How much is a Virtual Reality Headset?
Virtual reality is an incredibly cool technology that some gamers embrace. Virtual reality allows gamers to step inside the game and become part of the action. Gamers usually appear in the game world as avatars and can interact with other players. Not everyone has embraced this technology, and part of the reason may be related to the cost to explore virtual reality. True virtual reality technology requires the use of a headset, and this equipment can be expensive depending on the model. How much is a virtual reality headset? Here are the different available headsets and their prices: * Oculus Quest 2 $299.99 * Sony PlayStation VR ($269.99 or $887) * Valve Index VR Kit (Buy it via Steam for $999) * HTC Vive Cosmos ($666.40 or $699) * HTC Vive Pro2 ($799 or $1,399) WHAT HEADSET FITS A BUYER’S PRICE RANGE? The prices for these headsets can be mind-boggling for some consumers. There are two prices for several models, and these are noted as the prices for two different stores according to PC Magazine. Some models could be hard to find, and consumers might have to opt for the more expensive price tag. Each model has different pros and cons when reviewed by PC Magazine. For example, the publication explains that the HTC Vive Pro 2 has the best resolution but buyers will have to “mix and match components” The most affordable option on the list and the one that many consumers who want to dip a toe into the virtual world might consider is the Oculus Quest 2. Yes, this is the virtual reality headset launched by Meta (formerly Facebook). How much is a Virtual Reality Headset [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Exploring-the-Metaverse.jpg] EXPLORING THE METAVERSE The term metaverse is not a new term, and it’s certainly not a term that was coined by Meta. This high-tech virtual world, though, could be the future. However, the gateway into the metaverse also might include less than obvious portals like augmented reality. Virtual reality technology and headsets might be the purest form of the metaverse experience. Whether consumers are investing in high-end or budget-friendly headsets, the site Steam is the hub that virtual reality users visit to expand their virtual worlds. Steam is a site that lets owners of virtual reality tech download games and other virtual reality experiences. Think of Steam as a sort of App Store or Google Play for virtual reality. The site states that it’s compatible with “Vive, Rift, Windows Mixed Reality, or other PC VR headset.” Those new to virtual reality games can explore all types of options. Users can practice yoga in virtual reality and even step into an Electrician Simulator. Some games and experiences via Steam are free. Others need to be purchased. Prices range per game or experience. The site updates often to include the most popular titles; currently, the five most popular games/experiences that are the top sellers include: * God of War * Monster Hunter Rise * Valve Index VR Kit * Project Zomboid * Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach FINDING GAMES AND EXPERIENCES FOR THE OCULUS QUEST 2 Users of the Oculus Quest 2 can search for games or experiences via the Oculus Quest Store. Again, think of a typical App Store or Google Play environment. Quest users also can buy starter packs for their headsets in the online store. Like Steam, some games and experiences are free, but others need to be purchased. Prices via the Oculus Quest Store vary. Some titles might be available via Steam and the Oculus Quest Store. The top-selling games/experiences for Quest include these five titles: * Beat Saber * Blade & Sorcery: Nomad * Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted * The Thrill of the Fight * Job Simulator How much is a Virtual Reality Headset [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Is-Augmented-Reality-the-Future-of-the-Metaverse.jpg] IS AUGMENTED REALITY THE FUTURE OF THE METAVERSE? According to an article on Wired, augmented reality may be the future of the metaverse. Wired interviewed John Hanke, CEO and founder of Niantic Labs, the company that launched Pokémon GO. Hanke’s vision of the metaverse is augmented instead of a dystopian virtual reality structure. When asked by Wired why he referred to the metaverse as dystopian (this was a reference to Hanke’s article “The Metaverse Is a Dystopian Nightmare. Let’s Build a Better Reality.”), Hanke discussed how the idea removes humans from happiness. “It takes us away from what fundamentally makes us happy as human beings. We’re biologically evolved to be present in our bodies and to be out in the world,” Hanke told Wired. “The tech world that we’ve been living in, as exacerbated by Covid, is not healthy. We’ve picked up bad habits—kids spending all day playing Roblox or whatever. And we’re extrapolating that, saying, “Hey, this is great. Let’s do it 10 times.” That scares the daylights out of me.” Augmented reality may, in fact, become the metaverse. Perhaps even Meta knows this. The company is focused and committed to virtual reality and augmented reality tech. In fact, Meta has a vision to launch augmented reality smart glasses. While many tech experts have been quietly—or not so quietly—waiting, hoping and waiting some more for Apple to launch its first pair of augmented reality glasses, could Meta launch them first? It could be a possibility. Meta recently launched the Ray-Ban Stories glasses in partnership with the sunglasses giant. While these glasses don’t include augmented reality, they allow users to take pictures and video, too. Augmented reality glasses—once they finally emerge for the consumer market—might be the primary entryway into the future metaverse. DO CONSUMERS NEED A VIRTUAL REALITY HEADSET TO ENTER THE METAVERSE? Even the least expensive virtual reality headset is around $300. Other headsets are even more expensive investments. When the base price is several hundred dollars to enter the virtual reality metaverse, consumers might wonder if any cheaper points of entry exist. Are virtual reality goggles the only way to explore the metaverse? True virtual reality requires goggles or some type of headset device to immerse the user into the virtual realm or metaverse. While many people refer to experiences like ‘virtual learning’ or ‘virtual conferences,’ often the term virtual simply translates to not in person. Conferencing via platforms like Zoom aren’t true virtual reality, however aspects of augmented reality may be involved. For example, if a user adds a background behind them to appear as though they are on the beach, those graphics are a form of augmented reality. If augmented reality is the possible future of the metaverse, users can already explore the augmented form of this universe for free. Niantic Labs created Pokémon GO, and the game is one of the most popular augmented reality games available for phones and tablets. Whether a user has an Android or Apple device, they can download Pokémon GO. The game is free on both platforms. For individuals who don’t want to invest in a headset to explore virtual reality, they can simply take out their phone and play augmented reality games like hunting for little Pokémon characters. However, both Google Play (for Android) and the App Store all have a long list of augmented reality experiences to download for free or at a fairly low price. In addition, augmented reality games can be hidden in merchandise and food and drinks, too. For those who love wine, many wine bottles include augmented reality experiences on their labels. Just download an app and use the camera on the phone or tablet to capture the image of the label. Like magic, the user can immerse in games and other experiences. Students in different grade levels might now be interacting with the metaverse via augmented reality. The app SkyView Lite uses augmented reality to show details about the sky; students can learn more about constellations and other celestial bodies just by viewing the sky through their camera lens. The app Seek by iNaturalist lets users explore nature all around them. Use the camera to view a plant, animal or bug, and the app will identify it. All these apps are simple and fun intros into the world of augmented reality and maybe even the metaverse. IS VIRTUAL REALITY IRRELEVANT? If Hanke believes that the metaverse could be augmented, does that mean that virtual reality might expire? Not necessarily. The metaverse is only just developing. While Meta might play their own role in developing this virtual space, other tech companies may create their own metaverse, too. The metaverse might not be one world but it may be expansive and involve different iterations developed by different companies. There could be an Apple metaverse, a Meta metaverse, a Niantic Labs metaverse, etc. Virtual reality could be its own unique metaverse. Perhaps those who prefer to have more immersive experiences choose a virtual reality world, while those that want to hold on to aspects of their own environment choose a hybrid metaverse that features augmented reality. IS VIRTUAL REALITY WORTH THE INVESTMENT? Whether or not consumers choose to invest in virtual reality headsets is really their own choice. Not everyone can afford this technology, but those who can afford it can immerse in some really amazing experiences and games. Virtual reality is a different world. The user steps into the action and becomes part of the game and experience. Through virtual reality, the user may really feel the action. For many gamers, this heightened experience is very much worth the investment cost.
