How to Use Virtual Reality to Succeed in Business

The term virtual reality is almost self-explanatory. Virtual means almost or near while reality means what is actually experienced. Therefore, virtual reality fundamentally implies near-reality. It is used to refer to an imitation of reality.

We know our reality or our world through our perception systems and our senses. All that we know is a combination of the information that our senses convey to the brain and how the brain makes sense of it. Thus, you can ‘create’ a reality by feeding the senses with fabricated information. This new reality that you will know is one that does not really exist but you will perceive as if it does. Now that is virtual reality.

Defining it in technical terms is easy. It is simply a three-dimensional environment created by a computer and can interact with and be explored by a person. The person can perform actions in that environment since they become a part of it. 

In today’s world, virtual reality can be achieved by use of computer technology. Examples of systems that can be used to achieve this include special gloves, headsets, and omnidirectional treadmills. The systems provoke the senses together and achieve a misapprehension of reality.

It sounds simple but it is not. Our brains are wired in such a way that, if anything is amiss we will notice. Hence virtual reality technology takes into account the aspect of our physiology. It seeks to combine software, hardware, and sensory synchronicity perfectly so as to achieve the sense of presence. 

You may be wondering why someone would go through all that trouble. First, it is for entertainment purposes. The entertainment sector is a gold-mine. The uncountable consumers of this industry are very keen on newness. Virtual reality is also used in ‘more serious’ fields like:

•    Medicine

•    Sports

•    Architecture

•    The arts

One feature that is common to all of them is the fact that they are able to let one view a three-dimensional image. To this person, the images are life-sized. They also transform as the person navigates the environment.

The virtual environment has to provide suitable responses as the person moves around it. The responses have to be in real time. If a delay occurs between the person’s action and the response then the experience is interrupted. The brain realizes that the environment is artificial.

Virtual reality technology creates an artificial reality and allows someone to experience it as if they are really in it. It ‘corrupts’ the senses and brain into believing it. It is a complicated kind of technology that simplifies life. This technology is a big step into the future. Although it is complicated and not quite affordable, it is spreading quickly. It has brought a much-needed advancement in vital fields like medicine. Hopefully, it will lead to other great innovations that will make the globe an even smaller village.

Virtual Reality Rises

2016 was a year intended for Virtual Reality. Thanks to great growth facilitators like Google, HTC, Samsung, and Oculus, it was. The technology enhanced fast enough. 2017 is now expected to be the year that VR rises. The market is now larger and you can even earn a living from it. But how can you earn money from VR?

If you are excited about VR and the potential opportunities of this new and amazing industry, then you are definitely thrilled to combine passion and work and earn a living from it. Several VR enthusiasts from all over the world, each of them unique in their own way, brought to light the types of jobs that are there in the VR world. The following suggestions will be helpful to any ambitious person who is out to create a personal VR legacy.

Take for example a developer who is talented in game engines such as Unreal or Unity. The first way to earn money would be to create and sell your own video game. How cool is that? You may not have the resources to build something like Job Simulator on your own but you can build a game like Pinball pro-VR (a VR Pinball player) which was built by a single person. 

If you have built your game there are two ways to monetize it:

•    You can decide to sell it for free and probably monetize it by including advertising in your experience. You can find several startups in the market which can help you connect with brands.

•    The other option is to put your game on the Oculus/Steam store and sell it for money. The store takes 30% commission so you will get 70% of your selling price.

The first option may be the coolest and maybe easiest way of earning with VR. However, if you cannot code, setting up a simulation, game or application on your own is not possible. 

If you are creative and have marketing skills this option is for you. There are so many opportunities to advise corporations on VR. Many brand representatives are eager to create engagement through VR but they have no idea how to approach it. They rarely have the time to collect information or even set up a VR system. You can make money by selling your wisdom to them.

People in the VR industry are hungry for data. There is a lot of information they need in order to pitch their ideas to corporations. For example, they would like to know what really molds the feeling of presence or how a user navigates a digital environment.

These are just a few ways but they are great places to start. If you are a VR technology junkie, consider monetizing your passion. This is the time to start thinking about how you will create the next virtual game or how to advise a certain company, be a VR researcher and immerse yourself in something that you really love. Having your passion earn you money is a dream come true.

Virtual Reality via Real Estate Industry

Normally, the real estate industry changes with time and is quick to embrace technology to enhance its services. However, when it comes to Virtual Reality technology it seems to exhibit skepticism. Those that hesitate to adopt it could be making a grave mistake while those that do could be doing themselves a great favor. 

The two most common problems faced by real estate agents are:

•    Having to manage time visiting one house after another, with obstacles like traffic making it even harder.

