Virtual reality is entering the marketplace at a rapid pace, with technological improvements driving down cost and increasing quality. The barricades to entering VR are not as monumentally expensive or difficult as one might think.
Headsets, the wearable hardware you use to interact with VR, can be several hundred dollars, or just $15, for the Google Cardboard, an option that allows anyone with a smartphone the ability to try VR. With such an easy entry point for customers, creating custom content is something companies should consider for a wide range of applications.
PIXO Group first began to experiment with creating virtual reality content during the initial development kit phase of Oculus Rift, one of the major VR headsets. As VR has become more sophisticated over the last few years, so did the possibilities for problem solving. It can be a cost-effective way to fill a market need, as we were able to do for the United States Navy.
The Navy conducted underwater training with actual submersible objects in pools that were expensive to fabricate and ship. VR is an ideal solution. By eliminating the costs associated with the physical training, the digital version delivered the same experience at a lower price point, with more location flexibility and greater participant efficacy. Because VR is an active medium, rather than a passive one, it requires engagement to function. It commands your attention and asks you to interact and make choices, disrupting the traditional text or video trainings.
Training is just one of the myriad of applications for VR. It is especially valuable in environments where the work can be dangerous, like military operations, or risky, like medicine. But VR is ideal for patients as well; it can transport them out of the hospital room and into a limitless amount of experiences, so they can have fun and relieve stress, facilitating the recovery process.
VR is also a perfect marriage with sales and marketing. Products that are still in concept stages, or large-scale projects like buildings, can be viewed interactively in VR before the build is complete. Imagine taking a car for a test drive that isn’t yet on the market. Previsualization is a way to show rather than tell in sales meetings, especially when the pitch is around an emergent technology that introduces a new concept.
VR is a huge draw at expos, trade shows and events. When PIXO Group demos our VR experiences, they create instant audience engagement and excitement. It works wonders for our clients, too, like the night sky experience for OnStar at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Michigan is a prime location to bring VR into mechanical and commercial applications. Detroit is such an industrial hub, with many technically skilled workers that require advanced training, and manufacturing prototypes continually under production. It would be an oversight not to pursue this avenue, in deference to entertainment products which is currently the majority of VR creative on the market.
Here at PIXO Group, we thirst to find new ways VR can be brought to both B2B and B2C businesses. The potential is still unfolding, but ultimately, VR is for everybody that has a story to tell and wants to tell it in a unique way. VR brings ideas, tech and people together in a way other devices cannot. It’s a transformative technology, and one we can’t wait to further develop.
Vinh Chu is the Technology Director of PIXO Group. Chu graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in Computer Science in 2000. He worked for Midway Games for nine years, where he was credited on titles such as NFL Blitz and NBA Ballers, before coming to PIXO Group in 2010. He enjoys playing games, especially Street Fighter, and is known for his stylish collection of hoodies.