Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Magic Leap, Google Daydream View, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR have created immense buzz about the potential of Virtual Reality (VR). VR has been met with great excitement and an equal amount of exaggeration over how quickly the average person will adopt the new technology.
If the Pokémon Go phenomenon taught us anything, it's that millions of people are ready to embrace some form of augmented or virtual reality. However, it is still hard to picture what it might be like to use VR on a daily basis in life or at work.
Here are 20 innovative ways companies are using virtual reality.
- Live Nation will live stream 10 concerts via the Live Nation Channel on the NextVR app that's compatible with Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift headsets.
- Six Flags Over Georgia debuted North America's first VR coaster where riders wear Samsung Gear VR headsets and become co-pilots on their own virtual fighter jets in a futuristic battle to save Earth.
- YouVisit creates VR tours of colleges to enhance the traditional university campus tour with rich-media, video content, and 360-degree panoramic views.
- Altoura VR creates One-Touch VR tours and experiences for the commercial real estate industry.
- Lowe's created Holoroom where shoppers provide the dimensions of a room and can then see a VR mock-up of their renovation plans. Shoppers can then port the design plan to Google Cardboard and take the VR mock-up home.
- Rukkus, a VR ticket vendor, allows customers to see their seat via a VR depiction of the entertainment venue or sports arena before they decide to buy the tickets.
- BMW's Motorrad Vision Next100 concept motorcycle uses VR goggles to provide the rider active feedback about road conditions.
- Altspace VR allows participants to watch live debates virtually where attendees are represented as avatars and emojis are used to express reactions.
- Formula E recently released four VR highlight packages of their best races where viewers can choose different camera angles.
- Toms Shoes created the "A Walk In Their Shoes" VR campaign that shows the journey of one Toms customer meeting a child in Colombia.
- In the 2016 NBA finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers gave out cardboard VR headsets (that also doubled as beer carriers) for attendees to experience player intros, a look inside the locker room, and a court side view of the national anthem.
- Cirque du Soleil's traveling Kurious puts VR users in the center of the action via a 360-degree camera in the center of the performance.
- GeoVegas offers 360 video of Las Vegas attractions, hotels and more.
- North Face brings the wilderness inside by allowing shoppers to view VR videos of rock climbing in Yosemite via VR headsets inside their stores.
- Marriott "redefined the future of travel" by delivering a VR experience via an Oculus Rift headset inside a special Teleporter station.
- Ikea immerses users in a VR kitchen where they can walk around freely, open drawers and redecorate.
- Toyota created an Oculus Rift app to raise awareness about distract driving among teens.
- Europe's biggest tour operator Thomas Cook used Samsung Gear headsets to show potential travelers their dream vacation by transporting them via VR.
- eBay launched the "world's first virtual reality department store" where shoppers can look through thousands of products and select items using only sight via Samsung's Gear VR.
- New York Times VR allows users to experience stories reported by award-winning journalists via an immersive, 360-degree video experience.
Although the above are interesting uses of VR, the first live demo in VR that Mark Zuckerberg performed on October 6th at Oculus Connect showcases the most compelling case of what it will actually be like to hang out with friends, collaborate with colleagues, take a virtual selfie and, of course, post to Facebook.