•    Having to hear buyers say, “it doesn’t look like the pictures” all the time. 

Virtual reality is the ultimate answer to these two issues. It makes it possible to virtually show many houses in a short time. This improves sales efficiency, allows an agent to attend to more buyers and show more houses.

Take a look at the various ways you can use VR to improve your sales and make real estate a delight.

1.    Guided Virtual Visits

This is a lot more like a promotional video but it is shot and produced in 360 degrees. It is an amazing method for existing properties. Real estate agents will also be able to show properties still under construction. It is possible to produce a virtual visit of an incomplete building by mixing several types of mediums in the virtual experience. By producing a high-quality 3D version of, say the bedroom, a buyer can have a clearer idea of how their future bedroom will look when it is completed. 

2.    Interactive Virtual Visits

In the spirit of improving virtual visits, this experience can be even more interactive when movement is determined by the user. It is a mind-blowing experience for potential buyers. With almost everyone having heard of VR but yet to try it, this will be life-changing. This experience will have to be accommodated in a mobile app.

This experience is caused by hotspots that will appear in your field of vision whenever you shift your attention from one side to another. If you keep your sight on the hotspot, you will be transported to the hotspot’s location enabling you to virtually walk through the property at your own speed.

3.    Virtual commerce

Virtual commerce combines the interactive visit explained above and the ability to make custom adjustments to the home. It works just like e-commerce. This is totally amazing since you get to play with designs. 

To use VR you do not need complicated computers and materials like motion sensors. VR technology has made giant steps in the past year and its future is expected to be mobile, through apps.  If your real estate agency has a mobile app then integrating VR is super easy. 

VR technology is a great opportunity for people in real estate. It does not cost an arm and a leg; it is easily incorporated in existing platforms. It is a perfect way to improve your sales efficiency with no need for additional staff.

VR Goldmine

Virtual Reality technology is a gold mine. Giant corporations like Apple and Google are committing a lot of resources to it. Facebook bought Oculus Rift, a Virtual Reality star and even built a research lab named Area 404 to partially work on Virtual Reality.

Steve Cuffari, a top content marketing manager, said that investing into VR is a wise decision. He added that VR is no longer for gamers alone. It is now possible to virtually house shop, go on vacations or attend concerts and classes.

How can you take advantage of this amazing technology and use it to earn money? 

1.    Create Your Own Virtual Reality Game

The mere thought of creating a video game for VR using your own code may sound overwhelming. However, some corporations such as Steam are making it simple. Stephen R. Foster, a game creator and Multi-Dimensional Games CEO, said that Steam allows you to build your own VR game and earn from it. He added that their secret is allowing developers to utilize HTML, JavaScript, and CSS (the Big Three front-end technologies). Their aim is making the creation of VR content almost as easy as creating a website.

2.    Start a Blog on VR

Who said that you have to be a tech expert to earn revenue off VR? All you need to do is read a lot of content about VR and start blogging. Talk about various VR experiences, platforms and apps. As your blog grows, you can earn from sponsorships and Google ad revenue.

3.    Sell VR Tickets to Your Concerts

If you have a band that is ‘not there’ yet consider VR, it might help. VR technology is able to create virtual front-row concert seats from anywhere. Kore Asian Media, a Los Angeles based company, is banking on this. They are aiming at a world in which sold-out concerts will have unlimited –front-row seat tickets. 

4.    Build VR Real Estate

For graphic designers, it is possible to get hired by a boutique VR corporation to build real estate in their games. A Talented VR designer can come up with a unique architecture style, virtually build it and maybe sell the templates to VR content creators. 

5.    Use VR to Sell ‘Real’ Real Estate 

Real estate agents now have the luxury of showing houses without physical showings. Buyers are able to see as many houses as they want while saving time. A company like WalkThrough creates VR tours for agents to show listed properties to potential buyers. 

This technology also makes it possible to virtually test drive a boat or a car.

6.    Become a VR Professor

Imagine teaching a university or college in another country from the comfort of your home. With VR an independent teacher or tutor can create an informative course and teach it anywhere. Design, engineering, and other technical courses can now be taught digitally. 

VR is one of the best things that ever happened to the world. And being able to earn from it is even better. Almost all these methods do not even require you to leave your home. Pick the one that suits you and start earning.

Virtual Reality Apps

Does VR technology interest you? Virtual Reality is turning everything around. It is not going to be just about interacting with content and its consumption but its creation is also going to make up a big part of VR. Many people would like to join the VR excitement but are not sure where to start. If that is you, don’t worry.

Several apps have already been created to help people get involved in VR by use of 360-degree picture and videos. 360-degree content may not be exactly similar to VR technology but the capability to capture a whole environment is a part of it. 