How Consumers Can Access a Virtual Reality Experience without Buying a Headset
Virtual reality is one access point to the realm known as the metaverse. If the term sounds familiar, it’s because Facebook has rebranded as Meta, Inc. The name nods to the ‘metaverse,’ and the company has expressed its commitment to developing this new alternate universe. While augmented reality dips a toe into a meta world, virtual reality exists firmly in the metaverse. Unfortunately, accessing a virtual reality experience typically requires a headset, which can be costly and cumbersome. However, consumers don’t necessarily need to own a headset to enjoy a virtual reality experience. In fact, virtual reality is more accessible than most consumers realize. Here are five virtual reality experiences for consumers that want to explore the metaverse but that, perhaps, don’t want to spend hundreds on a new headset or goggles. GOOGLE CARDBOARD With Google Cardboard, the smartphone can transform into a virtual reality headset. While this experience isn’t free, it is very inexpensive. Google Cardboard headsets can be purchased in a range of prices, and several cost less than $10. How do consumers know which Cardboard option is best? Choose the option that fits the smartphone screen. Feeling DIY inspired? Google also offers instructions online on how to build a viewer from basic items found around the home. Or make a list from the tutorial and visit a hardware store. After building or receiving the viewer, consumers can download the Google Cardboard app via the App Store or Google Play and start enjoying virtual reality experiences! Virtual Reality Experience [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Virtual-Reality-Spa-Experiences.jpg] VIRTUAL REALITY SPA EXPERIENCES Virtual reality experiences are now used to enhance spa treatments. While virtual reality isn’t being used as a treatment, it is being utilized to help guests relax and enjoy a more immersive state of relaxation. Virtual reality headsets allow guests to enjoy a getaway of their choice. Guests can transport to a lush paradise or another scenic environment as they sit in a massage chair. The experience is called Esquapes Immersive Relaxation and also uses fans combined with heat lamps to create a more realistic virtual—and warm!—getaway. VIRTUAL REALITY GAMES Local adventure parks often include virtual reality games or other experiences. Many charge a fee for participating, but for those who want to experience virtual reality without committing to a headset, these games and experiences are great options. To find virtual reality offerings, just search for “virtual reality experiences near me” on Google. Or ask a virtual assistant via a smartphone. Yes, it’s really that easy. And many major cities will offer something virtual! Virtual Reality Experience [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Virtual-Reality-Museum-Experiences.jpg] VIRTUAL REALITY MUSEUM EXPERIENCES Some museums offer virtual reality experiences to allow guests to immerse in an art or other exhibit. These experiences vary but are a unique way to explore an exhibit or work of art. Some exhibits are even virtual by design! Museum Next included a round-up of different museums offering virtual reality and how each has utilized this technology to enhance their exhibits. For example, the V&A used virtual reality for its Curious Alice exhibit, which focused on the “…origins, adaptations and reinventions…” of the classic adventures by Lewis Carroll. The virtual experience transports the visitor into Wonderland. Go on quests, solve riddles (from the Caterpillar, of course) and interact with the characters. There’s even a game of croquet with the Queen of Hearts, because a visit into the mad world of Wonderland wouldn’t be complete without a game of croquet. Grab a flamingo! The Louvre’s dip into virtual reality also was highlighted by Museum Next. The Louvre created a virtual reality experience focused on Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Users can download the app ‘Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass’ via Google Play or the App Store. However, users must have access to Google Cardboard or a virtual reality headset to explore the app. VIRTUAL TOURS Stuck at home with nothing to do? Let virtual reality be the exit to another experience…or to another part of the world. While many museums offer virtual reality experiences as part of an exhibit, many offer virtual tours, too. There is no need for a headset to take a virtual tour. However, users will need access to their computer…or a smartphone or tablet. Virtual tours aren’t true virtual reality. That is, without a headset or goggles, the user doesn’t feel completely transported. Yet, tours are virtual in that they allow the user to explore the museum from home. Virtual tours can let users explore different exhibits in detail or just feel as though they are walking down the corridors of the museum, looking up at paintings or other artwork. The Sistine Chapel allows those at home to view Michelangelo’s artwork on the Chapel’s ceiling. Use the mouse (or the finger) to navigate through this historic and wondrous site. Directional arrows via the virtual tour allow users to get closer to different areas of the Chapel (and artwork by different artists). Or rotate the tour upwards to view the ceiling. Other museums include virtual tours of exhibits or may even allow guests to schedule more immersive and lengthy private virtual tours led by a personal tour guide from the museum. Different museums may provide unique experiences and offerings. However, those who are interested in exploring virtual reality experiences at local museums might want to visit their websites first. Many virtual tours are accessible via the museum’s website or there may be additional information related to virtual tours posted online as well. Virtual Reality Experience [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Virtual-Reality-Experience-for-Shopping.jpg] VIRTUAL REALITY EXPERIENCE FOR SHOPPING? Consumers might find themselves stuck at home during a rainy or snowy day but still want to go shopping or at least window shop. Most consumers know that online shopping is a convenient way to order what they need and find what they want; many stores even allow consumers to buy online and ship to the store (often for free!). Plus, online shopping is open and accessible rain or shine. But is online shopping virtual reality? Not quite. Many people use the term ‘virtual’ to describe an experience that doesn’t take place in person or at a physical location. However, the metaverse still can be used to aid shoppers in their online experiences. Virtual reality hasn’t yet hit mainstream popularity. Many individuals at home don’t have access to virtual reality headsets or goggles. And while stores could offer virtual experiences at their physical locations, what about online shopping? Can virtual reality be used to help shoppers online? These completely virtual experiences aren’t yet common. Although they could be in the future. Perhaps if Meta releases a very affordable virtual reality headset, it’s possible that the metaverse could be used for shopping. Perhaps malls go virtual. However, the metaverse is accessible via another technology that’s very similar to virtual reality. Augmented reality combines the real world environment and the metaverse. Using the camera on a smartphone or tablet, the user visualizes the real world, and augmented reality apps then overlay graphics into this environment. Since augmented reality combines the real world with graphics, the technology is popular for ‘try on’ experiences that allow consumers to preview products. The camera can be used as a window or a mirror. For example, the user can capture their own face via the camera and an augmented reality try on experience can let them virtually swipe on makeup hues or even hair colors! These experiences also let the consumer explore and enjoy products in new ways. And they also could decrease the likelihood of a return. After all, if an individual can preview a lipstick color, they can decide if the color flatters their complexion. Or if it’s a big no. Before augmented reality experiences became more mainstream, the consumer had to guess about products. Now, though, augmented reality lets consumers drop furniture into a room to see if it fits. Or try on a pair of eyeglasses. Paint colors can even be previewed on walls. While augmented reality doesn’t transport the user to another realm, it does mix reality with the metaverse. The furniture that is virtually placed into a room doesn’t really exist. It’s just a depiction. A computer graphic. But could virtual reality be used to create even more immersive experiences in the future? That might depend on the future of virtual reality. For many consumers, virtual reality headsets aren’t practical or affordable. Some consumers might not even enjoy virtual reality, as the experience could make them feel sick or induce a headache. However, if the headsets become more mainstream, perhaps more affordable, then maybe the metaverse could expand to include virtual shopping experiences. The future of the metaverse, though, also may be a long way off. While Meta (the company) is interested in furthering these experiences, consumers could see different iterations of the metaverse. Or different metaverse destinations that are branded by different tech companies. Apple could deploy its own metaverse with virtual reality experiences. There could be a Google metaverse. And a Facebook metaverse…or, rather, a Meta metaverse. For now, though, augmented reality could be the easiest way for consumers to enjoy a semi-virtual experience without the headset or maybe even the headache. However, for those who really want to fully immerse into a virtual world and leave reality behind, stepping into virtual reality might be as easy as visiting a local museum or even a spa. And for those who wish to deploy virtual reality without an expensive headset, Google Cardboard could be the cheapest ticket to the fully virtual metaverse!
