Becoming the hero in a video game, experiencing the fear of heights, taking a roller coaster ride from the sofa…With Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR) helmet, these are now all possible! But beyond a fantasy come true for individuals, Virtual Reality has become a business tool which is transforming the habits and ways of people in many sectors.
Many studies devoted to virtual and augmented reality around the world reveal that they will have the greatest growth potential in B2B (Business to Business) by 2017, even more than B2C (Business to Consumer). It is even the sectors of industry and retail that should benefit the most from these technological advances. Culture is not left out with the possibilities of developing, for example, virtual immersive tours of museums. Thinking about their potentials for the health, training or transportation sectors… Here are some examples of the potential of this new tool.
Industry: facilitate remote guidance
The equipment maintenance in industries represents major resources for businesses in terms of time and cost. With Augmented Reality, remote guidance systems are set up, and engineers can help technicians who equipped with headsets, tablets or simple smartphones by visualizing their environment and the equipment they are working on to provide remote solutions according to the problem.
A major player of these technologies can be found in the energy sector. For example, a tag was presented on the installations. The technician can access all the updated information of the machine (e.g., technical documentation, plans, safety information, lists of operations to be performed, etc.) by scanning this tag through an Augmented Reality interface, all for an easier and rapid response.
Another example, in the electrical network sector, a French company has developed a device called OMERE that combines Augmented Reality with GPS location. This tool automatically recognizes the installation to be repaired and accesses all associated technical data through the tablet camera. It also has a thermographic camera and diagnostic aid to facilitate troubleshooting on the network.
Sale: visualize a future purchase without even leaving home
The real estate tours sometimes like rat race. How about to enable the tours through Virtual Reality? Thanks to the increasingly optimal quality of photographic images, the agencies will soon be able to visit their properties through a simple helmet, which can offer customers a clear idea of the conditions of the properties through Virtual Reality, and to retain customers with real interest to further visit the real conditions.
The same applications can benefit retail as well. For example, online retailers can create their own virtual showroom, and customers will try their products in the aisles of a fictional store, watching a precise image of a garment or a piece of furniture before ordering it.
Trainings: for surgeons and crane operators
Whatever the field of activity, Virtual Reality offers infinite possibilities in terms of training. This is particularly true in the health sector. There are already Virtual Reality applications that allow dentists to train or future doctors to improve their knowledge of human anatomy. Recently, this technology is further advanced to allow rendering a surgical operation in 3D from the surgeon point of view, which offers a way for the interns to observe and memorize all the gestures to be practiced.
Another training application can be found in the field of construction. For example, a Virtual Reality program can be developed for the training of crane operators, and there is no more need to learn at 20 meters above the ground. With helmets, multiple trainees can be trained at the same time, whereas conventional training in a crane allows one person to be trained at a time.
Design and architecture: visualizing the imagination
For designers or architects, one of the challenges is to be able to physically imagine what their creation will look like. With Virtual Reality, this problem no longer arises. It will be possible to see the exterior and interior of a car, an object or a building in its environment, even before its realization. A large automotive brand, for example, uses 3D immersion in Virtual Reality to simulate its models and visualize the passenger compartment by computer, before proceeding to prototype manufacture, and to understand what to improve for the product if needed at a lower cost.