So what are some of the apps that enable a 360-degree capture?

Photo Sphere is developed by Google and is tied into the Street View app. It enables you to take 360-degree pictures by taking photos with the assistance of its on-screen guide. It rotates and captures everything around, then automatically stitches it together. You can then upload the sphere to Google Maps if you like.

This app also allows you to view spheres from all over the world either in Google Cardboard or on your phone. 

360 Panorama is quite easy. It uses the iPhone camera to stitch photos together and create a 360-degree effect. It can’t get any simpler, can it? Even better, you can find a user testimonial from Chamillionaire on the iTunes store page. It does not match Photo Sphere’s flashy and beautiful design. However, it allows you to view your pictures in different formats, does not need several rotations, is very quick and gives you more sharing options.

Don’t confuse Panorama 360 with Panorama 360 above. This app, available on Google Play stitches photos together to form a 360-degree image. It also comes with added features such as Google Cardboard compatibility, sharing, filters and effects. And how amazing is it that all these features are free?

Obviously, creating a 360-degree video is not as easy as stitching photos together. So if videos are your thing you might want to try the Splash app. It simplifies everything for you. It allows you to view videos in Google Cardboard and has social network integration to enable sharing. 

Your initial videos may be far from perfect since it entails weaving together several videos to create a 360-degree effect. With enough practice you will be able to start making great videos.

How awesome is it that you can get in the game of VR with your phone? With VR technology taking over very fast, it is good to start familiarizing yourself with it. How else can you easily do this if not with your phone? With most of these apps being free, you have no excuse to be left out. Depending on the phone you are using, download any of these amazing apps and join the VR world.

VR Business Opportunities

Did you always wish to be your own boss? Does new technology excite you? If the answer to both questions is yes, then you definitely know about VR and at one point or another, you have considered starting a VR business. Well, you can make money selling VR experiences. 

Virtual reality is an artificial environment and it does not restrict your imagination. You also don’t need heavy-duty computers or other complex machines; a phone/computer and VR headset are enough. Virtual reality technology lets you experience a new reality and here is why you should create a VR business.

To begin with, VR is every marketer’s dream. What could be better than letting people have a taste of your product or experience?

Secondly, VR is advancing rapidly and it does not require a genius to create a business from it. 360-degree cameras are available at an affordable price and you can create amazing experiences using Viar360. 

Finally, giant companies already tested VR and the outcomes are encouraging. 

If you have saved a little money and you are wondering what to do, why don’t you open a VR café or pub? Fill it with VR glasses and tips about VR apps. Purchase branded Google cardboard glasses which are compatible with mobile phones to allow everyone to enjoy the apps. You may later upgrade to offering glasses like HTC Vive or Oculus.

You can serve coffee and other beverages during the day and offer advice on the best VR apps. At night, you can make your café a concert venue where your customers can enjoy a 360-degree view.

There are like a gazillion marketing agencies already and you may be thinking, “Another one?” But this is different. Create one that is wholly based on VR. Virtual reality presents a whole new way of introducing products. Clients will be able to experience services and products first hand from real estate to e-commerce to travel agencies.

Most companies have no idea how a perfect VR campaign is created. Learn all you can about it and do it for them. You can check out some of the inspiring examples featured in Forbes. 

Taking 360-degree photos has been simplified and the cameras are also much cheaper now. Simple tools to help you process the perfect 360-degree photos and videos are being created every day. For instance, the Viar360 is readily available.

Dating agencies can enable users to upload 360view photos of their best views or video stories. You can also offer them complimentary Google cardboard glasses to perfect their experience. 

VR really simplifies the real estate industry. With the ability to show a house from your home or office, you get to show more homes in a shorter time and attend to more potential buyers. Buyers are also able to virtually walk through properties and compare several houses without having to leave their home.

The VR world is full of opportunities. Opening a VR business is not rocket science anymore. You just need a little money to start you off. Choose the one that works for you and enjoy the experience.  

AR and VR in Education

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality have taken the technology world by storm. But now AR and VR are not only being used for gaming. Several companies have started exploring their application in education. This is a really big step. We retain 90% of what we do and see. However, when it comes to education this has been a challenge—it’s hard to retain this much when all of it is just read from the textbook instead of a lively experience.

With virtual reality, learning is more interesting and fun. Students are able to retain more of what they learn. A number of companies have started exploring this innovation and the results so far are quite amazing.

