How virtual reality could transform your business

Techradar Pro: What is your advice to businesses that are looking at VR technology and how they might be able to leverage its potential?

Mark Curtis: "Try it first. Don't set up a department to look at it – that's overcomplicated. Run your experiments in an existing digital unit."

Bertie Millis: "The potential for VR is enormous. My advice is be brave, try ideas that seem wild. If you're choosing VR at this early stage, you will be helping to shape the path of virtual reality in the future."

Chris Savage: "Start simple. Get a Theta S and start recording the moments that you think would be compelling to your customers if they were there with you in person. We've tried using 360-video to capture internal meetings, and it has been extremely compelling.

Amelia Kallman Innovation Consultant Engage Works

Amelia Kallman, Innovation Consultant, Engage Works

Amelia Kallman: "One thing all early adopters can capitalise on now is the excitement factor. Everyone I talk to is excited about VR, but not everyone has tried it or has been exposed to the potential. Being able to offer clients an experience unlike any they have had before will make an impact at the least. VR is memorable, it is unique, and it is the kind of experience you talk about and recall at the end of a day to friends, colleagues and family. It is a great, cost effective way to make an impact, but again, it is only as powerful as the content it plays, so it is worth investing in really great content creation."

Alasdair Lennox: "My best advice is to put your customers and your business first, and then see how tech can augment the service you already give. It would be an expensive mistake to invest in headsets, app development and so on, only to realise that your customers don't feel quite as excited about VR as you do, and fail to embrace it."

Microsoft HoloLens

Don't forget AR products like Microsoft's HoloLens

Luke Ritchie: "It absolutely depends on the business. I'm a content maker that utilises new technologies to tell stories. Most of this work falls into advertising. Right now that's an industry that can't pass on the potential of VR. I'd suggest that people try to get as much access to headsets and content as possible and then see for themselves whether there's an opportunity within their business to do things better with VR. Certainly also consider AR while making this decision as products like Microsoft's HoloLens and the Magic Leap offer the same level of interactivity but augment which is potentially more useful to a wider range of businesses where total immersion isn't suitable."

Techradar Pro: How do you see VR developing over the next few years as a business tool?

Dean Johnson: "Early adopters already know what VR is but the majority haven't even experienced it yet. Don't just create VR for the sake of it or you'll find your marketing budget could have been better spent elsewhere. Good audio is every bit as important as quality visuals in VR. Don't neglect the voiceover and where possible create spatial audio. Be clever with content and most importantly, be brief."

Mark Curtis: "The big tipping point is when users realise there is a fourth dimension of content and interactivity all around them. A fourth dimension is a very powerful development that will change the relationship businesses project between the physical and digital worlds. It promises infinite experiences. The winning businesses will figure out the compelling and relevant ones, because humans do not have infinite time. Yet."

Alasdair Lennox: "For specific industries, there is huge scope for very specialist VR or AR applications – for 3D and material design, for instance, and for remote education. I believe that the greatest strength of these devices across industries is the immediacy that it enables. If you have a vision to communicate, VR can bring it to life for your audience in moments, and in a way that is engaging beyond anything we've experienced before. The way that businesses apply that unique quality will be what makes or breaks VR in the next few years."

Joss Davidge: "VR is set to develop hugely – we're only just beginning to see what the technology is capable of. With CGI VR providing the opportunity for brands to offer up an infinite number of previously impossible experiences, there is huge untapped potential. VR is going to completely change the way in which we experience products and ideas, and learn about the world around us, providing a brand new way to educate, train, inform and engage. Both big brands and small businesses need to tap into this potential."

Conclusion

For businesses then, VR is firmly in the gold rush stage of its development. With the hardware only just becoming available to the general consumer, VR is in its infancy, but for businesses the potential is perhaps more promising than any other technology seen over the last few decades. If you're a business owner and VR is appropriate to your services and products, hold on tight because it's going to be an amazing ride.