing. Trainees using VR obtained a score 233 per cent greater than those who used passive learning tools. Students who used VR completed 252 per cent more steps than other students who used passive tools. [3].

Retail

In the retail industry VR has emerged as an excellent solution providing a virtual experience to indulge the user in a live experience. In this era of e-commerce, shopping through VR could be the next big leap, with the added advantage of exploring products in a virtual environment.

An American multinational food manufacturing company carried out an experiment using VR headsets simulating customer experience in a grocery store. Tracking the eye-movement of users in the space where a product is to be deployed provided a better insight about the customer behaviors. Leveraging their analytics power, the team inferred that the optimal location to place a product is at the lower shelves. With this minute change in the position of the product, there was an 18 per cent rise in their sales. This combination of VR and analytics can be further used in many fields to churn out better insights about user behavior. [4]

Maintenance Activity Trainings

VR provides a simple solution to design an environment where we can virtually take care of all the maintenance tasks for an activity. Imagine if a turbine technician hired in a new firm needs to learn how to service the turbine machines. They will need to personally visit all of the different models to get familiar with the make and model of the machines. Through VR simulation, the freshly hired trainee will be exposed to the VR environment created where they can learn the steps needed for a maintenance activity, thus reducing the training time and the cost to visit individual turbine machines.

A leading provider of renewable energy in the US, owns and operates more than 60 wind power facilities with more than 25 different models and designs. They have created a solution and are training their trainees on VR and are expecting 65 per cent faster speed of training as compared to traditional, real-world training. [5]

Seeing the examples described, one can infer that VR technology has gained widespread recognition and adoption over the past few years. Numerous players are emerging in the market with the hopes of navigating it towards mainstream adoption. When it was initially released, majority of VR technology was very expensive. This economical factor hindered the growth of the VR industry for a long period.

For example, when HTC launched their Vive headset in 2016, it was priced at a whopping US$799! However, with the advancements that have been made, costs have plummeted and now cheaper headsets are available in the market carrying a price tag as low as US$299[6]. On the other hand, quality has skyrocketed, providing a rich user experience. We can imagine advancements in some fields of VR by the fact that recently apple won the patent for a VR headset that projects images directly unto your retina! [7]

The Future

According to a report [8], with constant developments in VR technology and its usage becoming more widespread, the global market value for virtual reality is estimated to be a US$31.2 billion by 2026. In the near future, we will see an increased number of companies operating within the niche and the external companies will begin adopting it. VR can become a massive industry contributing a significant portion of advancements to modern-day science. Converged with the powers of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and nano-technology, VR will allow us to live in a way we never thought possible before.

Digitate helps its customers to predict and prevent problems in their businesses with enterprise level visualizations propelled with the power of analytics. Keeping in mind the appeal with which VR can transform these experiences, it could be a major transition to a new dimension for the user. Understanding enterprise information like process flows are convenient to understand when viewed with an extra dimension in VR. Interpreting complex hierarchies, understanding the sequence of processes and diagnosing issues when something fails in an enterprise are major challenges in batch systems. Multi-dimensional visualizations in VR can help with the process-flow issues faced while eradicating these problems. With the power of VR technology and effective visualizations, we can easily estimate how convenient it would be to understand and prevent problems in an enterprise.

References

1. https://kommandotech.com/statistics/how-much-time-does-the-average-person-spend-on-their-phone
2. https://www.nature.com/articles/srep30383
3. https://business.oculus.com/case-studies/johnson-and-johnson
4. https://www.accenture.com/us-en/case-studies/consumer-goods-services/virtual-reality-merchandising-with-kelloggs
5. https://business.oculus.com/case-studies/avangrid
6. https://www.oculus.com/quest-2
7. https://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2020/06/apple-wins-patent-for-an-arvr-headset-that-uses-a-dynamic-focus-3d-display-that-projects-images-directly-unto-the-retina.html
8. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210113005703/en/Global-31.2-Billion-Virtual-Reality-Market-to-2026-by-Component-Device-Technology-End-User-Leading-Players

Related posts

Leave a Reply