Tweens and teens have been begging for VR headsets since they first hit the market but the impact of virtual reality goes far beyond the gaming industry. VR is finding its way into countless industries, changing how we do business, brainstorm new ideas, and even test products. Let’s take a look at how 15 major industries utilise VR.
 
VR has applications in many industries, revolutionising how people shop, learn, and even perform surgery. Industries utilising VR technology include:
  1. Architecture
  2. Art
  3. Automotive
  4. Education
  5. Fitness
  6. Medical
  7. Mental Health
  8. Recruitment
  9. Real Estate
  10. Wellness
  11. Workplace Training
 
Virtual reality is often stereotyped as just an avenue of escapism. It is held up as a place where people can invent an entire fantasy life that is wholly detached from their actual circumstances. But VR can help bring ideas to life while saving costs and providing a safer environment in the workplace, military, and even on the operating table.

15 Industries Utilising VR Technology

Modeling and simulations have long been part of many industries, but VR enhances it, bringing greater accuracy and precision. This doesn’t just help experts in professions such as architecture and medicine, but helps those with anxiety face their fears in a safe environment while making physical therapy fun for people managing frustrating physical conditions.

1 – Architecture Utilizing VR

3D modeling isn’t exactly new to architecture. However, seeing a tiny dollhouse version of an idea pales to walking through a full-scale replica. VR brings designs alive so clients can see and experience the concept.
 
This has smoothed communication between client and designer, improving overall design satisfaction. Now modifications can be made and checked without constructing another bulky model. Architects don’t have to try to get somebody to understand why something won’t work; they can show them, minimising disappointment, regrets, and nasty surprises in the finished result.

Using VR For Interior Design

Similar to architecture, interior design hugely benefiting from VR technology. Clients no longer have to try to follow a designer’s vision but they can experience it through a VR headset, getting an authentic look and feel for the proposed project. The concept is so solid that companies like Flipspaces position their entire brand on the VR experience.

2 – Art Utilising VR

One of the most restricting aspects of being an artist is space. Having room to create costs in an industry that is notoriously underpaid or tries to pay in “exposure.” But VR is giving creative minds space without having to sell your soul for an abandoned warehouse.
 
Even children and hobby artists are being given the pace to expand their imaginations and possibilities through VR. Programs like Tilt Brush and Masterpiece Studio widen options, allowing what might have been a 2D project into a full-size 3D extravaganza.

3 – Automotive Industry Utilising VR

Car manufacturers have been able to utilize VR in a number of ways. First, they can use them in design, much as architects use VR in their own field. Then they can take their prototype and run it in virtual tests, driving down the costs of testing and reducing the number of physical models that need to be created.
 
This same modeling is also being used to teach cars how to drive themselves, accelerating the smart car market.  As the computers become more adept in the simulations, the safer they will be when on the actual road.

4 – Education Sector Utilising VR

First computers entered the classroom, then the stampede of iPads, and now we have the dawn of VR. While it has yet to have the reach of the almighty iPad, the prospects are wide, such as allowing students to conduct science experiments even if they don’t have access to the equipment or materials, such as euthanised frogs.
 
Programs like Foretell Reality can also help students work on public speaking without having to venture into the “public” until they’re ready. Then there is Harlem founded TechRow, which brings the universe to children. Through VR, students can explore Antarctica, the moon, circle a black hole or the Colosseum.
 
VR is also providing educators with alternatives to Zoom during the pandemic. Morehouse College, Martin Luther King Jr’s alma mater, to teach Biology and World History.

5 – Fitness & Physical Therapy Utilising VR

Gamers have said since its launch that playing Beat Saber is an excellent way to exercise since the game hit the VR world. But the gamification of getting in a workout has is now being fully embraced by the fitness community, with programs such as FitXRVZFIT, and Holofit. These programs help you meet specific fitness targets and goals.
 
Even more exciting is what VR is doing in the world of physical therapy. Exercises and treatments for CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome), Parkinson’s disease, and stroke recovery can be frustrating and demoralising at times. But the gamification of physical therapy turns a “chore” into a motivational and rewarding experience by places such as Neuro Rehab VR.

6 – Medical Field Utilising VR

VR is being used in a multitude of ways in the vast medical field. Two exciting developments are in pain management and surgery.

Using VR For Pain Management

The opioid epidemic has spurned the medical community to seek medication-free ways to help patients manage pain. In response, researchers have looked to how VR can be used to address this problem, including a study conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
 
Brennan Spiegel, who led the study, explained that VR “does more than just distract the mind from pain, but also helps block pain signals.”
 
Studies such as these are welcomed by chronic pain sufferers who often do not have their needs fully met by medication. Progress is being made with the FDA having recently approved the EaseVRx for pain relief for conditions such as fibromyalgia and lower back pain. The VR therapeutic program is conducted over 8 weeks and shows promising results.

Using VR In The Surgical Field

Medical modeling has been revolutionised by VR technology. According to Stanford Medicine, surgeons and medical residents have a way to train before performing a surgical procedure using simulations based on information gathered from MRIs, CT scans, and angiograms. This creates an accurate three-dimensional model based on the patient’s data, not general averages.
 
