Today, many might look back at businesses that ignored the growth of television or the internet as unfortunate. They failed to see the importance and dramatic change that was coming, impacting how consumers interacted with businesses and what they expected. That rapid growth in technology has not stopped, and yet businesses’ reactions might, all too often, resemble those of the past. To that end, it’s worth considering what one of the most exciting new innovations in technology – virtual reality – could mean for business growth.
Computers are more powerful than they’ve ever been, capable of managing enormous amounts of data to produce complex outputs. Yet, they’ve also become more popular. Already back in 2014, Pew noted: “84% of U.S. households own a computer, and 73% of U.S. households have a computer with a broadband connection to the internet.” That number has only increased. The most recent data indicates that almost nine out of ten Americans are online and three quarters of them own a smartphone.
It’s no wonder then that technology manufacturers considered this prime time to put out virtual reality headsets, as consumer accessible devices. The idea behind virtual reality is self-explanatory, of course: headsets that allow the user to immerse themselves in digital worlds. The headsets provide sight and sound, while other connected devices let users manipulate the digital world around them.
Some of the biggest virtual reality headset releases happened last year, like the Oculus Rift and the Sony Playstation VR. But these were mostly for tech enthusiasts and early adopters. It’s 2017 that will see business growth and greater adoption of these headsets. And it’s for this reason businesses must begin paying attention.
The most obvious reason to care about virtual reality is because more consumers do. With upcoming price drops, improved technology, a greater variety of options and the outcomes of a competitive market, consumers will be better placed than they were in 2016 to start adopting virtual reality into their lives. As The Week recently pointed out: “Marriott Hotels used VR to promote travel to exotic locales and preview their suits. Media companies like The New York Times have packaged stories in VR.” Brands as big as Star Wars and Netflix “have also started using Oculus Rift VR headset so people can watch movies in a virtual theater.”
If these major companies are devoting resources to developing VR, they are clearly seeing business growth. Even Intel has devoted enormous resources to virtual reality. Any modern business owner would be wise to follow these examples to reap future rewards.