Immersive VR Education developed a VR app called Lecture VR. It adds special effects, previously impossible to achieve in a traditional lecture hall setting, by simulating environments in the lecture hall through virtual reality technology.    Lecturers teach with videos, images and immersive experiences which make the lecture animated. When the teacher is lecturing, they are able to transform the hall into the inside of the shuttle spaceship, which is what the experience is about. In addition, this type of learning enables professors and students to login remotely in from practically anywhere, increasing the accessibility of education around the globe.

Unimersity is a VR learning platform that releases educational content monthly. This app provides more individualized and immersive content. It allows for three VR educational experiences which are; Anatomy VR, learning about Stonehenge in VR and exploring the International Space Station.  The contents of this app are quite diversified and they show that there is a very wide range of potential improvement that VR can bring to education. Unimersity’s potential is unlimited and they are dedicated to enhancing education through VR.

Not to be left behind, Google developed an exciting Expeditions Pioneer Program. The aim of the program is to have Google Expedition teams visit schools all over the world and provide teachers with everything they require to take students on a tour anywhere. The team will help the teachers set up and utilize the technology. This app is really cool as it enables the teachers to take their students on a field trip wherever they like. The students are able to be in the same place with their teacher and see the same things.  They can learn about coral reefs by actually going to an underwater coral reef. This is amazing as teachers can take their student to places they may not have been able to take them under ordinary circumstances.

Alchemy VR has built immersive educational experiences in amazing ways. With Alchemy, the experiences will be as though a narrative is being told to the user. They get to experience a ton of different things like visiting the Great Barrier Reef. Alchemy VR has partnered with other corporations to enhance their contents. Their partners include the Australian Museum in Sydney, Google Expeditions, and the Natural History Museum in London, Sony, Samsung, and HTC. Alchemy VR has developed some projects for Google Expeditions and it is expected to release experiences on the human body and pyramids very soon.

Discovery has been the ultimate story-teller for more than 30 years and is now venturing into the new era with their great Discovery app. If you love Discovery, you will love the Discovery app where you get to enjoy your favorite shows in an awesome experience. This is a great step for education in VR. Discovery has been a household name for years. So telling people they can watch Mythbursters and Deadliest Catch in VR is opening doors for more people to try the other applications of VR for education and expose more people to the VR technology.

zSpace is quite unique in their application of VR in education because of their technology. zSpace believes that VR should not be this anti-social world where everyone puts on their own headset. It has monitors which work the same as 3D movies. With zSpace, people use glasses which feel like 3D glasses. They make content come out of the screen and appear real. zSpace users use a pen to control stimulus. Content available in zSpace currently includes; medical training, general science, and math and STEM education experiences.

EON reality aims at changing how teachers use technology in class. Teachers and students are able to blend learning environments using the EON creator. It allows you to combine 3D content with sound effects, notes, PowerPoint, videos among others. With the EON Experience Portal students and teachers can upload their creations and view the work of other students and teachers. They can also meet virtually in the EON Coliseum making it convenient regardless of location. 

Schell Games believes in “games that change people for the better”. It is one of the largest games companies in the US. They have created countless games including Walter Bears VR—a VR puzzle game for kids who promote spatial recognitions and systems thinking. Engaging students, more so kids, in education has always been difficult and making education fun is the ultimate solution. The interesting games produced by Schell Games are both fun and educational and make kids interested in learning. 

Gamar attempts to modernize museum visits by use of AR. Gamar’s content provides for both supplemental information and interactive experiences which are then paired with various locations to improve museum visits. One of the major rules in any museum is, “do not touch anything”.  Gamar’s app enables the museum attendees to point their tablet or smartphone at a painting/exhibit in any of their paired locations and get information on the exhibit. Most kids find museum visits tedious. They’d rather play on their smartphones. Thanks to Gamar they can now combine the two making it more fun. Gamar makes AR and VR technologies even more useful by getting kids to interact with them. 

ThingLink enables the use of 3600 in classrooms. This technology makes it possible for students and teachers to annotate 360 photos with different interactive tags or links to various applications, third party tools or videos. With ThingLink, a student can view a 360 image of London and click on anything in the photo. One tag may be a place to record notes or write an assignment while another may be an enhancing video of something you are viewing. This kind of experience is all in one and avoids breakages in immersion which are bound to occur with AR and VR. Students do not have to take their eyes off the 360 photos just to take notes or do assignments and so the immersion does not break. ThingLink promotes the use of AR in classrooms because it appeals to both teachers and students alike. 

This is a beginner company that has its focus on VR in education but its Virtual Tee is already making headlines. A person wears the Virtual Tee and another person uses a tablet or smartphone to launch the Curiscope app and they can see the human body in an amazing way. This is an extraordinary way to use Augmented Reality. It also shows that Curiscope is a promising company in VR and AR.

