Time of Virtual and Augmented Reality. Technological VR / AR / 3D solutions for business.
VR / AR may seem like a futuristic technology to some people, but for others, they have already become an integral part of the business or will be very soon. If you belong to the first category, you must understand the importance of VR / AR technology.
It is expected that by 2025 a third of global consumers will use virtual and augmented reality for work and daily life, which means a huge increase in the popularity of VR / AR technology.
The world of technology and business is evolving at a very fast pace, which means that we need to keep up with the times to stay at the top. Such technological trends like VR / AR can improve your business, increase brand awareness, explain the benefits of new products in a better way, and improve your customer experience.
There are many good reasons why you might want to use VR / AR technology in your business tomorrow.
Here are some main reasons and examples:
- Be aware of the trends in the VR / AR industry to be the first to gain a competitive advantage;
- Take your business to the next level with augmented and virtual reality technologies;
- Improve your marketing campaign by applying VR / AR technologies to get the best user experience for your customers;
- Implementing interesting stories to life using augmented and virtual reality technologies;
- Improve customer relationships by providing them with well-visualized options for interacting with your products and explaining their benefits;
- To transform the virtual 3D world into virtual reality, you need to make some small changes to the project on Unity;
- The penetration of VR / AR technologies into business opens up wide opportunities for creating new products, new technologies, and attracting new customers;
- By combining real and virtual environments, you can create mixed reality, which allows you to get a complete picture of a particular product or technology that does not yet exist in reality;
- A special IKEA AR application allows you to see how this or that set of furniture or interior item will look in your apartment;
- Augmented reality glasses HoloLens are the first wearable holographic computer for use in the work environment for the design and presentation of new products, machines, units, and technologies.
If, as Gartner predicts, VR / AR technologies can become mainstream in three or five years, then businesses need to start mastering virtual and augmented reality technologies now.
We use the latest technology and marketing tools VR / AR / MR to create new products, technologies, and sales growth.
Do you remember how the mobile industry suddenly grew? Now mobile phones are an integral part of our lives. VR, AR, and MR play a similar role in the business world. They appeared as a new technology miracle, and now are slowly pouring into our lives.
Goldman Sachs predicts that the virtual and augmented reality market will reach $ 80 billion by 2025. The numbers show how trendy VR / AR technologies are. Predictions also suggest that over 200 million VR headsets will be sold by the end of 2020.
This means VR is no longer a luxury, but just another tool to work with and another fun toy people want. Besides, Forbes reported that 75% of the world’s best-known brands already have VR or AR technology at their disposal. To stay in a competitive market, we need to keep up with industry trends.
Don’t you want to be in the middle of the whole mass of producers anymore? Do you want to give your customers something that will make you memorable and lift you above the crowd – make you a unique company?
Then VR / AR technologies can be a salvation for your business. Join big industries introducing virtual or augmented reality to your consumers.
Success requires progress, and progress requires constant investment. Take advantage of this unique opportunity while virtual reality is considered unusual and attracts people. It will be too late when it becomes business as usual.
VR, AR, and MR can be very powerful marketing tools. This is your chance to promote your business as innovative and progressive. The Greenlight VR survey shows that 71% of respondents said that sponsored VR experiences reflect a progressive brand.
This is an image that will contribute to your brand’s reputation. Once you bring VR / AR into your business, you can use this opportunity to create an amazing marketing campaign. Offer your customers more than a new product or service. Offer them a completely new product experience that will give them a different perspective on your business.
Virtual reality and augmented reality are closer than we think
For the third year in a row, all technology exhibitions have attracted endless queues to experience immersion of virtual reality (VR) for a few minutes, to experience solutions with augmented reality (AR). And it doesn’t matter exactly how: to fly in space, swim with fish, place a bet in a virtual casino, fight with someone, chat on a social network, or at least just watch a presentation about artificial intelligence.
Yes, virtual reality has become a hit for the fourth season. Guess what will happen in two or three years? That’s right, everyone will assume that if you are not doing virtual or augmented reality (AR) reality, then you are not in the market at all. But someone has to write all these applications! Hence, everyone needs developers. Where to get them?
The same story has recently happened with mobile devices – mobile app developers found themselves to be very demanded in the market when everyone suddenly needed to transfer their products to smartphones and tablets. And now even schoolchildren write code for all popular mobile platforms – iOS, Android, Windows.