Why Virtual Reality Goggles are Getting Cheugy
Pumpkin spiced lattes, skinny jeans, side parts, graphic tees. The commonality? Their cheugy status. While these once cool trends were often associated with the younger generation known as Millennials, Generation Z is up and coming. They don’t wear skinnies. They prefer the middle part. And maybe they’re also not really donning virtual reality goggles. Yes, we might need to admit an uncomfortable tech truth. Virtual reality goggles might be getting cheugy! Except Millennials never really embraced virtual reality with zeal. The New York Times was a bit kinder in noting that the tech is “niche.” A few years back, Inc. wrote about how virtual reality could be used to reach Gen Z. And while this immersive tech is the type of experience Gen Z likes, the problem with virtual reality is the gateway into it: the virtual reality goggles. The headsets or goggles—call them what you will—have never really been sleek or stylish. They’re clunky. They often connect with cumbersome wiring. Some are insanely expensive. Even years after Inc. wrote about the allure of virtual reality and augmented reality, not much has changed for the design of virtual reality headsets. But augmented reality? That’s another story. Tech writers aren’t necessarily buzzing consistently about virtual reality headsets. They are, however, waiting for the drop of consumer-driven augmented reality glasses. These may be the promise of the future. The sleek visual link to a fully immersive world. And one that isn’t tethered to wires or other equipment. Virtual reality goggles might need to be cancelled. At least in their common iterations. They’re evolving but not really evolving. Their clunkiness has not really improved over time, and, while this is fine for enterprise uses like employee training and simulations, is it really what the younger audience is desiring? Oculus is one of the most popular virtual reality consumer headsets on the market. It’s also the most affordable. In the last quarter of 2020, Statista reported that more than a million headsets were sold. In the first quarter of 2021, sales dropped to around 850,000. Fourth quarter, of course, correlates with the holidays. The sales drop isn’t horrific. Oculus isn’t hurting. But does the traditional headset need a facelift? A redesign? And could that be in the future? Oculus is owned by Facebook, now known as Meta. The company has been very outspoken—as has its founder—about the future of immersive technology. Meta is interested in creating an entire metaverse, but the question is will virtual reality be a part of it? Or will augmented reality augment this universe? Meta’s home page includes both augmented and virtual reality possibilities. Oculus also is included. But will the standard Oculus headset be the gateway into Meta’s metaverse? Or will consumers see something much more astounding and cutting edge from Meta? Virtual Reality Goggles [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/The-Problem-with-Virtual.jpg] THE PROBLEM WITH VIRTUAL Virtual reality comes with a few problematic features for some consumers. Virtual reality isn’t—right now—necessarily financially accessible. Oculus tends to be one of the more budget-friendly headsets at around $300, but for many individuals and families this isn’t affordable especially since virtual reality is largely seen as entertainment. Consumers don’t need virtual reality. It isn’t essential to everyday life. Thus, the investment really isn’t alluring for those who can’t afford it. In order for technology to really become mainstream, it needs to be equitable and affordable but it also needs to be necessary. Right now, virtual reality isn’t a necessary technology. It isn’t a smartphone. It isn’t a computer. Virtual reality isn’t yet a means of connection. Virtual reality also isn’t embraceable for every consumer. The technology requires a headset to immerse into the experience, and this experience tricks the brain into thinking that movement or other actions are occurring when the body remains at rest. The issue with this is that some individuals suffer from nausea or other sickness because of sensory miscommunication. Their brain and body aren’t in sync. They feel nauseated, they may suffer from headaches or feel dizzy. Similar reactions can happen with modern 3D movies. The headsets are the only way to access the virtual realm. And, for some consumers, the discomfort and price of the headset just isn’t worth the admission into a virtual realm. While virtual reality headsets have improved over the years, they’re still bulky and clunky. And many are still tethered by wires, which can make those models cumbersome. THE METAVERSE AND VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY So is virtual reality done? No! Virtual reality as a technology isn’t cheugy. Virtual reality isn’t the problem; the headsets are the problem. The issues of access are the problem. And this is where the metaverse and the buzz about glasses enter the picture. Creating an entire metaverse isn’t going to happen overnight. And how that world will look is only really understood by Meta and the imagination of those who will be creating it. Yet, if consumers and younger generations are going to want to jump into this realm, the access might need to be a bit more visually appealing…and financially feasible. If the metaverse is going to be the future of connection, the access into it will need to be comfortable for the consumer. And, obviously, not cost prohibitive. The beginning of this technology will probably be experienced by those who can afford the technology to access it. However, if the metaverse or this type of technology becomes mainstream, tech companies might develop more affordable glasses to see into this world. As Meta is developing its metaverse, though, what of Apple, Google, Microsoft and others? Could there be multiple different realms branded by each company? And would or could each company offer its own pair of either augmented or virtual reality glasses that can be used to immerse into these experiences? Virtual Reality Goggles [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Augmented-Reality-Glasses.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY GLASSES The development of augmented reality glasses may change the immersive consumer experience. Microsoft has stated its intent to create a consumer version of HoloLens, which features augmented reality. Most everyone knows Meta’s commitment to immersive technology. And the buzz around augmented reality glasses from Apple has been around for quite some time. Glasses—sleek and probably unique to each company—might be what usurps the virtual reality goggles or headset. And, again, this isn’t assuming that virtual reality will go away or disappear. However, accessing the technology could change. Perhaps augmented reality glasses give way to glasses that also allow entrance into virtual reality. Or maybe these glasses become the access point to mixed reality experiences. The race is on between the tech giants regarding who will debut the first consumer-driven augmented reality glasses. However, this debut could mark the turning point for augmented reality to solidify the virtual reality goggle’s cheugy status. The debut of augmented reality glasses also could be a call to tech companies for redesigning virtual reality headsets to make them sleeker, less cumbersome and, hopefully, more affordable, too…and save them from cheugy. VIRTUAL REALITY WITHOUT THE HEADSET For consumers who want to experience virtual reality without donning those cumbersome and not-so-cool headsets or goggles, there are a few options. Unfortunately, those options aren’t true virtual reality. The definition of virtual is sometimes very loose. Some consumers consider anything that doesn’t take place in-person to be ‘virtual.’ Like virtual learning or virtual meetings. True virtual reality takes place in a virtual realm; everything in this realm is graphically generated. There isn’t any real world overlap. Without a headset or goggles, entering the virtual realm isn’t really feasible. However, those who want an immersive experience that isn’t virtual reality can opt for augmented reality experiences. Augmented reality is very much accessible for most consumers; all that’s needed is a smartphone or tablet. Explore augmented reality games or use augmented reality tools to preview products. Consumers experience augmented reality by using their phone or tablet camera to view the real world; the app will display the augmented reality data into the real environment. Augmented reality overlays digital graphics on top of the real world; it can sometimes mix fantasy with reality. Pokemon might not really exist, but thanks to augmented reality they appear in the real world. While virtual reality isn’t accessible without a headset or goggles, the immersive experience of augmented reality can be enjoyed by most consumers. Augmented reality also can be embedded into Snapchat and other social media posts. THE EVOLUTION OF REALITY Reality is evolving into augmented and virtual realms. While the evolution of virtual reality headsets seems slightly stagnated, the pursuit of augmented reality technology including glasses may propel interest in redesigning those old clunky headsets. If and when augmented reality glasses become a reality, this technology could be the new ‘must have’ item. The new tech darling. Virtual reality isn’t cancelled, though. And the tech itself isn’t cheugy. However, the old clunky styling of the access into the virtual realm has, perhaps, entering its tech expiration. Virtual reality needs a redesign. For virtual reality to fully hit mainstream popularity, for it to really be a ‘must have,’ it also needs to be necessary. It isn’t. Not yet. Could the metaverse change this? That remains to be seen. But consumers also could be faced with many virtual and augmented realities branded by different tech players. And they all could have their own glasses. Hopefully, those glasses will be worth the wait…and worth the wear. And, ideally, engineers will have declunked the cheugy virtual reality goggles and allowed them to evolve into something that is both accessible and stylish.
