Before talking about the five big industries that will totally be disrupted by Virtual Reality, let me introduce you to what Virtual Reality actually is. This is because it has come to my attention that there are a few (actually very many) who still cannot wrap their heads around this newbie called Virtual Reality. In the simplest way I can imagine how, Virtual Reality is the new way to watch videos. We all know about watching videos through casting light on a wall using technologies like projectors, then on television sets, computer screens, and smartphone screens etc.
In recent times, watching videos on those platforms improved to 3D experiences where you put on some 3D video glasses and you can see people and objects fly off the screens towards or away from you. For example, the 3D video can “cheat” your brain that a bullet shot in the movie is actually going to hit you, or a dracula is flying to bite your neck, and some other crazy but scary stuff. If you haven’t watched a 3D movie, I advice you to visit iMax and experience what I am trying to say.
Now, Virtual Reality is the technology that takes the 3D movie experience a notch higher, it takes you right into the action. It is the technology that will make you be in the house where a scene is being acted. Instead of watching the movie from a screen otherwise called the fourth-wall, you will watch it right where the actions are taking place. If the scene is a street where the characters are walking as they talk, you will be right beside them in the same street, watching them as you walk along with them. If the dialogue or sex scene is happening in an indoor setting, then Virtual Reality will enable you to be inside the same room with the actors to watch the actions from right inside the room. Whichever scene of a movie you can imagine, Virtual Reality will take you right inside it and experience the movie as if you were right there – be it in the forest, or driveway, or in Air Force One …
Also read: VR sex is real sex
Starting this year, more of the tech talk are and will be about Virtual Reality. This is the year top Virtual Reality products like HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Sony Playstation VR, Microsoft Hololens together with some not so high end Virtual Reality headsets like the Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard took Virtual Reality Mainstream. These Virtual Reality headsets and the entire Virtual Reality Ecosystem (The 360 degrees videos/photos, Apps, and other hardware) are already disrupting certain industries, and there are five big industries that will totally be disrupted by Virtual Reality and these include:
- Travel and Tourism
- Sales and Marketing
- Virtual Communication and Social Media
How Entertainment is being Disrupted by Virtual Reality
In my description of Virtual Reality above, I have mentioned how Virtual Reality will change the movie experience – where Virtual Reality will enable viewers to be right where the movie action is happening. The same applies to Music, Sports, and Video Games. Virtual Reality will allow music lovers to attend music concerts happening anywhere in the world without having to buy travel tickets to attend the concerts. For example, if Adele is performing her great Hello tune in the heart of New York, the Adele fans in the heart of Nairobi will only need to buy the virtual concert tickets, put on their Virtual Reality headset and within seconds they’ll be right inside the concert just like any other person who went there in real physical (non-virtual) life.
For the Chelsea, Man U and Arsenal fans, I know that you have longed for a day you will be able to afford the air ticket, afford the hotel and accommodation fees, and afford the match tickets in order to watch your team play the rival, live. Virtual Reality is the technology that will allow you to attend that match, live, without having to pay for the Air ticket, hotel and accommodation, and match ticket. Maybe you will only be required to pay a few dollars e.g. $50 to access the match online in a Virtual Reality format. That is, Virtual Reality will allow you to virtually travel from your coach to be in the stadium just like any other person who went there physically.
Although I am describing these things as though they will happen in the future, virtual reality sporting is already happening. As reported by Fortune.com in 2015, a startup called LiveLike VR “built a virtual stadium so friends from around the block or around the world can watch sports together in virtual reality”. “Sports is not about being ‘on the field’ for the whole game, it’s about being able to hang with your friends, doing stuff while there’s a two-minute timeout, seeing replays, stats, and more,” Andre Lorenceau, CEO and founder of LiveLike VR, says. “We are also focused on infrastructure, with building the capabilities to connect with friends or strangers, multiple ‘channels’ to watch from, statistical interfaces. There’s a whole system that needs to be created before we watch sports in VR, and we’re getting close to finalizing that.”
On the music front, we read in January this year that “Universal Music Group (UMG) partnered with US radio and events giant iHeartMedia to create a series of virtual reality (VR) music experiences designed to ‘connect artists, music fans and brands and sponsors’” as was reported by Tim Ingham in MusicBusinessWorldWide.com. A website that I have not tested called Firestormviewer.com already allows you to “Enjoy free live music in virtual reality”. If you sign up today, you will “join millions of people using the largest-ever 3D virtual world” to attend several Virtual Reality music concerts.
Finally on Entertainment we have the gaming industry that is already being disrupted by Virtual Reality. All the Virtual Reality Platforms in existence today offer gaming as the primary content that can be enjoyed right after purchase. When contents for sports, music, movies, education, travel and tourism, sales and marketing, medicine, and any other content that can be disrupted by Virtual Reality are yet to be ready, there are already thousands of games that you and I can play using Virtual Reality technologies right here right now. On gaming and just like in any other industry, what Virtual Reality enables you to do is to be right inside the game. If it is a war game, you won’t be controlling the game by pressing some consoles as you watch your avatar being attacked, but you will be right in the game avoiding being attacked.