Soon they will go to work in the company, and competition in the labor market in the field of mobile application development will increase considerably. Today, mobility as such has ceased to be an innovation and has moved into the category of “workhorses”, and the ability to program in a mobile environment is turning from a powerful competitive advantage of a developer in the labor market into a mandatory skill.
How can a programmer increase his value? As usual – to study and master new technologies that are appearing to have time to gain experience by the time they become mainstream.
How to get started with VR / AR immersion
For inspiration, you can rewatch The Matrix or reread the chapters on phantomatics from Stanislav Lem’s “The Sum of Technology”. For those who are especially advanced – to brush up on a course in higher mathematics, because underneath this whole VR story there are quite complex things: Euler angles, hypercomplex numbers, Hamilton’s quarternions, distortion calculations, and much more.
For those who prefer practice rather than theory, there is good news: modern development tools, such as Unity, allow you to create three-dimensional virtual worlds without tricky formulas, simply by manipulating objects and their properties.
You can take a look at the problems of creating virtual and augmented reality applications from the technical point of view using the free interactive online course Microsoft Virtual Academy. After finishing it, you will understand how virtual reality applications for Windows work, learn about the features of navigation and control in VR, as well as about highly effective programming techniques in DirectX / C ++.
Virtual reality basics
It turns out that this idea has been in the air since the 1940s, but there was no technical possibility to implement it. Gradually, technologies caught up – and there appeared high-quality virtual reality helmets and software environments for rapid application development.
Much of what once could exist only in the imagination of science fiction writers are, in principle, already realizable. Of course, we are still far from the “Matrix”: modern technologies can “deceive” only two of the five human senses – sight and hearing, while smell, touch, and taste still keep us in this world and help us recognize an illusion.
Still, a significant breakthrough in the creation of truly virtual reality has already taken place. And the future doesn’t have to be as bleak as it is shown in Hollywood movies: you have a chance to participate in its creation and make it more positive.
Windows games as a launching pad for VR learning
The first thing that comes to mind when we talk about virtual reality is computer games. Demand for full immersion games is growing as fast as hardware manufacturers can provide users with powerful and affordable devices. The most popular platform for gaming is still a Windows PC, and to switch to VR mode, it is enough to connect an Oculus helmet or similar to it.
Typically, VR headsets use 1080p high-definition graphics at 90Hz, which requires a powerful graphics card and processor. Today, the cost of a gaming kit that includes a PC, joysticks, and an Oculus Rift S is around $ 2,000, which is quite expensive for the mass market, but there is a downward trend nevertheless.
Windows 10 makes it easy to connect and set up virtual reality for incredible gaming and video travel experience. Now Windows 10 is installed on more than 1.2 billion computers, which means there are enough people who want to play games with VR / AR, so it makes sense to invest in the development of VR toys.
At the end of last year, there were already 400 thousand registered users of the Oculus Developer Center, and well-known providers are already engaged in the creation of VR content: Microsoft (Minecraft), Netflix, 20th Century Fox, CNN, and many others.
The best VR / AR games of 2020.
When the usual video game experience is no longer enough, it’s time to switch to VR gaming. The effect of being completely immersed in a fantastic fictional world can hardly be compared with anything. Meet the best VR games of 2020!
Fans have been waiting for a new sequel to Half-Life, but Valve is in no rush to release an official sequel to Half-Life. Instead, they presented a full-fledged intermediate project exclusively for the VR platform. Already, the game has prompted gamers to purchase helmets and full-fledged VR sets. For example, there is a shortage of Valve Index, a VR kit for Half-Life: Alyx will be given away completely free in the US and Canada.
The plot of the game tells about the events that happened to Alix Vance in the interval between the first and second Half-Life. After 13 years of silence, you can once again immerse yourself in the world of the classic Half-Life game. However, not everything is so simple, the main character has changed, and with him the realities.
After all, you will find yourself in City 17 before Gordon Freeman, the protagonist of the original half, appeared there. We will find out how the heroine ended up in City 17, what she had to go through to survive, and how she managed to rescue Gordon, who found himself in a desperate situation at the beginning of Half-Life 2
The advantage of this game is that it is available on different platforms, and is not limited to one, like PSVR exclusives. And the game will certainly not leave fans of shooters and fans of Half-Life, you can expect many references to the original and addictive gameplay that is quite impressive even for those who are already experienced with different VR releases.