Virtual Reality Technology for the Newbie Gamer
Augmented reality might be getting more love in recent months (and years!); with all the talk about tech companies working on augmented reality glasses, this technology has definitely made headlines. Virtual reality, however, isn’t dead! In fact, for many consumers, this technology is the heart of the gaming experience. Virtual reality technology for gamers infuses the otherworldly experience of virtual reality with the action of the game. Virtual reality technology allows gamers to become part of the game. For parents who might be looking at virtual reality technology for their kids perhaps as a holiday or birthday gift, there are a lot of different options for headsets and games on the market. But anyone can enjoy the unique experience of virtual reality gameplay! Ready to get into the game—literally?!?! Here are some of the virtual reality offerings to try as a newbie VR gamer. Virtual Reality Gaming [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Virtual-Reality-Sensitivities.jpg] VIRTUAL REALITY SENSITIVITIES Before delving into product and game options, it should be noted that some people (yes, gamers included!) don’t do well with the virtual reality experience. Some may feel disoriented, a bit queasy or have a headache. This experience isn’t the norm for everyone, but some individuals are just a bit more sensitive. This condition is technically called ‘cybersickness,’ and an optometrist interviewed by UNSW Sydney explains that it’s similar to motion sickness. However, while motion sickness—like feeling nauseated while driving or on a boat—happens because of motion, cybersickness, the optometrist explained, does not. Instead the sickness felt using virtual reality is essentially the body being confused. The body knows it’s not moving, yet in the virtual reality world, movement and action are happening. The senses are essentially jumbled, and this is termed ‘sensory conflict.’ UNSW’s article goes on to explain that newer headsets might be less likely to cause cybersickness, although some people could still experience it. Dramamine, the anti-nausea medication that helps with motion sickness, listed ways that gamers or anyone using virtual reality can help prevent and deal with cybersickness. The company recommends always reading instructions and warnings on virtual reality equipment, only using the tech for short periods to help acclimate, to give the body rest between uses and to stop using virtual reality if the user doesn’t feel well (or if the user is sick!). VIRTUAL REALITY HEADSETS Those who are looking at virtual reality headsets might not know what option to choose. Which is best? Virtual reality headsets come in different price points, but this high-tech equipment is not really available cheaply. Gamers (and their parents!), though, might be used to seeing and spending higher prices for the gaming experience. New consoles are priced higher when they are first introduced. While virtual reality isn’t necessarily a new technology, like most tech it is improving and evolving. Some users and gamers absolutely love virtual reality, but, as many gamers know, everyone has a personal preference for the gaming experience. For those interested in testing out the technology, here are a few things to consider: * The budget (sometimes there’s only so much to spend) * Age of user (parents might not want to invest top dollar for a young teen) * The use (is virtual reality being used with a particular console) * Individual interest (for young gamers, interest could fade) For virtual reality headsets, there are several on the market that are great for gaming. Some are on the high-end of price, but others are more budget-friendly. Keep in mind that when using a headset with a particular gaming console compatibility could be an issue (check this first!). Also, some parents when gifting a headset for their gamer might not want to spend a fortune for their first headset. There are many moderately priced options. And some younger players could move on to the next big thing (as kids do). For gamers, here are headset options and their prices: * Oculus Quest 2 (around $299) * HP Reverb G2 ($449) * Valve Index ($1449); PC Gamer recommended this as “the best VR headset for a premium experience on a gaming PC” * HTC Vive Pro ($799) * Oculus Rift (around $399) * HTC Vive Pro ($799) These headsets are recommended for PC gaming (thus why many are on PC Gamer’s list). Software Testing Help breaks down the compatibility for the headsets for buyers who need to know. For example, Oculus Quest requires Android, HTC Vive requires Windows 7, 8 or 10, and Valve Index is for PC. The only console listed that is compatible with a headset is Sony PlayStation VR, and, yes, it’s only compatible with PlayStation 4. Again, buyers need to understand each headset’s compatibility! Virtual Reality Gaming [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/What-are-the-Most-Popular-Virtual-Reality-Games.jpg] WHAT ARE THE MOST POPULAR VIRTUAL REALITY GAMES? Once buyers have selected their headset (and any necessary controllers and gear!), it’s time to play. For those new to virtual reality gaming, what are some of the best games? With virtual reality gaming, there are so many choices. Gamers might download games via Steam, which is a virtual reality gaming store. Steam lets users choose games via their headset compatibility, so titles could vary depending on the headset. However, Steam also lists its top-selling games. Currently, the 10 most popular titles include: * Pavlov VR * Blade and Sorcery * Beat Saber * The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR * Half-Life: Alyx * BONEWORKS * Into the Radius VR * Legendary Tales * Fallout 4 VR * 3DMark Prices for games via Steam are comparable to the cost of other video games. The top-selling titles range in price from $17.99 (for Fallout 4 VR…it’s on sale!) to $59.99 for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR and Half-Life: Alyx. Virtual Reality Gaming [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/What-About-Sony-PlayStation-VR.jpg] WHAT ABOUT SONY PLAYSTATION VR? For those who own a PlayStation 4, the Sony PlayStation VR headset could be alluring. PlayStation currently offers some bundle downloads via its website for the VR system. And buyers can still find headsets and bundles online. The bundle at some retailers is priced around $500 (these seem to be from online sellers, however). This includes the headset, accessories and some games. Again, for those with a compatible PlayStation, this headset could be a less expensive way to try out the technology. Used options also could be cheaper. AUGMENTED REALITY IS ANOTHER ACCESSIBLE OPTION For some buyers, a virtual reality headset may simply be too expensive. However, there is another way to experience immersive gaming! Augmented reality games are available via many smartphones and tablets. Unlike virtual reality, though, augmented reality games don’t require the gamer to purchase a headset or other equipment. Augmented reality combines the real world with graphic depictions. While virtual reality takes the gaming experience into another realm, augmented reality shows the real environment but includes superimposed graphic overlays. An example of augmented reality gaming is the incredibly popular game Pokemon GO. The camera of the phone shows the real world, and the graphic Pokemon appear within the environment. Download augmented reality games and apps via Apple’s App Store or Android’s Google Play. Titles may vary depending on the device. However, many titles are available for both Android and Apple devices. Augmented reality games also might not cause the same cybersickness as virtual reality. As graphics appear in the real space, there really isn’t any motion or sensory confusion. However, everybody could have a different experience. Even looking at a computer screen affects some people differently! So how much do augmented reality games cost? Many titles are free! Others might be nominally priced. Games could include the option to make in-app purchases; some users aren’t concerned about this. Others, though, might have children who don’t understand that they are charging their parent’s account. Disable the in-app purchase option via the phone or device for gamers that don’t want the hassle. OTHER WAYS TO EXPERIENCE VIRTUAL REALITY Gaming via virtual reality doesn’t have to mean that consumers must invest in their own headset. There are many places that offer virtual reality gaming experiences. Yes, these will come with a price. However, trying out these experiences also could help gamers better understand if they like the tech…or if they are sensitive to virtual reality. Even museums could offer virtual reality experiences. Check out the local history or art museum to find out if virtual reality is part of any exhibition. Details could be found online. Google’s in on the virtual reality experience, too. Google explains that smartphones can be transformed into virtual reality viewers. The experience is called Google Cardboard. And the phone is attached to a cardboard headset. These cardboard headsets range in price, but many are less than $20. Just be sure to find the viewer that fits the phone screen! While some Google experiences are only compatible with Android, many Google Cardboard apps can be used with both Android and iOS. Like all technology, virtual reality technology changes and evolves. Gamers that are interested in trying out virtual reality to heighten the gaming experience can choose from a variety of headsets and games. Those who are unsure about virtual reality can even try it out via their phone with Google Cardboard. When deciding on a headset, though, gamers might consider the price and the headset’s compatibility. Parents purchasing as a gift might also think about the interest of their teen. With virtual reality, though, gamers become a part of the game…and it’s a unique experience that can transform the gameplay.
