Virtual reality is really just starting out in its journey, even for a technology that seems to have been around for a long period of time, it is already more than just a plaything for people to immerse themselves in.
The industry now is totally focused on the visual – everyone is trying to work out how to use the 360 field of view to effectively communicate stories, comedy, play games, experience music, in essence, how to best use it for its visual entertainment value.
The potential of VR goes far beyond that. The technology is on the verge of something new and brilliant as it figures out how to best use spatial audio and 3D sound. When the combination of VR imagery and VR sound is perfected, then things will really start to happen.
People will then experience sight and sound more realistically in the new environment.
It's not all about entertainment
But VR will not be purely about the entertainment industries. It will become the new interface to the most progressive operating systems, so instead of using a typical desktop or mobile phone device, people will have a VR experience that gives them as many choices as they can imagine into any application they choose.
VR will be used to help people learn, to help medicine develop, to help individuals see those things in life they might never have a chance to experience for real.
When VR is combined with AI voice activation, and becomes an everyday part of everyone’s landscape, anything is possible
Right now VR is already being harnessed to deliver real-time, streamed news footage direct to the consumer through web locations like Jaunt, Discovery VR, or CNN VR.
Comedy and drama are going to experience a whole new era of experimentation.
But the sectors of entertainment which I believe to be the most obvious to be benefitted by VR is live music and sports. When you can be on stage with the band or on the field with the striker, interest will explode and producers will have no choice but to swoop in and fill the need for more VR content.
The challenges for virtual reality
However, VR faces a couple of hurdles before such heights can be reached.
One is the goggles you have to wear to experience VR properly, the second is that mobile VR is still not as high quality as say HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, but to experience those you need to be attached to a computer.
And finally, in my opinion there won’t be a genuine escalation of VR usage until a mega company, like Disney, releases a huge movie in VR only. That's why I believe that AR (augmented reality) and MR (mixed reality) may have more immediate impact on the field.
But huge steps are being taken in all areas of media manipulation using VR, not just video and audio, but art and design as well. With tools like the Google Tilt Brush, design in virtual reality is now happening, and those designs are also a window into what else is possible in world of VR.
When VR is combined with AI voice activation, and becomes an everyday part of everyone’s landscape, anything is possible. Everything is open to change.
From medicine, to remote procedures, to visual manuals, to replacing the human element from dangerous jobs, then you will begin to see the true impact of the way VR can change the future.
As with all new major technology, it will face the sceptics who are reluctant to embrace the change. And not until VR clearly demonstrates that it can help make lives better will those sceptics be silenced.
So, what is seen as television and traditional media will be completely transformed into something else entirely.
Everything will be online. And once that happens, all the newest forms of content creation and consumption will be able to live alongside what we know as linear distribution (even though it's digital). VR, AR, and MR will combine with social media in a huge way.
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