The developers used all possible advantages of the system to create the most realistic and exciting game.
Marvel’s Iron Man VR
Although everyone in the Avengers universe has long since everyone said goodbye to Tony Stark, his personality is too interesting for fans to forget about it forever. Therefore, Iron Man will continue to fight the villains in the virtual worlds. For example, in an exclusive action game.
In this game, anyone can become Iron Man, pull on a suit, and smash a bunch of enemies with repulsor devices controlled by PlayStation Move controllers. In addition to epic flights after opponents, you can visit Tony Stark’s garage and pump a suit there, equipping it with additional weapons, gadgets, armor, etc.
The player has the opportunity to imagine himself as the legendary Iron Man, roam the heavens, shoot from repulsors, and fight supervillains.
According to the promised plot, Tony Stark will fight against the villainous hacker Ghost, and as the story progresses, other friends and enemies of Iron Man will appear in the game. So, if you are fond of the world of comics and superheroes, the dream of looking at the world through the Iron Man helmet, shoot from repulsor guns, and fly, avoiding obstacles, then this game is for you.
Medal of Honor: Above & Beyond
After the failed Medal of Honor: Warfighter, it was decided to freeze all work on the development of the legendary series. The game’s bias towards realism and documentarism did not allow it to compete with the more dynamic Call of Duty and Battlefield.
Now they are trying to revive the series on a platform where it has practically no competitors., a new interpretation of the Second World War will be released for VR, where the character will destroy the Nazis, help the resistance, get into spectacular troubles in the air, on land and the water. It is noteworthy that the developers talked to the veterans and recorded their stories.
They also conducted 360-degree footage to document the most iconic locations of the largest of wars. There are no other details yet, all details are kept in the strictest confidence. Unless there is information about a network mode.
The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners
An action-adventure that brings together the most interesting elements of other games in The Walking Dead universe. We will chop the bloodthirsty dead into pieces and shoot them with large-caliber weapons, explore New Orleans for survivors and useful resources, and make important decisions that will affect the fate of others.
There will be no thoughtless murders, although everything disposes of this. Each shot will need to be done wisely, realizing the consequences it will lead to. Lack of food, ammo, traps with dozens of zombies – this VR adventure should be unforgettable!
No Man’s Sky VR (PSVR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive)
This game is already known to fans, but now it can be enjoyed in virtual reality, completely immersed in an alien world. You can go down to the planet’s surface or watch the scenery from the safety of your ship. The galaxy of the game is huge and it will take a long time before you explore it. As time passes, you can improve your transport, which will make it possible to travel for longer distances.
Separate cons are game updates. The VR version itself has become one of them, but that’s not all. Many are attracted by the possibility of multiplayer games, managing their fleet, and much more. So do not miss the chance and stay tuned for updates that appear regularly. The game is available on multiple platforms and will impress fans of science fiction and space travel.
Sniper Elite VR
The video game Sniper Elite is also evolving towards interactive VR adventures. In the upcoming game, we will travel to Italy during WWII and help the local resistance by shooting critical Fritz with a sniper rifle.
It has already been announced that there will be a full-fledged storyline campaign, during which we will move through the atmospheric levels, using fast teleportation, so as not to waste time returning to the base.
They will add a classic X-ray camera for the series, thanks to which it will be possible to visually see the harm inflicted on opponents. And, of course, the weapon will be historically accurate – it will be possible to examine it, noticing the smallest details.
Beat Saber (Oculus Rift, PSVR, HTC Vive)
Probably almost everyone who is more or less interested in games has already heard of Beat Saber. The game is based on the rhythm to which the player has to break blocks with a sword.
So Beat Saber not only immerses you in a virtual neon world but also forces you to make physical efforts. We can say that this is both an arcade and a workout in one.
If you’ve ever played Guitar Hero or Rock Band, then the system is almost the same, plus everything happens to the music. The music library in the game is pre-programmed, in total it includes 10 tracks. But, if you try, the player on the PC can use a special editor that will allow you to add additional tracks, even with custom backlighting.
Beat Saber gained popularity almost immediately after its release. Seemingly simple and with simple mechanics, it turned out to be very exciting and addictive, so many players spent many hours cutting virtual blocks with a virtual lightsaber. If the genre suits your taste, then Beat Saber will not disappoint you. Well, we will move on to more serious releases.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR (Oculus Rift, PS VR, HTC Vive)
Skyrim is a legendary game, and while we have not yet got the release of the new version, nothing prevents us from plunging into the amazing fantasy world of dragons, giants, Khajiits, and various elves in virtual reality.