VR Marketing Creates Consumer Experiences in a Virtual or Augmented Realm
The idea of using a phone to see virtual reality products and images in front of the consumer’s eyes seems fantastical, and years ago this was something that was virtually inconceivable. Tech evolves fast, though. Back in the 90s, virtual reality games were just hitting the arcade, and teens found them to be the coolest. Virtual reality gaming is now an at-home reality, and the headsets are now….affordable! There are augmented reality apps for phones, and companies are using this tech to their advantage, too. VR marketing lets consumers experience products in a virtual or augmented realm. This tech-savvy marketing creates an immersive and interactive experience, keeping the consumer intrigued and engaged. During the pandemic, however, augmented and virtual reality gave companies the best tools to reach consumers when they couldn’t visit stores. Augmented and virtual reality experiences helped recreate the in-person experiences like trying on products or even previewing them in the home. Other VR marketing experiences enabled customers to even check out new car models…from home! THE RISE OF VR MARKETING AND AR MARKETING EXPERIENCES In January 2021, ReseasrchandMarkets.com released a Covid-19 Impact Analysis for the augmented reality and virtual reality markets. The analysis estimates that the virtual reality market will more than triple by 2025—from $6.1 billion in 2020 to $20.9 billion in 2025. In addition, the augmented reality market will see overwhelming growth over five years, soaring from $15.3 billion in 2020 to more than $70 billion by 2025. While these are projections, the figures represent the changing patterns that reverberated when Covid hit the globe. While Covid might have accelerated the rise of virtual reality and augmented reality experiences offered by companies, these offerings were becoming more widespread even before a pandemic threatened to shut down the globe. Businesses in different sectors have been experimenting with augmented reality experiences via online platforms; cosmetics brands and stores have introduced virtual try on augmented reality apps or experiences. Using a phone or tablet camera, the device can be transformed into both a virtual mirror and a virtual makeover studio. For example, Ulta’s GLAMlab lets shoppers click on different hues of eyeshadow, eyeliner and lipstick to try them on. With just a tap of a finger, the makeup magically appears on the user’s lips and eyes. Looking for a new hair hue? There are augmented reality apps and experiences for that, too! Consumers can even preview different haircuts using augmented reality before they hit the salon! For consumers, these experiences are both fun and a convenience that allows them to see a product before they commit. For businesses, augmented reality marketing experiences like the try-on offerings could help decrease customer returns and increase customer satisfaction. Customers might even make additional purchases if they find a new color or product that they simply can’t resist! VR Marketing in Tourism [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/VR-Marketing-in-Tourism.jpg] VR MARKETING IN TOURISM Virtual reality and augmented reality marketing also swept into the tourism industry during Covid. Museums across the globe shutdown, and while some already offered some virtual experiences, others might not have been so prepared. Survival could have required online adjustment and creating experiences that homebound tourists could enjoy via their devices. Museums provided virtual tours. Sitting at home, anyone could take a peek at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. They also could view different exhibits at the Louvre. Some museums even offered more one-on-one experiences. Private virtual tours could have been arranged. Online classes also were offered; kids and adults might have been able to participate in a variety of cultural experiences. Outdoor exhibits or cultural sites might have been open, but areas that normally experienced heavy crowds might have closed. During Covid—and even still today—UNESCO offers virtual tours of World Heritage Sites. Experience distant lands and cultural sites from the comfort of home that can be accessed through Google Arts & Culture and/or YouTube. Virtual tours include Mudejar Architecture of Aragon, Spain; Pampulha Modern Ensemble in Brazil; Risco Caido and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria Cultural Landscape in Spain; Kilimanjaro National Park in the United Republic of Tanzania; Le Canal du Midi in France and several more! The Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History even offers its own augmented reality experience for guests. Download the app Skin and Bones to use within the museum’s “Bone Hall.” The app projects details about the skeletons found within the exhibit. The app also can be used remotely for guests who can’t visit the museum; just print out pictures of the exhibits and the app will do the rest! Augmented and Virtual Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Augmented-and-Virtual-Reality.jpg] AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY TO…RELAX After a year and several months of craziness, most Americans are zapped, stressed out and ready for life to go back to normal. Unfortunately, those day spas weren’t always open for business. Or perhaps some consumers just don’t feel comfortable venturing beyond essential errands. Some tech companies have even offered relaxing augmented reality experiences via apps. Need to chill out from home? Gardzen-AR Meditation is augmented reality meditation. The app projects calming images into the room and gives users wonderful relaxing sounds for calming meditation. FishingGO AR turns an area into an aquarium. Users can even get info about the fish. But sitting in a virtual aquarium might be soothing for those who need a mini tropical vacation…at home. Some spas, though, are offering their own augmented or virtual reality experiences to enable guests to immerse into a relaxed state. American Spa reports that several spas use Guided Meditation VR. Guests sit in a massage chair and can escape virtually to the environment of their choice. The spa also includes sensory features to add to the ambiance and experience. For guests in areas that are far removed from tropical paradise, this virtual escape may be a much needed getaway. For half an hour, guests are transported and soothed by the experience. Now, not only can guests just go to the spa for a massage, facial and mani/pedi, but they also can take a break from their daily reality in the tropics. No need for a plane ticket…just wear goggles! VR MARKETING AND AUGMENTED REALITY IN CAR SHOPPING The automobile industry probably wasn’t as prepared to pivot to online as the other industries during Covid. However, the industry was forced to spring into the web to offer online buying (in some areas) and other virtual experiences. But even before the pandemic, some companies were already jumping into augmented and virtual reality to heighten the user experience. Augmented reality has been used to allow customers to virtually interact with cars from their home…or anywhere. While the industry might have offered some virtual reality experiences, too, augmented reality has really been the standout technology because it’s so widely available via phones and other devices. For marketing purposes, augmented reality is used to allow customers to see vehicles up close…and even virtually interact with the models. This technology also has allowed consumers to gain additional information during the research phase of their buying journey. For example, sites like RelayCars allow customers to drop the vehicle into their environment. Customers can walk around the car, look inside at the interior and even swap out the paint hue. While pictures can help customers gain some perspective about the design of the car, photos don’t provide context in other ways. However, augmented reality showcases a model of the vehicle that can even be life-sized. The consumer can choose to drop their dream car anywhere; they can even preview the vehicle in the driveway or see it parked in the garage. VR marketing and augmented reality marketing is a benefit for both consumers and businesses. There isn’t a forced commitment expected from the consumer; swiping on a virtual blush could lead a consumer to a new favorite product. Or they could discover that the hue looks awful. For businesses, technology might help lower returns and dissatisfaction from customers. If they can see a product before they buy it, there is no surprise. They might even stay within the app or experience trying out other products. Augmented and virtual reality also lets individuals experience the unexpected…and perhaps even the once unattainable. The consumer also could visit faraway lands that introduce them to other sites and culture. Augmented and virtual reality opens doors and possibilities. That virtual tour could lead to a real-life tour years later. Even car shopping can be simplified thanks to augmented and virtual reality. The old cliché is that a picture is worth 1,000 words. But for cars, how much information can be gathered from a two-dimensional image? Buyers want to interact; they want to see that vehicle. During Covid, virtual or augmented reality experiences might have been a great resource in previewing and researching different cars. With augmented reality, the vehicle appears in the real environment. Users can change the paint color. They can walk around the car…and look inside. The car comes to life; the user is in control. The augmented reality and virtual reality market is expected to grow dramatically over the next five years. By 2025, the augmented reality experiences that consumers know today might have evolved into something beyond today’s imagination. Will sensory experiences be integrated into augmented reality? Will shopping become a virtual reality experience? Maybe those much anticipated augmented reality glasses will be the norm…and AR will appear before our eyes without an app. The virtual road might be augmented with all types of possibilities for the future!
