Don’t be embarrassed, we have the answers to some of the most common virtual reality questions out there.
What Is Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality replicates or simulates an environment. This environment could be real or imaginary; it also could be created using photography, videography, computer animation, or a combination of the three. When someone enters virtual reality, they have a full 360-degree view of what is happening around them.
How Does Virtual Reality Work?
The easiest answer is that virtual reality “tricks” your brain into thinking you’re someplace else. A virtual reality headset shows you an image, and when you move, the device modifies the image to make it appear as if you’re actually inside a different environment.
You Mentioned a Virtual Reality Headset. What’s That?
A virtual reality headset is what you use to enter virtual reality. They are lightweight devices that you place over your eyes. There are two main types: mobile and computer. A mobile virtual reality headset like, Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR, works with a smartphone. You just pull up your favorite VR app, lock your smartphone in the headset, and start enjoying. A computer virtual reality headset is significantly more powerful (and expensive) than a mobile headset. This type of VR headset hooks up to high-performance computer, which allows for better graphics, among other things.
What Do People Use Virtual Reality To Do?
Anything and everything. Virtual reality can be used for education, research, entertainment, and more. Businesses and institutions use virtual reality to increase brand awareness and drive conversions. In fact, about 75 percent of Forbes World’s Most Valuable Brands have created some type of virtual reality or augmented reality experience.
Two industries that have been quick to adopt virtual reality are travel and education. Travel destinations like Visit Houston and Visit St. Petersburg Clearwater created VR experiences that enables anyone to see the destinations and get a glimpse of what it’s like to visit in person. Colleges and universities are doing the same. Numerous schools have created virtual reality experiences of their campuses to use in recruiting efforts.
Is It Working?
Absolutely. Virtual reality is more engaging than traditional content, meaning that people are more likely to interact with it longer. These engagements leads to more conversions, and we have the hard numbers to prove it. British travel group Thomas Cook reported a 190 percent increase in tours booked to New York City after offering a virtual reality experience of the city in their stores. Amnesty International reported a 16 percent increase in direct-debit donations brought on by its VR campaign.
Hasn’t VR Been Around Forever?
Not forever, but a while. There was a boom in virtual reality technology in the 1980s and 1990s. Unfortunately, VR technology at the time didn’t live up to the hype, which alienated consumers and added to the tech’s demise. Another factor in VR’s early bust was the creation of the internet, and a massive shift in interest to this new technology.
So, Why Are People Excited Now?
Because in every way possible virtual reality is better than it was the first time around. Both the hardware and software have improved to the point where the hype is appropriate. Not only this, but mobile virtual reality is leading to the democratization of VR. Many industry experts are comparing today’s VR industry to the smartphone industry of eight or nine years ago, right before smartphones exploded.
Does Virtual Reality Make People Sick?
Not any more. This is one way the technology has improved. In the ‘80s and ‘90s there could be a slight lag between when some turned their head and the image they’d see. This caused some people, but not all, to feel sick. Today’s technology has advanced to a smoother experience, allowing viewers to enjoy VR without worry.
Just How Big Is Virtual Reality Going To Be?
Big. Real big. Bigger than you’re thinking. By 2020, augmented reality and virtual reality is predicted to be a $150 billion industry, according to Digi-Capital’s 2015 Augmented/Virtual Reality Report. This would account for an audience in the tens of millions.
But Who’s Interested Virtual Reality?
Who isn’t? About 73 percent of United States internet users are interested in VR, according to a study by Greenlight VR and Touchstone Research. The most passionate VR demographic is Generation Z, according to the study. But other generation’s aren’t disinterested. The study also reported that 64 percent of Baby Boomers said they have positive feelings about VR.
You’ve Mentioned Augmented Reality Twice Now. What is it?
Augmented reality is when you overlay a digital image onto the real world. The two technologies are similar. For more details, check out our handy guide to understanding the difference between VR and AR.
How Do You Create a Virtual Reality Experience?
That depends. A virtual reality artist can make a virtual world using specially designed software. YouVisit specializes in capturing real-world content, so we utilize a variety of specialty video cameras to capture a real environment. We then stitch individual images together to create a 360-degree experience that can be viewed on browsers, mobile, and in VR. Check out our video series to learn a little bit more about the process.
How Do I Learn More?
There are a lot of great VR resources on the web and local groups getting into the technology. You just need to search them out. But if you’ve made it this far, subscribing to YouVisit’s blog is a good way to learn more about the tech.