It’s one of the few VR games that offers an open world, plus you get full left- and right-hand movement control. With real gestures, you can strike with a sword and defend yourself, use magic, and teleport. By the way, movement can be carried out not only by teleportation but also by walking using a room-scale (special play area).
Of course, the second option is not suitable for everyone, but only for those who have enough space.
Well, if you are not sure about the amount of content and stories available, there is nothing to worry about: all add-ons (Dawnguard, Hearthfire, etc.) are available for this version of Skyrim. So the game is complete and as fun as it was in the first months after release.
Lone Echo II
The Lone Echo adventure series will receive a long-awaited sequel. The first part was released in 2017 exclusively for Oculus – the sequel will also be exclusive. There are no plot details yet. The developers only noted that the campaign will continue immediately after the events of the first part. The gameplay will also remain virtually unchanged.
We will explore a space station by grabbing objects to move in zero gravity шn this game. Puzzles and tasks will be waiting everywhere and to solve them you will need to interact with objects and use gadgets like a laser cutter.
Doom VFR (PSVR, HTC Vive)
In 2016, the Doom game, which also has a fully justified classic status, received a well-deserved full platform update. Well, the VR version is an adaptation of that very update to a new format. It should be noted that the story and campaign differ from the PC version, plus the dynamics of the battle have been changed, taking into account the peculiarities of virtual reality.
Like Skyrim, the best way to play Doom at room-scale as you have to go up and down and turn around quickly to crush the monsters behind you.
Since the recent release of Doom: Eternal, this version is no longer the newest, but it is the only Doom available on VR. If your nerves are strong enough and your feelings cannot be defeated, this game will be an excellent choice. You just need to get used to the controllers and you may conquer dungeons and destroy enemies.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew (Oculus Rift, PSVR, HTC Vive)
Fans of the classic sci-fi series Star Trek no doubt dreamed of joining the Starfleet and possibly even taking command of their cruiser. Star Trek: Bridge Crew gives players just a perfect chance to do that, and you can play not only alone but with your friends as well.
So, here is the USS Aegis, a ship in the best traditions of the Star Trek franchise, and four roles. The captain issues command and monitor the targets, the combat officer controls the weapon, the navigator controls the course, and the engineer monitors the condition and repair of the ship.
You can play alone, with the help of three crew members, but you will get real pleasure in multiplayer mode when you can communicate with friends in voice chat and rely on your skills and abilities.
The team will have to explore space, defend against attacks, and avoid natural, in this case, space hazards.
The game implies an exclusively sedentary mode, you cannot even move on the bridge or ship while playing it. Instead, you’ll learn from your example how the Star Trek characters felt when they spent most of their time at their stations.
The Talos Principle VR (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive)
The first-person puzzle game primarily attracts players because it does not require a lot of space. The standard allocated space is enough for it, and the rest happens inside the game.
You have to connect beams of light to turn off protective fields and open your way forward, manipulate blocks to go further, and solve various puzzles while avoiding the drones that are looking for you. The Talos Principle is a game for the attentive and patient. Instead of focusing on the action, here you are encouraged to stop and think.
Interestingly, the game has a rather fascinating plot. You need to play as an android, which is led forward by a mystical voice. The character learns more and more about the Earth, the fate of humanity, and his place in this story. And things only get more complicated as the character receives more and more information from the NPCs in his way.
LA Noire: The VR Case Files (HTC Vive)
The game for PS3 and Xbox360 has been impressing users for a long time, and now they have the opportunity to play it in VR mode. Well, if you’ve never heard of this game, then the name itself already hints at a noir detective setting.
This time you have 7 tasks that require solving. As in the original version, you will have to collect clues, interrogate suspects, figure out if they are telling you the truth, and get to the bottom of the truth.
LA Noire is famous for its use of motion capture to give realism to the movements and facial expressions of characters. And it must be noted that thanks to this, even now, 7 years after the release of the original version, the game looks very presentable.
The only thing worth considering is the preferred space of at least 2×2 meters so that it is convenient for you to move in the game, pick up objects, approach, and look at the evidence when you are in the locations. Otherwise, there are no restrictions and you can safely enjoy the dark criminal side of Los Angeles.