Is Virtual Reality a Dying Trend?
Virtual reality isn’t just for gaming but for enterprise use too—this is called Enterprise VR. What is ‘enterprise virtual reality?’ The term enterprise just means that it’s used for business or by businesses. And enterprise VR has been adopted in the business world for employee training and for collaboration or design. Back in 2019, data was already showing that enterprise use for virtual reality was far exceeding its use among consumers. Hypergrid Business reported on a study from VR Intelligence that revealed that enterprise virtual reality use was showing much stronger growth according to vendors in the field; while only 24 percent reported strong growth for consumer use, nearly half (46 percent) reported strong growth for enterprise virtual reality. Is Virtual Reality a Dying Trend [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Enterprise-vs.-Consumer.jpg] ENTERPRISE VS. CONSUMER For the consumer, virtual reality might only serve one purpose: gaming. While some consumers might use virtual reality apps for a more unique experience, the technology tends to be popular for gaming experiences. While these games are incredibly immersive, the virtual experience requires a headset. These headsets allow gamers to enter the virtual world, but many headsets come with a rather expensive price tag. Oculus Quest headsets cost a little less than $300. An HTC Vive Cosmos can soar to almost $700. Playstation also offers a virtual reality headset; the headset is usually bundled with other accessories and/or games and may cost more than $500. Even when consumers choose the least expensive virtual reality headset on the market, the experience is still a considerable investment. If the headset is being given to a teen, the concern could be that the trendiness of the tech might not hold interest for very long; after all, technology is constantly changing. ENTERPRISE VIRTUAL REALITY With Enterprise Virtual Reality, though, the price of the headset may be less of an issue especially for businesses that consider it an investment for training or other uses. Businesses may get more use out of the technology, and virtual reality also could help them improve internal processes like new employee training or interviewing. In this way, virtual reality might actually save money for businesses who invest a considerable amount of time for hiring and training. Strivr is a company that creates virtual reality training experiences for businesses; Strivr has been used by companies like Verizon and Fidelity. Strivr’s virtual reality platforms can be tailored to each business’s training needs . For retail customers, experiences could include virtual training sessions that include customer interactions. Virtual reality also could be used to simulate dangerous situations for which employees need to be prepared—like how to handle a robbery. In fact, one of the case studies highlighted on Strivr’s site included the work it did for Verizon; the immersive VR experience prepared employees on armed robberies. In the real world, this experience likely couldn’t be realistically simulated. In the virtual realm, Strivr explained that employees learned how to de-escalate the situation and also learned how to handle ‘snatch and grab’ events, too. Enterprise virtual reality also could be used for other employee training experiences, too. New employees could face difficult customers and learn how to handle confrontation situations without losing their cool. One of the greatest benefits about virtual reality is that it can be re-experienced. Maybe an employee didn’t handle the situation correctly; the manager could discuss other ways of handling the event, and the employee could re-enter the virtual realm and try again. Businesses could build their entire training program around virtual reality if necessary. The use of the technology also could free up other team members. For many companies, managers or other team members are pulled in to help train a new employee. With virtual reality, technology could manage the training. This allows other team members to continue to do their job, stay productive and keep the cost of employee training lower. VIRTUAL REALITY FOR COLLABORATION During Covid, companies used virtual reality for team collaboration. Ford used headsets to enter a virtual realm and critique new car designs. Team members could join the virtual experience from home, and, while executives might have been miles apart, virtual reality allowed collaboration to continue. Even after the pandemic subsides, teams may continue to work from home. Many companies might have realized that allowing employees to work from home helped reduce office costs…and maybe employees were happier. Virtual reality headsets could allow a unique space for meetings and conferences that require everyone to view the same data at once. Is Virtual Reality a Dying Trend [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Enterprise-Virtual-Reality.jpg] WHAT INDUSTRIES ARE USING ENTERPRISE VIRTUAL REALITY? Virtual reality can be used for training and collaboration, and many different sectors are embracing this technology. Automotive, healthcare, retail, tourism, real estate, architecture and even gambling industries use virtual reality. HEALTHCARE The healthcare industry has used virtual reality experiences for medical training. Some experiences could provide immersive environments for students. At University of California San Francisco (UCSF), medical students use virtual reality to explore anatomy; the technology lets students “…deconstruct and reconstruct muscles, organs, and bones layer-by-layer.” However, the healthcare industry also could use virtual reality to aid patients. Virtual reality provides a safe realm for those experiencing anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to engage in ‘exposure therapy’ to help overcome their fears. Someone who is afraid of spiders, for example, could enter virtual reality and deal with spiders in a virtual environment. The therapist remains by their side, and the patient could exit the experience at any time. Virtual reality can provide a gentle way to slowly build up a tolerance to fears. RETAIL Retail industries can use virtual reality for employee training or even as a customer experience. IKEA provides a virtual reality experience in the store that allows users to design their dream kitchen. In this virtual realm, users can actually interact with things in the kitchen. They can change colors of different features and create the kitchen they love. Even more amazing? The experience lets users transform themselves into kid-size…yes, you can shrink yourself! This could help parents figure out how their child would see and experience the kitchen and possibly help them find potential dangers, too. TOURISM The tourism industry also has embraced virtual reality. Some museums offer virtual reality experiences to interact with particular exhibits. However, during Covid, many news outlets (including the BBC) reported that virtual reality was providing unique tourism experiences. The BBC reported that Germany released tourism experiences for the Oculus Rift and a few for Hololens, too. Could virtual reality provide a tourism gateway for the future? Perhaps headsets provide a unique way to experience different parts of the world without investing in a plane ticket, hotels and transportation. Virtual reality could be the budget-friendly travel of the future! REAL ESTATE Real estate agents might have used virtual reality, too. Virtual tours of homes were popular even before the pandemic. However, touring a home during the height of Covid might have meant many restrictions. Virtual tours could provide a way for buyers to preview a home without actually walking through it in person. These tours also could have helped buyers narrow down their choices to homes that really ticked off all the boxes of their ‘must-have’ list. ARCHITECTS For architects, virtual reality can provide a unique way to enable clients to not only visualize but experience a design concept. Looking at a drawing may require clients to visualize the concept, while stepping into virtual reality actually lets them walk into the concept and potentially understand what they like…and maybe what they don’t like. GAMBLING & CASINOS Online gaming is ideal for virtual reality deployment. While many assume gaming is all about video games that immerse players into the action, virtual reality also can be a great platform for online casinos. Virtual reality can transport players from the screen into a virtual casino. They can play cards, play slot machines or just interact with other players. OTHER INDUSTRIES Virtual reality also has been embraced by many other industries. Spas may use it to create a relaxing escape for clients; these virtual experiences could transport spa guests to a tropical oasis or somewhere serene. Some industries—including automotive—use virtual reality to create virtual showrooms for a heightened user experience. Sites like RelayCars allow users to preview vehicles in a virtual environment with or without a headset. They can switch out the paint hues and look inside at the interior features. IS VIRTUAL REALITY DEAD? Virtual reality is clearly not dead. The technology is widely used across numerous industries for many different reasons. Some industries use virtual reality for employee training or collaboration between teams. Others use virtual reality to create unique experiences for customers, like virtual tours or virtual showrooms. This technology will likely evolve into more detailed and possibly more sensory experiences. Customers could soon begin to experience the smells of a destination or feel certain elements in the immersive environment. Virtual reality is not only alive and well but it will likely experience many different resurrections as its form and functions change, evolve and become more complex.
