Virtual reality has been touted as the most disruptive technology for a decade with the potential to completely transform the way we work and play. Already users can attend major sport events and concerts in virtual reality, surgeons are using the technology to better prepare for complicated procedures, consumers can shop in virtual stores and walk through a new building that has not been built yet.
The immersive tech is certainly delivering on the predictions and sometimes in surprising ways. In the case of the OmniLoop app the effect of virtual reality can only be described as truly disruptive. The app allows companies to hold virtual meetings, including AGM’s where shareholders can vote remotely in real time. Last month, Omni Market Tide (OMT) used OmniLoop to hold its first virtual AGM, attended by most of the company’s 1,000 shareholders. (OTM developed the OmniLoop app). If one takes into account the numerous AGMs and other meetings held across the world each year, coupled with the cost in time an travel and the inconvenience, it’s reasonable to expect that initiatives like OmniLoop will disrupt business and the travel and hospitality industries in the future.
On 14 June, Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus launched its latest flagship smartphone, the One Plus 3 Smartphone during an online virtual reality event. The launch took place in an online virtual reality product headquarters called The Loop. The company released an app so users around the world could attend the launch in virtual reality. In the past, every OnePlus smartphone launch required potential buyers to request an invite from the company through its Web page to purchase a device.
A recent Global Web Index Report stated that the younger someone is, the more likely they are to be interested in virtual reality. Four in ten people between 16 and 34 are interested in virtual reality and two in ten in the 55 and 64 age group, the report found. Be that as it may, at least one company is targeting the older age group.
ICMA-RC, a non-profit financial services corporation that provides retirement plans and related services for public sector employees in the United States, launched their RealizeRetirement® Tour at the end of June. The mobile, interactive experience is aimed at encouraging public sector employees to save for retirement. The Tour includes a personalized animation app, a public-sector virtual reality exhibit, a giant selfie station, and a digital prize wheel.
The “My Retirement Dreams” animation app creates a positive image of retirement through personalized animated videos of users in retirement. Users answer a few questions, their pictures are taken, and in the next instant they can see a video of themselves in retirement.
While we’re on the topic of the older generation. What about a tour of the resting place of those who are no longer with us? Buffalo Forest Lawn Cemetery’s 20th tourist season will include a virtual reality experience. The 166-year-old cemetery is developing an app that will allow users all over the planet to tour the cemetery virtually, viewing its many famous grave sites.
And how cool is this? Last week, Mutual Mobile, a tech company that helps companies to create virtual reality apps, was the first company to deliver a beverage in virtual reality. Mutual Mobile’s John Arrow engaged with several dozen people from around the world in a simulated beach house environment and had refreshing beverages delivered to the participants from thousands of miles away by using the Uber Eats delivery app. That occasion marked the first time that a tangible product has been ordered within virtual reality.
Looking at analysts’ forecasts for virtual reality, real life examples like these of the uptake of VR technology are bound to increase. The analysts at SuperData forecast that VR will make $3.6 billion in revenues throughout this year, CCS Insight estimates that more than 12 million virtual reality headsets will be sold in 2017 and Digi-Capital forecasts that VR could be worth $30 billion by 2020.