After the Fall
A shooter with a futuristic setting, the action of which will take us to the near future. We will find ourselves in Los Angeles, destroyed by a terrible war. On your own or in co-op mode for up to four players, we will shoot terrible Snow Beasts and defeat huge bosses.
In addition to shooting, which will constitute most of the gameplay, it will also be possible to craft equipment, improving it, or completely changing it. It will also be possible to use a different fighting style, depending on the weapon chosen. It is noteworthy that after the end of the campaign, there will be a lot of other content like co-op missions and large-scale events.
A sandbox with a huge open world and non-linear gameplay set in a distant future. Players will be able to freely explore locations, interact with each other, earn money, and spend it at their discretion.
The developers added a common economic system and gave the characters complete freedom of action – it will be possible to replenish the account in legal, gray, and prohibited ways.
Even law enforcement officers will be able to arrest criminals or take bribes from them. Only smart and fearless gamers can live well in the Low-Fi world, and adherents of clear rules will have to grind.
It should be an adventure game with a focus on a futuristic plot. We plunge into a fantasy-futuristic world and begin to unravel its secrets, plunging deeper into its atmosphere. This is one of those projects where time is lost instantly, so ask your friends and family to remind you how many hours you’ve already spent in the VR headset.
Solving puzzles from Firmament can be done on personal computers, without the use of virtual reality helmets. But, of course, the impressions will be completely different.
Virtual reality helmets
The first virtual reality headset was made in 1968. “It was a large, hefty device that dropped from the ceiling on a suspension to your head and showed you some very conditional model of a virtual environment based on wireframes.”
Since then technology has developed significantly, but commercially successful VR headsets emerged as recently as 2018. Seeing the market potential vendors became more active. Now the choice of industrial VR headsets has increased, however, despite the explosive growth in supply, the price of VR devices for the average user is still biting.
But everyone can make a helmet for themselves with their own hands, simply by cutting out a sample from cardboard and folding it according to the instructions. You only need to have lenses for VR glasses.
Design and use of a VR helmet
If you have access to a 3D printer, then the helmet can be printed – the company Durovis, one of the pioneers in the field of VR, has posted drawings of its virtual reality helmet in the public domain.
Transforming a regular 3D game into VR format.
Today we already have ready-made virtual 3D worlds, many of which are written in the Unity engine. An ordinary computer allows us only to look into them through the display window, and to “dive” into virtual reality mode, we just need to change the point of view and instead of one camera use two, working synchronously – like a pair of eyes.
Then you get a stereoscopic image and a circular view. To do this, you need to make very small changes to the project on Unity and – voila! – our first VR game is ready.
VR building principles with examples in Unity
Of course, this is just the beginning. If everything were that simple, the app stores would already be full of VR games, but we are not seeing this yet. A full-fledged migration to virtual reality is more complicated and requires more attention to detail.
For example, since the user looks at the screen through the lens, distortion and chromatic aberration occur, which must be corrected with special filters.
The sensors, with the help of which the program monitors the position of the head and the direction of sight, give errors that tend to accumulate, and they need to be compensated. Therefore, when developing VR applications, it is better to use specialized frameworks such as ALPS-VR or Fibrum SDK.
Creating a player avatar
We can show the user the virtual world in all its glory and even let the user move in it by tilting and turning the head. But this is not enough to create full-fledged game mechanics. You can’t take a keyboard and a mouse with you. Our user in the virtual space is still an incorporeal creature who has only eyes and ears.
To give him back the ability to control the game, you need to give some tools. In other words, we have to redesign the user interface of the VR application taking into account the peculiarities of user interaction in virtual reality.
Peculiarities of user interaction in virtual reality
There are different ways a user interacts with a VR system: you can give commands by voice, use a joystick, or specialized controllers like the Razer Hydra. However, a more user-friendly interface is obtained if you have motion capture sensors.
The best option is when the user’s actions in the physical and virtual worlds coincide. If you just move your hand and take a virtual object, this is natural. And if to take a thing, you need to press a special button, then no. In general, you need your arms and legs in virtual space, and for this, you have to use special motion capture sensors, for example, Leap Motion, which is installed directly on the Oculus Rift S helmet.
Also, you can use devices based on Intel RealSense technology or the classics of the genre – Microsoft Kinect.
