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Norbert Kytka, Headquarters PlattlingContact
When you think about virtual reality (VR), the first thing that might come to mind might be how gamers dreams have come true, finally being able to immerse themselves fully in a virtual game world. In fact, that’s exactly what virtual reality is: a real-time representation of an interactive virtual world through a computer program. However, the technology also has important implications for the corporate world. In order to use VR, though, you need specially developed output devices, typically VR goggles.
You also need special input devices to combine user interactions with the virtual world, and special VR software. It is much simpler to use Augmented Reality (AR). As the name suggestions, this involves adding virtual components to a real physical object. An app on your smartphone or tablet is often all you need to use this technique. Despite – or perhaps because of – this, augmented reality is becoming at least as important as virtual reality.
The most obvious use of VR technology is operating simulations for machines such as airplanes and cranes. Personnel can be trained in operating the machines with no physical risks. However, virtual reality also has significant added value to offer R&D for prototype creation and evaluation. The technology can also create new opportunities for retail. Customers can stroll through virtual shops on the Internet, getting a precise view of the range available in the shop... all from the comfort of their own home. Retail is already using augmented reality apps, where, for example, the customer can photograph their living room with their smartphone camera,
and then use augmented reality to place a sofa at the desired location in the room. This helps determine whether the item of furniture will fir with the decor and arrangement of the room – a service that doesn’t just increase customer satisfaction, but also reduces returned products Augmented reality also has much to offer in the production environment: an untrained employee can superimpose work steps on their tablet or AR goggles for an item to be worked or to repair a defective system.
There are already numerous opportunities for using virtual and augmented reality. It will be exciting to see how these technologies are put to work in future.