During the Pandemic and After
The global pandemic has paved the way for even greater implementation of virtual reality into our everyday life. VR app development services can keep businesses running and help to navigate through the disruption. According to MarketsandMarkets, the value of the virtual reality market in 2020 is $6.1 billion, and the main factor driving growth is the affordability of VR devices.
The COVID-19 stay at home measures have upsurge VR utilization throughout various industries:
- Jacob Loewenstein, Spatial’s head of business development, stated 1000% usage growth of its VR meeting app since March.
- Facebook encourages people to work remotely; 50% of employees are expected to work from home in 5-10 years. Maintaining productivity whilst working from home might rise as a challenge. Thus, the company intends to use VR devices to create an “effect of presence”.
- Digital zoos and aquariums kept us entertained during stay-at-home measures. Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium offers a free VR penguin expedition, which has seen visits increase in March.
- In June, John Legend held a live charity concert in virtual reality; the singer was performing songs in studio and sensor-embedded suit, which recreated the singer’s moves. In April, Travis Scott used video game Fortnite to perform at a VR concert, which had 12 million viewers.
Companies around the world introduce VR solutions to their employees and consumers. However, some industries leverage the advantages of VR technologies more actively than others. Here are the top 5 use cases of VR technologies across industries during the pandemic:
1. The medical industry and virtual reality
The application of VR-powered solutions isn’t a brand-new trend in the healthcare industry. From training medical specialist to developing new treatment methods, manifold VR advantages also help to address COVID-19’s impacts.
- Using VR training minimizes the need for in-person interactions. Thus, doctors can advise and visit patients in virtual reality wards. VR practice developed for coronavirus treatment creates a realistic environment, facilitating the training process, and allowing medical staff to apply gained knowledge immediately.
- The atmosphere created by virtual reality can refocus a patient’s attention on different things. Such methodology makes the treatment less stressful, helps to ease the pain and speed up physical rehabilitation.
In April, immersive learning solutions enterprise Virti has obtained funding as a part of NHSX’s initiative. NHSX is the UK national health service department, which manages the digital transformation of health and social care, which intends to use VR technologies in a fight against the pandemic, namely training and upskilling healthcare personnel.
The George Washington Hospital uses VR solution to examine patients’ lungs affected by COVID-19. The immersive 360-degree image enhances the quality of diagnosis, the recovery process, and scientific study of how the virus attacks lung tissue.
2. The gaming industry and virtual reality
With the availability of VR headsets, the virtual reality gaming market has seen an uptick during the lockdown and still shows an upward trend. In March, a gaming platform Steam has had a record-setting number of monthly-connected headsets — 1.77 million.
Source: Road to VR
In such unprecedented times, VR games bring benefits for consumers and businesses:
- Immersive 360-degree gaming environment keeps players entertained during stay-at-home policies.
- Educational VR games, such as Virus Popper and COVID Escape Room, help people to learn new behaviours faster and to raise awareness on the importance of personal hygiene and safety in times of coronavirus.
- Introducing VR solutions to your business can attract potential customers.
3. Travel industry and virtual reality
The COVID-19 outbreak causes a major disruption to the travel industry. With the current situation of tourism restrictions, VR technologies can allow consumers to get “outside” and soften pandemic consequences for some travel companies.
VR travel apps can help you to visit the desired destination in a blink of an eye, and that is exactly what travel enthusiasts need. In April, Ascape’s VR app downloads have doubled in comparison to January.
Moreover, VR traveling experience helps to market destinations to potential customers, who will be eager to travel there once restrictions are lifted. After VR trips to various hotels of the Marriott chain, 51% of customers were willing to visit some of them.
4. The sports industry and virtual reality
As sporting events resume, sports fans around the world look forward to attending them. Meanwhile, VR solutions can come to rescue and help to experience game day to the fullest. Some football clubs — Manchester City, Juventus — have already introduced the option of watching a game in virtual reality.
VR fitness services Supernatural and FitXR have demonstrated how VR headsets can help you to stay fit at home. With VR headset, you can see a coach and customize the background with a favorite view like the sea, mountains, forest, or something else. The coach runs a training as well as provides instructions and monitors your heartbeat with the help of iWatch, which measures vital signs.
5. The retail industry and virtual reality
COVID-19 outbreak has forced retailers to close brick-and-mortar stores temporarily. In the meantime, VR solutions keep reinventing shopping experience. In the times of social distancing, VR-powered shopping creates the personalized experience and allows engagement with a product prior to purchase, thus reducing the return rates.
Zuo Modern, furniture, lighting, and decor distributor, provides the possibility to browse and shop in the virtual store. Automotive players have also been introducing VR technologies for marketing purposes. Volvo, for instance, presented VR test drive through smartphones.
Such unprecedented times are disrupting business operations globally. However, the crisis such as this creates a space of possibilities. Nowadays, virtual reality is a transformative change, which comes as a solution to challenges posed by COVID-19.
There’s a real chance that post-pandemic society will use VR in everyday life. The plethora of industries already leverage the benefits of virtual reality; others will also have to find a way to adapt to the new normal.