Using sensors to interact with the user in virtual reality
The development approach is very simple: we get a skeleton with the help of sensors, read coordinates from the necessary bones, interpret according to the game mechanics.
The VR / AR application market is developing not only in the gaming direction.
It may seem unexpected, but in total, computer games are a third part of the VR / AR market. Two-thirds will be shared between different business applications such as entertainment, marketing, design, training, and construction VR / AR applications.
Moreover, at the moment there are very few specialists in 3D in these industries (except for design), and even more so in VR / AR. On the other hand, developers with experience in creating games do not understand anything about the business processes and requirements of a functional customer.
But it’s easier for developers with a gaming background to master the technologies of VR / AR applications for business in the subject area, than for specialized specialists to master the entire stack of 3D technologies.
That is why the client parts of business applications in the virtual and augmented reality environment are created using game mechanics that developers are familiar with – you just need to learn how to apply them in other scenarios.
So, maybe it’s worth parting with toys and doing more serious things – the penetration of VR / AR technologies into business opens up wide opportunities for professional growth.
Augmented and mixed reality
Virtual reality doesn’t come alone. Augmented reality usually appears on the developer’s horizon with it. Together they form a real-virtual continuum, giving rise to various intricate combinations, for example, augmented virtuality – this is when real objects suddenly appear in your virtual world.
Many have heard of various combinations of real and virtual environments of the so-called mixed reality, but they have almost no idea of how this technology can be applied in business applications. You need computer vision algorithms, a 3D engine, and a platform to put it all together to build mixed reality apps.
Mixed reality. The environment where holograms live
Any smartphone can become the simplest augmented reality device – it has a camera looking at the real world and software for modeling virtual objects over the image.
A vivid example is the augmented reality application released by IKEA, which allows you to see how a particular piece of furniture will look in your apartment – for this you just need to put a page from the IKEA catalog on the floor and point the camera of the gadget at this place.
You can use Vuforia 5 with Unity 5 and the Cardboard Unity SDK as development tools. Next, we create a project in Unity, connect an AR camera from Vuforia, slightly modify CardboardMain. After all the code manipulation and assembly are completed, we get a simple Cardboard app that can switch between the two AR and VR modes when hovering over a marker object.
Building mixed reality AR / VR apps tailored for cardboards
Microsoft HoloLens 2 – a pair of mixed reality smart glasses designed and manufactured by Microsoft.
HoloLens augmented reality glasses were available for everyone to get acquainted with at the Microsoft Build 2017 developer conference. The headset has a slightly darkened transparent display and surrounding sound system so you can not only see the holograms but also hear them. The glasses support voice control using the Cortana function. Image resolution – 720p.
Microsoft HoloLens 2 is the successor to the groundbreaking Microsoft HoloLens. On February 24, 2019, the enterprise version of HoloLens 2 debuted as the first variant of the device, followed by a version for VR / AR developers. It was subsequently released in limited quantities at the end of 2019.
The Microsoft HoloLens 2 device is currently under development, so the technical performance will only get better. With HoloLens, you can also view photos, videos, and follow links in the browser.
It seems to be nothing special – another augmented reality device, and there are already many in the market. HoloLens 2 is a wearable holographic computer, it is a breakthrough in the field of the creation of mixed reality, which has yet to be realized for the device to go on public sale and enough VR / AR applications to be written for it. This is a must for developers and businesses to look closely.
“People are mobile, not devices. We are ready for technology that would leave behind all today’s devices, screens, pixels, and other digital barriers, ”says Alex Kipman, co-author of important for the company devices and technologies such as Kinect and HoloLens.
The theme of “Star Wars” was repeated in the comments about the “holoportation” shown by Kipman. Astronauts on the ISS have already tested HoloLens as part of the NASA Sidekick project. The goal of the project is to ensure better coordination of astronauts’ work with ground personnel during repairs and maintenance of station equipment.
You can start developing holographic applications without even having the device itself – download the SDK and HoloLens emulator, which runs in the Windows Holographic virtual machine. The installation package includes Visual Studio project templates with holographic DirectX, there you will also find tutorials and you can order a developer kit.
The right moment to master VR / AR
Gartner analysts believe that virtual and augmented reality technologies can be mainstream in three to five years.
Let’s run a simple countdown: if in three years you need to be on the market with your VR, AR, or Mixed Reality app, then we count down a year for promotion, a year for development, and a year for mastering technologies and prototyping. It turns out that there is practically no time left to have time to skim the cream off the new market!
