Bill Gates has been quoted as saying “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.”
And nowhere is this truer than in the realm of technology where things really seem to be changing at an accelerating pace and even those supposedly in the know can’t seem to predict what will be a hit and what will fade gently (or not) into the night.
This is because some technologies - such as the internet itself, mobile phones, social media - reach the tipping point where the number of users grows to the point that it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle. You have to have it because the others do. And not just to “keep up with the Joneses”. But because it genuinely adds value to your life or business.
For example, the near instantaneous communication possible via internet email and the cost savings for companies in a global environment. Or the ability to use a GPS on your mobile phone while driving. Or the sense of pleasure that many people get from being able to share their lives publicly, or the advertising opportunities that companies have found, in social media.
The reason these technologies took hold is because at a deep level they appeal to what makes us human - to connect with others, to be emotionally engaged, to have an experience.
The technology has to serve the human need in a non-cumbersome way. Technology won’t succeed for technology’s sake, at least it won’t be commercially viable. This is why, for example, virtual reality has failed to take off so far in consumer markets. The tech is still too expensive and complex for those users.
Sometimes the timing is just not right. There might be other enabling technologies that need to mature or evolve for some other tech products to takeoff. For example, smartphones would never have taken off if LED technology hadn’t matured and 3G/4G networks hadn’t emerged.
Keeping these factors in mind, it’s fair to say that finally Virtual Reality’s time has come in certain markets. VR too for a long time was one of the perennial “next big things”. The concept has actually been around a while.
Attempts throughout the 80s, 90s and early 2000s were cumbersome, massively expensive, headache inducing and pretty much just curiosities.
But VR tech has kept evolving. Screen technology, GPU power per dollar, raw computing power and so on - all these enabling technologies now make VR so much more capable than ever before.
Even more importantly, VR is a primal technology. It connects with the human experience in an elemental way. When done right, it can make the viewer be completely immersed into a fascinating whole new world. It can be emotionally compelling. It can be breathtaking. It can make dreams come to life.
And finally, something else is happening that marks the arrival of a technology. Enterprises are investing in and adopting VR heavily into their business processes. Real Estate companies are using VR to showcase unbuilt and built properties, and it works because it’s a clear win-win. Prospects who understand a property better, have a higher level of confidence in their understanding, and are therefore more likely to convert to a buyer or leasee. Visionary product manufacturers are using VR to showcase and iterate on their products long before they actually build them, gathering investment and support early on, and again saving money in the process.
So the timing is finally here for VR in the right applications. In just the last 2 years, the technology has come a long way to fulfilling its promise and is capturing the public’s imagination in a way that never happened before. And it makes business sense.
Of course, widespread adoption will take some time, as with any technology. We are at the cusp of the typical technology-adoption hockey stick curve. It’s not a linear curve, and it may take longer, or happen faster, than some predict. But to think of a linear progression from past iterations of VR products is folly. With higher resolution screens, faster computing, smaller headsets, 5G networks for real-time streaming of VR and so much more, the applications and experiences possible will grow exponentially.
Businesses and visionaries that adopt VR stand much to gain. All you need to do is see for yourself, so reach out to us for a free demo.