Virtual reality (VR) is already becoming an important part of our world, across a wide variety of industries and organizations.
But what will VR look like in the future?
Where is this revolutionary technology headed, and what unique challenges do business leaders face as they incorporate immersive VR for their customers and stakeholders?
The Vision for VR
In the future, as VR interfaces evolve, we’re likely to see even better VR accessories and technologies. Some of the things companies are working on include:
- Smaller, lighter, more comfortable headsets that include advanced features like eye-tracking
- Automatic hand tracking, without hand controllers
- Haptic accessories that bring a realistic sense of touch to the VR experience
- Ways of bringing the sense of smell (like food aromas, or even the smell of gunpowder) into the immersive experience
- Neural VR, so that users can manipulate objects and control moments in the virtual world purely through a brain-computer interface.
As far as applications and use cases are concerned, it seems as though the sky's the limit for the ways this flexible and creative technology.
Many industries are already using VR, including training and education, real estate, retail, travel and hospitality, manufacturing, and even law enforcement.
Without question, virtual reality technology will play a huge part in building the metaverse in the next few years or decades – and as they’re making decisions for how they want to expand their brands or businesses into the metaverse, business leaders need to factor in these likely upcoming advances.
But of course, the future is not all upside. Those considering the limitless potential of virtual reality must also weigh the possibilities against the future challenges.
Upcoming Challenges of VR
As tech companies build the metaverse and VR technology continues to evolve, business leaders will need to continually educate themselves about the potential issues of virtual reality, to make sure the downsides of this groundbreaking tech don’t outweigh the benefits for our society.
Above all, organizations need to minimize the risk of harm as they continue to incorporate VR technology into their business models.
For example, there are many moral and legal “gray areas” within the world of VR. What constitutes legal or acceptable behavior in a virtual space? Who makes those rules?
How is data handled within VR? Highly personal data from VR players can be open to misuse, so careful cybersecurity planning must be part of business leaders’ plans. Data privacy will become even more important as tech companies work together to create a connected metaverse where players’ avatars can move throughout worlds and games.
Are there longer-term health implications of using VR, like issues with motion sickness, eye health, or psychological impacts? What can be done to combat cyber-addiction, especially as the metaverse becomes an increasingly enticing place to hang out?
Business leaders must be aware of these personal and societal risks, and work hard to ensure their VR applications are responsible and ethical.
To learn more about virtual reality, check out my book, Extended Reality in Practice: 100+ Amazing Ways Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality Are Changing Business and Society.