Woofbert aims at combining VR and art. They aim at reshaping storytelling and revolutionizing our perception of culture and art. Woofbert enables an individual or class to take a virtual field trip. You can virtually explore a gallery just as you would in person. Only that it’s better since you can follow whichever path you like, zoom in on interesting paintings and even listen to audio on any exhibit. You do not need money to visit your favorite gallery and you can do it from your home. 

Nearpod is a company that integrates AR and VR technology into the traditional lesson plan for a livelier learning experience. It uses a PowerPoint –like presentation with 360 videos and photos. Students can answer questions by simply typing it into their tablet or laptop. Nearpod VR gives us a glimpse of the future standard classroom.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is the next big thing in education. The two technologies are suitable for both students and teachers. Teachers can now have the full attention of their students and they can engage them more. Students, on the other hand, are attracted to what is new and cool. AR and VR technologies are the newest thing and using them is pretty cool. Learning has been made more fun and interesting and the students can retain more of what they learn. Textbooks could never compete with this in a million years. With more companies involving themselves in AR and VR, these technologies are a step into the future and soon enough the standard classroom will be using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.

VR Now 

The VR industry is the only advanced technology industry not dominated by robots. The best thing about it is that it is not just for gamers and developers. Anyone, with or without tech experience can have a bite of the VR pie. 

This is indirect but you can still earn money from VR. Many VR companies are in need for marketers. They need to create awareness about their products especially online. The income from online marketing could be hefty with some companies ready to pay as much as $1000 for a single Instagram post. They only require you to advertise their VR products on your social media page, website or blog and you get a commission for every product bought through your link. Companies like Freefly VR offer a whole 15% of the price as commission. 

Editorial Content is for the true lovers of VR. It allows you to sink into VR without having to commit a lot of money or an entire career. Start an online tech platform or blog on VR. It will offer you space where you can build authority, a creative outlet, and even a little revenue. You can write about so many things such as the numerous VR products available since most new hobbyists never really know what to buy-you can swoop in with product reviews.  Also, report on what is happening in the VR world. Many people would like to know what is going on in the industry.

Investing is a quick way to jump into VR and probably the most common. Many graphic design firms, manufacturers and game developers starting out in the VR scene are always looking for funding through crowdsourcing and angel investments. Some computer companies such as Asus and Dell have also started manufacturing VR-ready (Oculus-ready) towers. Depending on the amount of money you are willing to risk you can find numerous options for investment in the VR world.

Common Cardboard Headsets are like weird tiny billboards. Many companies are now printing their own patterns and logos on these cardboard headsets to market their niche demographics. For instance, this year Coachella offered complimentary Coachella-themed headsets for their ticket-buyers to view pictures of the festival. Issuing custom-printed cardboard headsets when there is an event or with certain special purchases introduces crowds to VR while advertising your business. For printing and shipping of full-color custom headset, you can try a site like Unofficial Cardboard. 

YouTube is a great place to start especially now with its 360 video capabilities. YouTubers from around the globe can now enjoy VR by viewing videos that show not only what is in front of the camera but also the entire environment. They are now able to enjoy virtual home and city tours. You don’t even need VR headsets to experience VR with YouTube. 

VR is not only meant to be enjoyed by gamers, dreamers, and developers. You can also hop on the bandwagon by taking a shot at any of the above options.  You never know, you might end up living your dreams (virtual or otherwise).

Diving Into VR

Companies like Oculus Rift and Magic Leap spend tons of money in building their VR products.  VR startups are also raising millions through angel investors and venture capitalists. This leaves many people asking whether there are any opportunities in VR for small businesses and individuals with little or no capital. The answer is yes. There are several options for making money in VR without having to break the bank. 

VR pop-ups and theaters are mushrooming all around the globe attracting both customers and attention. You will need a significant amount of capital to buy equipment then find a suitable venue. When you have everything ready, set up a pop-up movie theater for people to come and enjoy 360 photos by great photographers and videos with VR headsets. Alternatively, you can create a try-out studio for them to experience HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. Charge them for the entertainment, and you will have revenue flowing.

These virtual reality headsets are quite expensive. HTC Vive units cost as much as $800 while Oculus Rift sells for $600. That said, Virtual reality headsets are less of a necessity and more of a luxury item. 

However, that is how it all began for personal computers and smartphones. With Virtual reality headsets costing an arm and a leg, you could buy a few of them and rent them out together with PCs. Your target audience will be those that are curious to try out VR but cannot afford the equipment. 

Google Cardboard is probably the most used VR viewer because compared to other more advanced headsets; it is far much cheaper. Nevertheless, it comes with several shortcomings; it needs an extra strap, it is not convenient to wear, and it does not last long. A great business venture would be to purchase the headsets wholesale and resell them at a retail store or Amazon for profit.