In general, you need to start dealing with VR / AR right now, not to get the situation as Captain Jack Sparrow said: “If you were waiting for the right moment, it was it”.
Available VR technologies
There is Mobile VR – smartphone-based virtual reality technology. The minimum set for using Mobile VR is, in fact, a smartphone, as well as inexpensive cardboard glasses like Google Cardboard or plastic glasses-box. The advantage of this technology is affordability: everyone has smartphones, the cardboard will cost $ 25.
The drawback is the insufficient performance of the video card: complex VR projects cannot be implemented based on the phone.
Also, tracking problems arise with mobile VR: the smartphone does not have external sensors that could normally track the position of the head and body in space. But mobile device manufacturers are working on it.
Drawing in Virtual Reality Billetto Editorial
At the other extreme of virtual reality, technology is Room-scale VR. You come to the office or, for example, to the company’s stand at an exhibition, where you put on a virtual reality helmet connected to a game console or computer.
The second option, of course, allows you to “place” more complex 3D objects into virtual reality. But ordinary people can rarely afford to buy a headset for VR, so such a tool is suitable either for one-time offline promotions, or for demonstrating an object in 3D at a point of sale, but not for digital promotion.
What tasks does VR solve?
- Demonstration of VR technologies in ATL or digital advertising. Relatively little used, mainly to demonstrate the “innovativeness” of a product or business.
- Another scheme of use is converting to an offline visit to the office, attracting consumers to get an offline VR experience.
- BTL communications and direct sales. It is widely used in business to demonstrate the product at exhibitions, in sales offices, and other places of communication within the business. It is used for collaborative design, other remote interaction, training of specialists, repair and maintenance of equipment, and other tasks. This is an extremely promising area of application due to the relative cheapness of VR devices compared to specialized training stands.
What works in VR today
Several factors directly hinder the widespread use of VR in business:
- Low consumer penetration of devices;
- Insufficient technical perfection of devices ( “brain sickness”, inconvenience of long-term wearing, which is important for professional use; wired equipment);
- The relatively high cost of producing VR content compared to the usual video filming.
Another challenge for businesses in embracing virtual reality technology is that virtual experience designers still think flat, “two-dimensional”.
Professionals got used to certain flat-screen thinking tools and patterns and tend to transfer them into 3D. Although virtual reality makes it possible to control the space around a person, to reverse his perception – so the possibilities for games with his mind are much wider than in a two-dimensional world.
It is known that the world is displayed upside down on the human retina. Our brains in infancy learn to recognize that there is something wrong with this and flip the image back to normal. This fact indicates how subjective our perception is. What does the world look like? No one knows. In virtual reality, we create new worlds with a new spectrum of sensations.
Creators of and entertainment are working in this direction, but for ordinary business, it is still too difficult. The maximum that companies do is re-create familiar objects in a three-dimensional format, shoot videos in 360⁰ format, or transport a person into a simulated space, into which he cannot get in the usual way. And still, companies are bumping up even in these experiments, because many of their hypotheses turn out to be wrong.
Consulting company Accenture analyzed the prospects for VR as a technology for business. According to their forecasts, by 2021 the market of devices and software for VR will reach $ 70 billion. Almost all industries will be able to benefit from the introduction of VR: manufacturing, retail, media, and communications, medicine, education, games, and others.
Since the end of 2018, VR has taken off in internal business communications and training, as well as its use for exhibitions and offline sales offices.
The widespread use of technologies in marketing and online sales will begin when full-fledged virtual reality headsets will cost not $ 800-900, as it is today, but at least $ 200-300. But technology is steadily getting cheaper as time passes, and VR will do.
There is a so-called maturity cycle from Gartner. First, a new technology appears that is going to be promising – this is a trigger for startups in this area. Then the market heats up, there is a peak of inflated expectations – a kind of “soap bubble” when businesses are trying to invest in this technology.
The bubble invariably bursts and there follows the phase of disappointment. Then there are two ways – either the technology will overcome the problems and reach a plateau of productivity, or it will be forgotten along with other similar failed technological “breakthroughs”.
