Why is virtual reality (VR) suddenly becoming a more relevant topic with PR agencies and their clients?
Would a journalist prefer to see an image of a new product or virtually walk around it or even through it?
It’s just a fad; we’ll never spend our free time wearing a headset. Really? How much time do you spend (by yourself) looking at a smartphone screen for entertainment?
The advancement of technology, processor speeds and faster graphics cards combined with a new generation of VR headsets from Oculus, Sony, HTC, Samsung and Google are enabling a VR experience approaching total immersion – making the virtual reality experience so real that users forget the computer, headgear and behave exactly as we would in the real world.
VR is going to transform the way PRs tell stories. Imagine for a moment taking potential customers on a VR tour of your auto factory, creating an experience of what it’s like to drive your new car model through the Swiss Alps. Increasingly, effective public relations is about public engagement and if the goal of public relations is to engage, then bringing customers into the virtual world of our clients is the ultimate means of achieving this.
Goldman Sachs expects Head-Mounted Devices (HMD) will benefit from the same economies of scale that other devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones have enjoyed, and that headset price/performance will improve in a similar manner over time, driving wide-scale adoption.
Phil Newman of OOKII Company believes that in the near future PR practitioners will offer VR experiences to journalists and editors, rather than sharing hi-res images and HD video. Phil believes that when audiences become immersed in a VR experience they are so captivated that they literally can’t simultaneously text, tweet or Instagram while consuming content, which makes messages delivered via VR much more impactful. Thomas A. Furness, a VR expert with The Human Interface Technology Lab at the University of Washington, describes immersive VR as “…like writing on the brain with indelible ink.”
Which commercial sectors are expected to adopt VR? Again Goldman Sachs have done some of the heavy lifting and as you can see in the chart below there are several areas that are expected to adopt VR, perhaps most notable is the real-estate market where VR technology is expected to literally transform the home selling/buying experience over the next ten years.
Companies are beginning to use VR technology for case studies, product announcements, CSR initiatives and more. As VR technology becomes more widely adopted, both B2C and B2B buyers will seek out companies that offer interesting virtual experiences and these will become industry leaders in the years ahead.
First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company