New and exciting topics sell. Virtual reality is new and stimulating. You can start a blog or YouTube channel and share experiences and information about the VR world and review the latest products, games, movies, exhibitions, latest technology or observe conferences. When you gain a significant following, you can monetize it.

Consider hosting a local meetup conference, lectures, fairs, events or any other VR-related social gathering. Once you have a sizable audience and your brand has grown, you can invite companies specializing in VR products and advertisers.

Companies are spending millions to create new things in the VR world and make the technology even more fascinating every day. But you can take advantage of what already exists and use it to create your own small VR business. Start a blog or YouTube channel, create arcade experiences, rent out VR headsets or just build a VR community—whatever works for you. Make money as you make other people happy by bringing VR closer to them.

Medical VR Is Changing Healthcare

How cool would it be to swim with sharks from a hospital bed or watch a complicated surgery from home? 

Well, medical VR is one field with numerous possibilities. Not only has it blown the minds of science-fiction lovers but it has also amazed doctors and clinical researchers. It may still be new, but it is already changing physicians’ work and the lives of patients. You can watch operations as though you are wielding the scalpel.

Would you like to see what nurses and doctors do in an operating room?

For once in history, a cancer surgeon, Shafi Ahmed, operated on a patient using a VR camera on 14th April 2016 at the Royal London Hospital. Everyone could take part in the operation in real time via the VR in OR app and Medical Realities website. Be it a concerned relative, a potential medical student or a curious journalist. They were able to follow with two 360 cameras the proceedings of the cancerous tissue removal from the patient’s bowel. 

Virtual reality will enhance learning experiences in medicine. Traditionally, few medical students could only peek over the surgeon’s shoulder to view an operation. With VR, operations can be streamed globally enabling more students to be in ORs virtually.

Most patients just lay on hospital beds counting the days until they are released. They miss their friends and family, and some are always worried about their condition. Time just seems to stop with nothing to do. A medical team at the Cedars-Sinai hospital surprised their patients by bringing virtual worlds to them. This experience significantly minimized the pain and stress levels among the patients. They were able to get out of the hospital and visit anywhere virtually they liked.

With reduced stress and pain levels, patients spend less time in the wards substantially reducing the amount of resources used.

Imagine the stress and mental burden a hospital experience can cause to a child. All they want is to be at home with their family and friends. VR makes all that possible through virtual glasses and a smartphone. A Dutch company created VisitU which allows the children to be virtually at home, at a football game or enjoy a birthday party.

 “Alfred Labs”, created by Embodied Labs, enables young medical students to experience aging firsthand. Each of them can be the hypothetical Alfred for a few minutes. They can understand how a 74-year-old with audio-visual impairments feels.  

Patients who survive a traumatic brain injury or stroke are pressed for time. They should start rehabilitation as soon as possible to increase the chance to recover their lost functions. 

Swiss Mindmaze created MindMotionPro to help patients exercise by moving their fingers or lifting their hands through VR. The app doesn’t perform the real function, but it increases motivation, attention, and engagement. Repetitive movements are engaging with VR. The mental effort required enables the traumatized nervous system to recover in a shorter time.

These are amazing ways to utilize VR. Kids stuck in wards can now have a life outside the wards. Young medical practitioners can know how it feels to be old hence relate better with more elderly patients. VR is bringing a much-anticipated change in this delicate field.

VR Golden Era

The VR era is just around the corner. When you see tech giants like Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft investing billions in VR, then you know it’s big, and it will get even bigger. Tech experts have confirmed that the VR revolution will surpass the mobile phone advent. The first company to build a VR product that appeals to the masses will achieve great victory—in a huge way.

How is this important to designers? The market that has been their lifeline is almost changing to a new model. Touch, depth, emotion, and sound will all be incorporated into the VR experience, taking 2D screens off the market. 

You can only learn about virtual reality design in virtual reality. You cannot just be an observer. You have to participate and even be able to affect the outcome. So you first need to experience VR and understand its mechanics. 

You can start with Google Cardboard if you are a newbie. It is not expensive, and it is compatible with any smartphone. If you want the best experience and you can afford it then HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are perfect for you—you can interact with the virtual environment, and they come with natural hand controllers. For apps, Google Earth VR and Tilt Brush will do. 

Designing for rectangles is so natural since most viewing devices are rectangular. However, in 3600 spaces your environment is limitless. Think about what you want to create. Is it an educational app or an interactive movie? 