According to forecasts of technical experts, within the next 5 years, virtual reality devices will become as mass and popular as smartphones are now. If at the moment about 14 million helmets are sold in the world, by 2021 this figure will grow to 70 million
Virtual reality technologies have reached such a level of development that they will provide an image quality of 4000 × 4000 pixels per eye at 90 fps. This will allow them to be applied in a wide variety of areas. Of course, the main focus will be on the entertainment industry. VR helmets will provide full immersion in the gameplay with the maximum level of realism, but development in all areas of business will not take long.
Even now with the help of VR, you can, without getting up from the couch, visit art museums around the world, for example, the Courtauld Gallery in London or the Salvador Dali Museum in Pittsburgh, America.
Soon, in the same way, the user will be able to attend a concert of his favorite band or watch a live sports match. Films and series filmed with panoramic cameras will allow viewers literally to get into the plot.
By the beginning of 2021, several large real estate companies are set to develop virtual property catalogs. You will be able to enter a house that is thousands of kilometers away, appreciate the interiors and decoration of the rooms.
Monitors, keyboards, mice, joysticks – all these will be replaced with virtual controls. Virtual reality will create new educational methods, expand the possibilities of medical care, industrial development, communication, and user interaction.
Improve customer relationships
According to Greenlight VR research, over 50% of consumers say they are more likely to buy from a brand that contains VR experiences. This tells us that customers have more confidence in companies that take this innovative approach. While this ratio may seem surprising at first glance, it is very easy to explain.
By sponsoring VR experiences, brands demonstrate a willingness and drive to improve relationships with their customers. Customers value brands with this attitude because they always feel more loyal and trust in customer-centric brands.
The abovementioned Greenlight VR survey also found that 62% of users said VR equates to a sense of connection with a brand. Customer engagement is one of the best ways to build relationships, and virtual reality will help you.
Attract users with VR experiences
Due to the fast lifestyle and social media, people’s attention is noticeably deteriorating. A problem arises when it comes to attracting and holding people’s attention.
With VR, this problem will disappear. Virtual reality will provide you with 100% user attention. Users will have the opportunity to completely surrender to the object of sense perception and forget about everything else. The impressive content that VR offers eliminates all distractions and helps users turn off reality for a while.
Recently, virtual reality has been mainly seen as a gaming space. The business world is undergoing a big change right now, prompting owners to take bold steps and play with this innovative tool. With virtual reality headsets like Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard that can be connected to smartphones, more and more people are purchasing VR devices.
New opportunities are opening up for companies that can be transferred to a VR experience that at one time makes an impression on users and customers.
Where augmented and virtual reality is applied
The scope of AR and VR applications is wide, and it is only getting wider with every passing year. The gaming business, ad agencies, educational platforms, and even faith-based organizations have all adopted both technologies.
They can be used for the following purposes:
Presentation of new products.
VR and AR applications are used to present new products.
These technologies open up such opportunities:
- Showing a 3D model of the product.
- Virtual demonstration of product features.
- Engaging viewers in a presentation or event
The educational area.
In education, VR and AR simulators have proven to be effective tools. The human brain is memorizing and assimilating information better when it is presented playfully. This is especially true for children’s perception.
Thanks to VR and AR, the quality and effectiveness of the educational program reach a new level. Now, these technologies are used by the world’s leading universities and schools, allowing pupils and students to view 3D models of atoms and chemical elements, as well as gain knowledge in an interactive form.
Sphere of entertainment.
The gaming and entertainment industry has adopted the potential of augmented and virtual realities at their maximum. There is already a separate class of games designed for special glasses that provide complete immersion in a new world.
The advantage is the immersion in the gameplay, achieved through a realistic picture, 360-degree view, and control of the game using special joysticks simulating hand movements. The person feels like a character in the game
Visualization of projects.
VR and AR are indispensable tools when it comes to visualizing 3D projects. For example, it is convenient to use augmented reality to present projects of construction companies. Buyers of apartments in the residential complex at the stage of development will see the future result realistically, and wearing special glasses, they will even “walk” around the future housing. A visualization like this can increase sales because people truly believe only in what they see. However, construction is not the only area where virtual technology is a part of the marketing strategy.
Virtual avatars are used in virtual networks to achieve realistic interactions. It can be both a game avatar and an avatar of social networks, where communication is initially based on augmented and virtual reality technology.
Also, augmented and virtual reality technologies open the way to new opportunities in advertising and interaction with the consumer of content. The effect of presence makes a strong impression on a person and motivates to action more than a banner ad or an advertising slogan.