VR was also instrumental to Vicarious Surgical bringing robots into the surgical field. The system integrates the wisdom and experience of the surgeon with the precision capabilities of a robot, reducing the size of incisions and increasing accuracy. The surgeon is in charge via the VR headset as the robot makes the actual cut.

7 – Meetings, Conferences & Events Utilising VR

Zoom meetings are awkward and trying to host Zoom events and conferences is even more staining. But with pandemics and global political upheavals, travel isn’t always a practical way to bring people together either. VR is helping bring people together in a more realistic setting, where people can interact as if they are all in the same room.
 
Certain programs can provide the necessary tools to have a successful meeting, including whiteboards and turning drawings into 3D images that are easy for all participants to see without squinting into laptop screens. VR gatherings foster a more collaborative environment than other remote options while sparing people from hotel bookings and jet lag.

8 – Mental Health Treatments Utilising VR

The mental health industry is also finding VR a valuable tool in treating anxiety and post-trauma care. For example, Oxford VR has pioneered a program to help people working through social avoidance.
 
Oxford’s program allows people to go through simulated situations that trigger their symptoms, such as anxiety, while remaining in a safe space. By practicing these situations, people can push their boundaries and gain coping skills before venturing out into the real world.  This is similar to how VRET (virtual reality exposure therapy) is being used to help treat PTSD.

9 – Military Utilising VR

Tools such as flight simulators have long been a staple in military training but AR and VR are taking training possibilities further. AR and VR add a realistic dimension to training, allowing customisation of terrain and missions, all while making it safer.
 
But even outside of training, AR and VR technology is proving advantageous. For example, specialised goggles can allow soldiers to pinpoint their location without looking away to find the info on their wrist. They also enable command leaders to get a better perspective on missions before carrying them out.

10 – Real Estate Sector Utilising VR

Wide angled lenses and cropped photographs have made clients shy about buying from a distance, not to mention the expense of driving clients from place to place uses up valuable time for all concerned. Thankfully VR is changing that, allowing companies to provide clients with virtual tours that are accurate without anybody having to drive anyone around.

11 – Recruitment Agencies Utilising VR

Recruitment agencies are benefiting from VR by using it to find talent outside of their local catchment. They are no longer limited to phone interviews and email qualifications but can take prospective through virtual tours and see skills in action, even letting prospective interact in teams.

12 – Retail Sector Utilising VR

VR and AR are changing how customers shop. For example, furniture can be “tried out” at home before buying with a 3D virtual imagery. People can dress up their avatars before purchasing an outfit. Cars can even be taken for a test drive without any tires touching real roads.
 
The retail sector’s transition from bricks and mortar to the internet started over two decades ago but VR is taking it further, even taking Fashion Week into the Metaverse. VR attendees will be able to do it all: attend fashion shows, “wear” clothing, go to parties, and see a 3D rendered item in their home before committing to buy.
 
Meanwhile, Nike is embracing the virtual space. Their Nike Fit uses AR technology to ensure customers buy the correct shoe size. But they’re not satisfied in fitting their shoes onto human feet. Instead, Nike wants their shoes on feet in the Metaverse, too, and bought a virtual shoe company.

13 – Tourism Industry Utilising VR

Virtual tourism is translating to the real deal thanks to VR headsets. People can now experience a place through VR before booking the trip, confident that what they’ll see and experience isn’t just a fantasy constructed by carefully angled and cropped photographs.
 
VR is also allowing people to take tours not normally available to the average person. Examples include taking a tour of the moon without being an astronaut, climbing Mount Everest without being a mountaineer, or plunging to the ocean’s greatest depths without being a deep-sea diver.

14 – Wellness Industry Utilising VR

In yoga classes, it is standard practice to be reminded to have your phone off and focus on the “present.” Thus, bringing technology into the wellness industry seems like a clash rather than a benefit but during the pandemic, people were drawn to apps such as Calm and Headspace came into their own, while yoga classes had to move onto Zoom.
 
Suddenly, using technology to practice self-care and find grounding didn’t seem so far-fetched.  But unlike phones or computers, VR technology provides a fully immersive experience. This is the premise of Esqapes, which specializes in creating relaxing and rejuvenating environments that you can experience from your home via VR.
 
Then there is Escape Haven which whisks women to Bali without needing a plane ticket. Instead, clients sign up for a six-week program run by holistic professionals, and the entire retreat is attended through the power of VR.
 
But VR isn’t just used to from the comfort of clients’ homes. For instance, Relax VR brings the technology to spas, where clients can get a VR aesthetic experience while actual humans treat their bodies.

15 – Workplace Training Utilising VR

VR is lowering the cost and raising the effectiveness of workplace training. For instance, VR packages and systems are helping companies improve their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). As a result, the training process is faster, and employees are becoming more accurate and effective at executing it, raising quality output.
 
Research shows VR is also an excellent tool for training employees for safety procedures while reducing costs and lowering risk. For example, drills and training that may have been deemed too dangerous to conduct are now safe with VR, giving employees experience to draw upon should unfortunate events occur.

Conclusion

VR can be an avenue for escape and fun but it also has practical applications in numerous industries. It’s changing how people shop, train, learn, and even interact. Rather than keeping people from engaging with reality, it is improving reality. VR is helping us show and communicate our ideas to one another and provide safe spaces to practice our skills.