According to literature there is no doubt virtual reality technology will be the future across businesses. This technology will change data interaction across industries; in education, in science, marketing, design, Banking and so on. However, this has already began in some industries more than others such as the Game industry (Fernandez,2017). This technology will not only enhance productivity but also make the decision-making process shorter for a customer buying furniture, or even a patient prepping for surgery. Sarah Murthi MD and Amitagh Varshney (2018). According to Wikipedia, Virtual reality (VR) is defined as is an interactive computer-generated experience that takes place within a simulated environment. This includes mainly auditory and visual feedback. VR is described as an immersive environment that feels like real life.
This is an interesting topic because as a practical application, there are virtually unlimited factors allowing users all over the world to carry out tasks without being physically present, the possibilities for modeling and interacting with simulations that would otherwise almost be impossible is mind blowing! Howevere, while challenges in deploying remain, pioneering organizations, such as Amazon, General Electric, Facebook, Mayo Clinic, and the U.S. Navy, have already implemented AR and seeing a major impact on quality and productivity (Porter and Heppelmann,2017)
According to Don Mckone et al, (2016) Virtual reality (VR), along with its sister technology augmented reality (AR), are offering retailers the opportunity to transform how customers do their shopping. The authors explain that with such technology shoppers will be able to try on clothing without physically being in the store, while another can order for furniture on the spot, with confidence that its the right fit for the space she requires. The application of VR is described as elevating customer service, and create a differentiated, personalized customer experience. In addition, the research stress that the successful incorporation of VR and AR into retail models shall also have a potential change in the way retailers are thinking about their stores of the future.
However, Don Mckone et al, (2016) suggest that retailers looking to develop a virtual commerce strategy should consider breaking it down along the following dimensions; 1) Decide which technology to use for each application.2) Decide whether the application is for in-store or out-of-store use. 3) Identify the customers who would like an AR or VR solution especially those that cannot live without it. For instance, a virtual makeup mirror that can quickly learn consumers preferences and show them new looks without requiring them to wait at the makeup counter. And finally connecting it to the business model. This not only benefits the customers in terms of ease but also gives the retailer a competitive edge over competition.
Why Every Organization Needs an Augmented Reality Strategy by Porter and Heppelmann (2017), describes what AR is, its evolving technology and applications, and why it is so important. The authors explain that its significance is growing exponentially amplifying the power to create value and reshape competition. By superimposing digital information directly on the environment, AR allows people to process the physical and digital simultaneously, eliminating the need to mentally bridge the two. Not only does this provide the ability to rapidly and accurately absorb information, but also facilitates the decision process, and the execution required quickly and efficiently.
Results of this study showed that, AR is making advances in consumer markets, but its emerging impact on human performance is even greater in industrial settings. For instance- Newport News Shipbuilding, designs and builds U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, using AR. The final design superimposed on the ship, reduces inspection time by 96%mfrom 36 hours to just 90 minutes. Overall, time savings of 25% and more are typical for manufacturing tasks using AR.
How Augmented Reality Will Make Surgery Safer by Murthi and Varshney (2018) indicated that over the years medical imaging has evolved but slowly, today the way images are displayed is the same as they were in the 50s. Visual data is displayed on a 2D flat screen, forcing the health care providers to look away from the patient, or even their own hands while operating. According to the article, researchers at Stanford, Duke, Johns Hopkins and Maryland Blended Reality Centers Augmentarium are prototyping an AR application in medicine. The article explains that with this application a surgeon using an AR headset would be able to see digital images and other data directly overlaid on her field of view. Thus, this technology has the potential to improve care and reduce errors. The authors point out that AR has the potential ability to concurrently display imaging data and other patient information that could save lives and decrease medical errors.
Results of a study by K?ppen.V et al, (2009), found that VR enhances the development process of complex and inter-operating products due to bringing existing systems together with virtual prototypes. The authors stress that the modeling of existing products within the VR environment, product properties and product combination are important factors for success in a product life cycle. And that a reduction of the effort for modeling of existing products and simulation of properties can be achieved, when systems and their properties are transported to the virtual reality environment. The authors present a service-oriented architecture with embedded systems and virtual reality. They explain that the multiplicity of interfaces, protocols, hardware and software aspects requires an architecture that overcomes the related difficulties to increase efficiency. Their findings illustrate that service-oriented architectures make different scenarios in the product life cycle possible, whereas the implementation effort for embedded systems is reduced due to software reuse. In this article the authors discuss the deferent application in;
? Automotive – With todays growing complexity of interactions embedded devices within a car requires methods that monitor and control these complexity issues. According to the authors VR is one promising method to face the blindness with hidden or nonvisible properties.
? Medicine – In the medical domain, VR is used to train students as well as qualified personnel in the case of new devices or methods.
? Logistic Hub According to the authors, the flow of products in a logistic hub has continuously increased. And this is reasoned by global acting companies and just-in-time production to control, monitor or check incoming, stocking, and outgoing materials, and the RFID chips are the only one possible solution to do this.
According to APC Forum: Business Implications of Virtual Worlds and Serious Gaming (2008) the future applications of VR will combine the elements of; 1) social presence, 2) visualization and,3) simulation producing valuable models. And that when combined with the other models, with provide rich insights, that cannot be available in any other way. Examples given are like, engineering firms that shall be able to produce 3-D simulations of chemical plants, including 3-D simulations of plant components. However, the author points out that virtual world business applications are still at an embryonic stage. And that the collaboration among team members, with in firms are deeply involved in building virtual worlds.
The researching on business application of VR gave me an in depth understanding of the benefits of its application cross cutting the different industries. Presented as the best new feature and the future of the retail industry, what this innovation has to offer is great; allowing online consumers to have instore like experiences that are, engaging, educational and more attracting. Enabling shoppers/students/professors/ architectural designers/patients to see a virtual product for instance furniture that fits his/her house, an outfit on themselves, teaching material for educational purposes, medical tools to minimize errors etc. AR in particular is said to useful to both consumers and retailers, from a consumers perspective one can enjoy the high level of satisfaction in being able to see how the products one would like to purchase will fit on them, in their Livingroom, an imagine of a surgical procedure before it happens, or class presentation using AR. On the other hand, from a retail perspective, the retailers get better product exposure, an increase in both online and in-store sales, in education and the medical fields one can expect better outcomes.
In conclusion several new technologies such as the internet of things, the cloud, mobile devices, biotech, autotech, Online education, robotics, artificial intelligence etc. are fueling innovation in many industries and the impacting strategic planning decisions for firms. Competition in virtually all industries is intense and at times cutthroat, therefore firms must strive to achieve sustained competitive advantages by being a step ahead of competition in technology to meet the growing demand.