Designing a VR experience is more like creating a mobile product or website. It requires conceptual flows, personas, interaction models, and wireframes. As you memorize your design ideas, keep in mind the following; 

•    How or where do people start? What guides them without crushing them? 

•    Don’t just expect users to know where to go and what to do automatically. Design your software for the user. Make the familiarization slow and progressive and include visual clues and guidance. 

Intuitive User Interfaces will make VR appealing to the masses. Consider the patterns that we have grown accustomed to like pinching to zoom, long tapping and swiping. VR should provide for them as well. New ones may come along, but for now, these could do. 

1.    Pencil and Paper

Put your ideas on paper. It is cheap and fast, and it is easier done on paper than with software. 

2.    Software

You could start with the tools you are familiar with like Sketch or use the opportunity to learn new ones. The engine you will use determines this. For 3D games, Unreal Engine or Unity is excellent. Also,  for more elaborate creations use Maya and Cinema 4D. 

The three top frameworks for VR designs include;

•    Daydream VR for midrange VR. It is only compatible with mobile phones.

•    Unreal SDK/Unity VR for high-end headsets like HTC Vive, Hololens (AR) and Oculus Rift.

Mozilla A-frame for web VR – It is compatible with Samsung Gear, Google Cardboard and Oculus Rift. 

You need to understand your users and whatever may affect them as they experience VR. 

Sometimes, prolonged use of VR headset could cause nausea or fatigue. VR is confusing to the brain since your environment is moving, but your body is stationary. If your app has a lot of movement like jumping and accelerating, then your users must control it, or it will make them sick. 

Even in VR, there are issues like agoraphobia, vertigo, and claustrophobia. Understand and consider scale when designing for VR. Don’t create a tiny space because users may get claustrophobic and in a huge one they may get lost. Use non-spatial methods like light and audio to guide your users.

Before designing for VR, learn and understand all the necessary comfortable range of motion zones. Poor posture can cause irreversible damage to a user’s neck and spine. Let interaction with your VR device be as intuitive and as natural as possible.  In VR you can’t see your hands. Therefore, you have to make hand controllers fit for blind mode use.

The sound is a crucial part of VR since it does not have tactile feedback.  When users touch things, sound could be used to give feedback.  Designing for VR is very exciting, and your design could make headlines. This is an excellent opportunity to explore your full potential in designing.

AR marketing Ideas

Many brands are now using AR Marketing to enhance customer experience, increase sales and heighten awareness among other purposes. About five years ago this was just a gimmick, but now there are hundreds of ways to implement AR. 

Video advertisement is very effective for brands, and it has a higher retention. This is the reason why YouTube attracts a lot of traffic and there is a high TV advertising rate. Video advertising is growing faster than almost every other platform, and it is expected to continue growing. 

Take advantage of this and upgrade your print advertisement with AR videos. Viewers will instantly see your brand videos without having to search for them. Statistically, 73% of consumers buy a product after watching the video. 

Images are more effective and have a higher retention than text. AR extends linked pictures to allow users to have a more enhanced experience. It could be an image with a link to buying the product, booking the product or just more insight. You should also consider optimizing your images to enhance understanding of the product. 

Social media is a great platform to share AR experiences directly with friends. It ensures a personal engagement with your audience, improves brand awareness, and reach. You can start an AR campaign where maybe people can win a prize if they share their selfies on social media. When a friend shares a post or image, it draws attention to the brand. McDonald’s and Starbucks have used AR before through Christmas campaigns. 

You may always remember an advertisement that you see on the road, but you will hardly remember the business’s number. With AR, a user can just scan an advert and press a button that calls the business right away. So while designing your advert, remember to add a “call us” button using AR.

When your business is situated in an area with similar firms, your clients could get confused. It would be quite convenient to have your customers being led straight to your store. It is simple since most phones now have Google Maps. 

Your digital ad should be able to capture leads on phone browsers. Leadpages make it possible for marketers to put up campaigns like register to claim promos, customer feedback, and sign up for early bookings and register to download. 

Just ensure that it aligns with your print designs, add features and interact with AR, which will make it convert better. Also, remember to keep it as simple as possible.

Enhancement with a 3600 View of the Product is a significant advancement in the real estate industry. Marketers can now add a 3600 view of their products on pamphlets, brochures, posters and print ads, thanks to AR 360. The buyers can see the property as if they are there.

3D images take marketing a step forward. When added to overlaying a print ad, it grabs a customer’s attention and engages them more. 

AR bridges the gap between online and offline. It opens doors for unlimited possibilities for market campaigns. When an advert is locked with a coupon, it makes it seem like a game, and users feel as though they are hunting for adverts. This encourages them to keep hunting hoping to find more coupons. Magazine print ads are more compatible with this idea. 