Using a Virtual Car Modifier
Car shopping has become an online experience. More shoppers are comfortable doing their early research online, and, for many, this could save time. Online browsing also is convenient; there are no trips to a dealership. Instead, shoppers can simply visit a website and search info about different models at their convenience…and then make that dealership trip. Kelley Blue Book noted that during Covid online tools helped internet savvy buyers cut down their time at the dealership to a few short hours. But beyond virtual showrooms or slide shows of inventory models, shoppers also may be using a virtual car modifier to build their new vehicles before that dealership visit. What is a virtual car modifier? Here’s what buyers need to know about this cool tool…and how to use it! VIRTUAL CAR MODIFIERS: NO HEADSET REQUIRED Shoppers who don’t own a virtual reality headset, take a deep breath…this tool can be used without entering the actual virtual space. The term virtual is sometimes used loosely to refer to experiences that take place online instead of in-person. Shoppers don’t need to purchase a headset or any special equipment. And these experiences are typically free! Virtual car modifiers can be found on major vehicle manufacturer’s websites. Toyota, General Motors brands, Subaru, Nissan, Honda and probably many others offer ‘build your own’ experiences or car configurator tools. Each model offered by the brand may allow different options for building or configuring a vehicle. Some may let the user select the Powertrain, paint color and any add-ons. Shoppers who are researching different vehicles might check out these experiences and look at the different options. In addition, some luxury auto brands might offer buyers a completely customizable car experience. Maybe shoppers can choose or customize every detail of their car and add unique features. Rolls Royce offers Starlight Headlining, which allows buyers to customize a celestial design on the roof created with fiber-optic lighting. Virtual Car Modifier Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Virtual-Car-Modifier-Showroom.jpg] VIRTUAL CAR MODIFIER SHOWROOM Those looking for a new car and using online tools to research their options also can use a virtual car modifier showroom. This is a tool that is fully interactive. While configurator or ‘build your own’ tools might show a photo of the car, the virtual showroom lets users explore the car virtually. So how does this work? RelayCars provides an online virtual showroom that allows users to interact with the car in unique ways. Using RelayCars, users will be presented with options of the site’s vehicle inventory. Visitors choose the vehicle they want to explore and also select the trim and year, too. The visitor will then be free to explore their vehicle in the virtual showroom. No special equipment is required to view the vehicles, although RelayCars does recommend a high-speed internet connection for the best viewing experience. In the showroom, visitors can use their mouse or their fingers (if accessing the site on a tablet or phone) to view the car from different angles. Visitors also can see inside the vehicle and navigate to view different aspects of the interior, too. For every vehicle model, users can select different paint hues (depending on which paint options are offered for that particular model). This option can help find the perfect shade for a new car! WHY SHOPPERS SHOULD USE A VIRTUAL CAR MODIFIER So what’s beneficial about a virtual car modifier? Online tools like virtual car modifiers can help create a more relaxed shopping experience. Car shopping has evolved greatly through the years, and the pandemic forced the industry to, hopefully, create more online-friendly shopping experiences. While not all shoppers want to buy a car online, for some this is now a viable option. Shoppers might use online tools to decrease the time they have to spend at a dealership. Virtual car modifiers and virtual showrooms both allow shoppers to explore their options without leaving home. With a car modifier, shoppers can virtually build their car. They can then save this data or maybe even print it out to take to the dealership. Car configurers might not always show the finished car in picture form but they will let shoppers build their own vehicle. Virtual showrooms also can be useful for shoppers to explore and maybe even compare different vehicle options. For example, RelayCars can be opened in two different web browser pages and the user can choose to preview a different vehicle on each page. In this way they may be able to compare and contrast different models. Even shoppers who aren’t serious in their hunt quite yet can take advantage of virtual showrooms. These tools can be fun to use to just explore different models and see all the options available. Looking at different brands and the models they offer can be a great way to gain more information about the choices available. After viewing different models and checking out their different features, shoppers can then start researching prices of their favorite models. For shoppers who love a particular model, online configurators also might let them tweak different options to fit their budget. This might mean removing leather upgrades or other features that were optional. Online tools provide power to the buyer. And prior to the digital revolution—and maybe even the pandemic—these tools were not always available. Buying a car once meant spending hours at a dealership or even traveling to multiple dealerships to find the best price or the right car. Even the hunt for a vehicle can be narrowed down on dealership websites. Site visitors can search for particular models or see if older models are in stock. Pre-owned inventory also could be viewable online. And customer service reps can usually be messaged on the website, too. Navigating Online For Digital Shy Consumers [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Navigating-Online-For-Digital-Shy-Consumers.jpg] NAVIGATING ONLINE FOR DIGITAL SHY CONSUMERS Some car shoppers might not be completely comfortable searching online or navigating the virtual tools. Not everyone loves technology, and some may be intimidated by tech tools and online resources. The good news, though, is that car brands make their configurator tools extremely easy to navigate. The tools tend to walk the customer through the experience. RelayCars also is incredibly easy to navigate. All users have to do is select the car they want to view. In the showroom, visitors can either explore using their fingertips or the computer mouse. The showroom also includes options to view the interior or change the vehicle’s color. There are no apps to download. For digital shy consumers, taking advantage of online customer service reps also might be a good idea. While they may be there for sales questions, they also could help answer any tech questions, too. It never hurts to ask! BUYING ONLINE Buying a car online was a trend during the pandemic. And dealerships might still offer this as an option to customers. There are other sites online where deals may take place virtually and the car is delivered to the home. Many shoppers, though, might still want to negotiate in person. Or finalize the deal and the details of their vehicle in person, too. Buyers also might want to visit the dealership to sit in the car or experience specific features firsthand. While virtual test drives could still be an option, some buyers might simply want to take that test drive at the physical dealership. The future of car shopping might include savvier virtual car modifier tools. There may be options to configure the car in a virtual realm and maybe shoppers can build the car before their eyes. Perhaps car buying becomes interactive in the virtual sense. Maybe buyers see the car model in front of them and can choose the paint color, interior color and type and other features as well. In the future, online tools for car shoppers could become high tech and completely interactive. Unless, of course, the self-driving car takes over. Then the car buying experience could be something else entirely! Maybe buyers pick out their virtual driver! Maybe buyers choose an avatar design or a unique voice. Plus all the details about their car. Or maybe the car becomes more like a comfortable entertainment area that buyers can customize to fit their needs. For now, though, online tools like virtual showrooms and car modifiers and car configure tools are the interactive answer to simplifying the shopping process. And those who want to take their time to look for and create the perfect car can do so online.
