7 New Opportunities Virtual Reality May Create
Certain inventions spawn generations of successive employment for people doing jobs that no one has ever done before. VR may be one.
A bit more than hundred years ago, before the plane was invented, there was simply no such job as pilot, flight attendant or ground crew. There was no online booking of flights, no price comparison tools nor all the jobs that were created by them. The computer and Internet were still a long way in the future when the Wright brothers made their historic flight. Imagine how pleased they would be to see their contribution fully realized this way.
When a new invention comes to market, new jobs and new businesses are created, not only to operate the invention itself, but also to pop up to support and use it. Virtual Reality (VR) is going to be one such invention.
Here are seven possible businesses opportunities which might exist in a future because of VR.
1. Virtual reality developer.
VR development firms are already a real thing. The Oculus Rift experience library includes hundreds of titles and the number is growing every day.
With the increasing number of VC’s and Angel investors putting money into VR, developers are in high demand at the moment. This growth will continue for the next several years. With VR development education available and continuing investment in the industry, one can expect the appearance of software development firms focusing exclusively on VR.
2. Producing 360 Video.
Videos produced for 360-degree viewing are one of the most popular and accessible pieces of VR content at the moment. From a consumer perspective, 360 videos do not require an expensive headset and a PC to experience them. From a production perspective they are fairly inexpensive to produce compared to a fully immersive experience.
A few years ago there was no such a thing as a 360 video production company. Now there are more every year, producing some amazing content. All thanks to VR.
3. UI/UX designer for virtual reality.
When it comes to an immersive experience, one should not forget about the user. User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design are extremely important in mobile and desktop app development and are critical to VR. Good UX for VR will not only help the user to have a more enjoyable experience but also avoid motion sickness. Which is still a problem right now.
Currently there are no industry standards for UI and UX in VR. Eventually there will be. This is where the need for UI/UX designers and consulting firms for VR will arise.
4. VR therapy centers.
Currently 7.8 percent of the US population suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and 18 percent from anxiety. VR has been proven effective in the treatment of PTSD and anxiety disorders. Right now, VR is largely used for exposure therapy, gradually exposing people to the situation that triggers their anxiety or PTSD.
One might expect more therapists to use VR to help those in need. Likewise, expect to see dedicated VR therapy centers popping up across the country. It might be a soothing office with numerous small, yet comfortable rooms outfitted with VR hardware and trained technicians, with medical professionals prescribing and monitoring the user's experience.
5. VR addiction treatment centers.
No, this does not refer to utilization of VR to treat addiction. It means treating those who become addicted to VR, and in turn have difficulty functioning in the real world -- choosing instead to “live” in a virtual world. Back in 2014, the BBC discussed the very real possibility of VR users becoming addicted to the experience. One magazine went so far to ask, “Is VR our next hard drug?” Video games have been determined to be addictive. Imagine an immersive experience that captivates our mind even more? As the technology improves, both from a hardware and content perspective, it is very easy to understand that this could be a very real problem.
6. Payment systems for VR.
Retailers are dipping their toes into the virtual world as a means to combat declining in-store purchases. How will consumers pay? Will there be a virtual currency other than bitcoin that will be created and utilized in the virtual world? Who will manage it? Will a virtual currency market be created in which users can trade virtual currency whose value is tied to a real world currency?
Alibaba recently introduced VR Pay, a virtual-reality payment system that allows virtual reality shoppers to pay for items just by nodding. This begs the question, what other means of conducting virtual transactions will be created? Specifically as we understand how users interact in the virtual world, what will their spending habits be? Will people spend more than they mean to, since the purchase itself will not be real? What happens when a physical package arrives.
7. Law firms focused on VR.
A truly immersive virtual experience will be almost impossible to separate from the real world. Will real world laws and regulations be applied to the virtual world?
Licensing will be an issue. Multiple virtual worlds will be created, potentially an infinite amount. But most certainly some of those worlds will look like the one around you right now, complete with logos, music and video content all being played on virtual televisions in a virtual world.
One can envision a user's meeting in a virtual sports bar, complete with that night's baseball game and UFC fight. Major League Baseball and the UFC, along with every other major sports league and entertainment studio, will demand to protect their content. Laws governing the use of content and even personal brands (think Kim Kardashian) will eventually be rolled out to protect those who create (or who are) the content.
New inventions and technologies pave the way to entirely new industries and opportunities. It will be exciting to see what VR gives birth to.
Elena Titova is a serial entrepreneur and user experience expert based in New York City. She has been working in fintech, web and app development startups. Her areas of interest include Virtual Reality, business strategy and creative problem solving.