E-commerce is big. Hence, it is unwise to create an ad without a “buy” button that redirects users to your advertiser’s pages, use AR to add a “buy” option so that users can easily scan a product and move on to the shopping cart. AR makes it simple for you, so take advantage of it.

Making Money in Augmented Reality

Augmented reality technology lays digital information and images over a real-life environment when they are viewed on a mobile device. It may sound new to you, but the technology has been there for over half a century. Morton Heilig, a cinematographer, invented the 3-D machine in 1962 which combined film with sensory stimuli creating an immersive environment. In the ‘90s Tom Caudell, a researcher, came up with the name “augmented reality” to refer to the graphical overlays that were used by technicians in the Boeing aircraft.

 The technology was refined to be used on smart devices in 2016 and advertiser interest to reach mobile consumers keeps growing. The interest to reach consumers digitally proves augmented reality useful in interaction and attraction of customers.

Augmented reality incorporates 3-D digital images into real world locations. Companies that specialize in digital marketing maintain that businesses will be more interested in adding promotions and advertisements in public spaces during events. A few more examples of AR promotional images are life-sized virtual furniture, cars, and electronics.

Companies can reach customers by using AR to enable them to view products more closely without going to the store. IKEA, a furniture retailer, released an app in addition to its print catalog. As a buyer browses the catalog they can look at 3-D photos of the furniture. Virtual images are also available to allow them to see whether an individual piece can fit in their space. 

With AR some online stores don’t even need to have a physical retail space. Shoppers can just have a look at the store’s virtual image and even make their orders by tapping their phone screens.

Search engine results combined with maps may help someone find products in their local area. However, most people cannot read maps correctly. Augmented reality apps are replacing the use of maps by allowing people to find what they need by imagery of their environment in real time. 

Companies are always competing for advertising space. AR eliminates this problem because companies can show virtual banners in a real-time environment. Graphically overlaying the location of a business offering discounts and coupons might grab a potential buyer’s attention. 

Augmented Reality has been in existence for a very long time, only now it is more advanced. With the improvements, anyone can make money from it with a small amount of capital.  With the fantastic and convenient methods of advertising, you don’t need to compete for billboard space anymore.

Virtual Reality and Therapists

Recently, Dawn Jewell, a psychologist in Colorado, treated a patient that was haunted by a car accident. The patient developed severe anxiety over the intersection where the accident occurred and was unable to drive on that route. 

Dr Jewell used a method referred to as exposure therapy; they revisited the cross streets as the doctor provided emotional guidance. Amazingly, they did not have to visit the site physically; they used virtual reality. 

Dr. Jewell and a few other psychologists are testing a new service called Limbix from a Silicon Valley start-up. Limbix promotes exposure therapy via Daydream View, a Google headset compatible with a smartphone. This exposure makes patients feel safe. A patient can visit a place together with the doctor and explain what they feel or what they are thinking. 

This service works together with Google Street View to recreate outdoor locations through the massive online database of photos. These pictures show panoramic scenes of places all over the world. Dr. Jewell treated another patient that developed anxiety after being hurt by someone outside a local building by use of the virtual street scenes. 

Not only does this service cure anxiety, but it also helps patients confront their fears and addictions. A patient with a phobia for heights can be virtually taken to the top of a skyscraper while another patient struggling with alcohol addiction can visit a virtual bar to address the addiction. 

Limbix is barely a year old. The software and hardware being used are still in its infancy stages. However, Limbix is built on two decades of in-depth research and clinical trials that involved exposure therapy and virtual reality. 

VR headsets like Facebook Oculus and Google are still trying to engage their audience and market in the gaming world. Nevertheless, medical and technology experts are confident this technology will greatly benefit psychology. 

Even clinical trials conducted in the 1990s showed that VR could go a long way in treating post-traumatic disorders and phobias among other conditions. While traditionally treating these conditions involved having patients imagine themselves facing fear, VR lets them virtually experience the fear. 

VR has been very effective in helping veterans deal with post-traumatic stress disorders. PTSD is a malfunction of avoidance. People do not want to relive the memories. VR helps the patients engage emotionally which makes it harder for them to avoid the memories. 

For now, Limbix is offering this service to therapists for free, but it plans to sell more advanced equipment sometime in the future. 

Virtual reality gets interesting by the day. This is a big step for therapists because they revive memories and visit scenes together with their patients. Veterans with PTSD do not have to face the traumatic memories on their own; neither do they have to avoid them. So many individuals now have the opportunity to confront and overcome their fears safely. However, this technology needs to be handled carefully, and experts recommend that trained psychologists must guide the patients as they use VR to face their fears.

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