Virtual Reality in Car Dealerships
Virtual reality is taking over car dealerships and the car shopping process. But how is this technology used in dealerships? Are salespeople using headsets? Do customers need headsets? Before assuming that car buying has evolved into some futuristic landscape, understand that the term virtual can have many different meanings. However, virtual reality is being integrated into the shopping experience. How is virtual reality used in car dealerships? Here’s a virtual look! VIRTUAL VS. VIRTUAL REALITY The term virtual can be thrown around to describe different experiences. Virtual does not always mean virtual reality. For example, during Covid (and probably even now) car dealerships offered virtual test drives. Customers could go online and schedule a test drive remotely. The dealership would then deliver the car to the customer’s home, and the test drive would take place away from the dealership. The experience was virtual in that customers didn’t have to visit the dealership; the test drive took place remotely. Other virtual test drives could have been posted on YouTube. These were videos of sales professionals from the dealership taking the car for an on-the-road test drive. The experience was virtual, because it was online. Other test drives could be experienced using a phone or tablet; these experiences might have functioned like digital games. These, too, were another type of virtual test drive. Virtual reality also doesn’t always involve a virtual reality headset. Some virtual reality experiences are accessible online and can be enjoyed by anyone with internet access. Users navigate these experiences with their mouse…or maybe they touch the screen. VIRTUAL REALITY IN CAR DEALERSHIPS So how do car dealerships use virtual reality? Some dealerships offer virtual reality showrooms. Others may integrate the technology in other ways. The future might even lead to a virtual reality car dealership. Imagine if virtual reality headsets of glasses become the norm. This could allow for consumers to shop for a car just by wearing a headset or glasses. In the virtual space, perhaps they can choose from several local dealerships. Then the car shopping adventure would begin. Imagine having avatar sales professionals guide you during the experience. Could customers even visit a virtual reality car lot? Drop a car into the room! Walk around it. Peek inside! Anything is possible. Virtual Reality in Car Dealerships [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Virtual-Reality-Modifications-in-Car-Dealerships.jpg] VIRTUAL REALITY MODIFICATIONS IN CAR DEALERSHIPS One of the most popular ways that car dealerships might be using virtual reality is via virtual reality showrooms. Before the Covid pandemic, car shopping might have begun online with research (maybe looking at Kelly Blue Book and dealership sites). However, many shoppers would then visit their dealership to see the vehicles in person and to maybe even take a test drive. When the pandemic forced many non-essential businesses to close to help stop the spread of the virus, car dealerships might have been forced to close, too. Virtual experiences then took the place of the in-person experiences. Virtual reality experiences might have been the preferred option, because it could closely replicate the in-person shopping experience. WHAT IS A VIRTUAL REALITY SHOWROOM? Some car dealerships could offer their own virtual reality showrooms, but others might have relied on third-party sites like RelayCars to give customers this experience. Virtual reality showrooms allow cars to be viewed in 3D in a virtual environment. Vroom’s virtual reality showroom is accessible using an HTC Vive headset. But, again, not all virtual reality showrooms require a headset to view inventory. RelayCars’ virtual reality showroom is accessible online via the website. On the website, users will see a hyperlink to enter the virtual showroom. There, users can choose the car they wish to explore in the showroom. Once their preference has been selected, they enter the showroom where they can use the mouse to navigate the immersive experience. In the virtual reality showroom, users can turn the car around to view it from different angles. The showroom also gives users the option to look inside the car to view and explore the interior and all the features. Another showroom option lets users change the paint color of the vehicle. Virtual Reality in Car Dealerships [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Virtual-Reality-for-Car-Repair.jpg] VIRTUAL REALITY FOR CAR REPAIR? Some technicians are wearing special glasses to aid them during car repair. These glasses aren’t virtual reality, though. Instead, the glasses provide augmented reality graphics to aid them as they fix and diagnose problems. Mercedes-Benz techs use HoloLens during repairs. The glasses can connect them to a remote team that can help them during complicated repairs. The glasses let them show the remote team what the tech sees. Other dealerships also may use similar types of technology during their repairs. USING VIRTUAL REALITY FOR CAR SHOPPING When browsing the internet for a new car, shoppers may bump into virtual reality experiences like virtual reality showrooms. How can these virtual tools be used during the browsing or research process? VIRTUAL REALITY SAVES TIME! Browsing cars via virtual reality saves time. Shoppers don’t have to jump in their car and travel to a dealership just to look at a few car models. The process can be time-consuming, and virtual browsing can cut down on this time. STRESS-FREE! Using a virtual reality showroom to research vehicle models and explore all the options allows customers to just virtually window shop…stress free! With RelayCars, there are no sales team members who will send messages. Or ask you questions. Check out the Porsche without worry! But if there is a problem with the site, customers also are provided with ways to get in touch. So virtual showrooms are a customer-friendly experience. FIND FAVORITES Eventually, shoppers will find one or two models that are at the top of their list. After viewing them in the virtual showroom, users can then visit dealership sites to find out prices, promotions or other deals. They also can contact the dealership to schedule a test drive to see if it’s really the car they want. VIRTUAL REALITY: THE FUTURE OF CAR SHOPPING? Both virtual and augmented reality can elevate the shopping experience and the user experience, too. Virtual reality car showrooms provide convenient, tech-centric options to shoppers who might just want to stay at home and search for their favorite car. During Covid, virtual options became a bit more mainstream for businesses and even car dealerships. Not all virtual options were virtual reality, but many experiences allowed customers to buy from home. Even test drives were delivered to the customer. After all, a decade ago most people probably didn’t imagine that everyone would own a smartphone and that these handy devices would be used for shopping, watching movies…and everything else. Now the idea of being without a smartphone can spark a fear of missing out (or FOMO), as the phone is the constant connection to the social world…and even the retail world, too. Not all customers will embrace virtual reality or virtual shopping trends. However, Generation Z—the Zoomers—have never known a day without some type of device. They’ve grown up with social media. And, to them, virtual reality isn’t so unreal. As the younger generations move into adulthood, maybe virtual reality will take over. Not just dealerships and the shopping experience…but maybe other experiences, too. We could be living in a virtual reality!
How Virtual Reality Could Transform Major Cities
Virtual reality is technology that transports users to a three-dimensional, simulated environment. The technology simulates as many senses as possible to ensure the user is fully immersed in their virtual world. Although this technology is often associated with the world of gaming, it’s been used in a wide range of other industries. In the automotive industry, virtual reality is used to speed up the process of designing and testing new vehicles. Teachers often rely on virtual reality to transport their students to exotic destinations or periods in history. In the healthcare industry, aspiring surgeons are trained in simulated environments powered by virtual reality. This allows them to learn how to perform complex procedures in an environment where mistakes don’t have consequences. There’s no doubt that virtual reality has led to major changes in these industries. But now, experts believe that virtual reality technology has the potential to impact consumers’ daily lives by completely transforming major cities across the country. How? It has to do with the change in the way people work, which was largely brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what you should know: How Virtual Reality Could Transform Major Cities [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/How-the-COVID-19-Pandemic-Impacted-the-Way-People-Work.jpg] HOW THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IMPACTED THE WAY PEOPLE WORK Before you can learn how virtual reality may transform major cities, it’s important to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way in which people work. Many companies were forced to temporarily close their doors due to COVID-19 lockdown or stay-at-home orders. To keep their businesses running, these companies had no other choice but to allow their employees to work from home. This led to a massive shift to remote work in the U.S. workforce. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, only 20% of the workforce worked from home all or most of the time. But this number increased to about 71% of the workforce in the middle of the pandemic. Remote workers had to overcome some obstacles to get comfortable working from home. Some workers struggled to get their employers to provide the right equipment, whereas others had trouble creating a productive workspace in their home. But eventually, many workers grew to love working remotely. Most people enjoy the flexibility that remote work offers since employers often allow remote workers to work more flexible hours. By working remotely, workers can also avoid long, costly commutes to work. Remote workers also report that they find it easier to balance their work and family responsibilities now that they are working from home. Even those who enjoy working from home recognize that there are some drawbacks to remote work. Two-thirds of people who are currently working from home say that they feel less connected to their co-workers now that they don’t interact with them face-to-face. Over one-third of remote workers are also tired of spending hours on video calls, which have been used to replace face-to-face meetings. However, the benefits of remote work might outweigh the drawbacks for many workers. In fact, over half of the workforce said they would like to continue working from home at least part of the time even after the coronavirus pandemic is over. IS REMOTE WORK HERE TO STAY? The stay-at-home and lockdown orders that forced employers to close their doors were lifted months ago. However, that doesn’t mean that everything has gone back to business as usual. Many employers have chosen to continue allowing employees to work from home even though the restrictions have been lifted. It’s estimated that only one in 10 companies expect to return to the way things were before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of companies have already announced plans to make working from home permanent for some or all of their employees. Twitter, Slack, and Shopify, for example, announced that all employees would be allowed to work from home forever. Other companies, including Google, Intuit, Novartis, and Coinbase will allow employees to choose whether they want to work from home or in the office moving forward. Announcements like these have led many experts to conclude that remote work is here to stay. How Virtual Reality Could Transform Major Cities [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/The-Role-of-Virtual-Reality-in-Making-Remote-Work-Permanent.jpg] THE ROLE OF VIRTUAL REALITY IN MAKING REMOTE WORK PERMANENT Experts believe that virtual reality will play an important role in making remote work permanent. One of the biggest changes that remote workers had to get used to was the shift from in-person meetings to video conference calls. Over 80% of workers who were working from home all or most of the time during the pandemic used video conferencing services such as Zoom to communicate with co-workers. But research has shown that spending countless hours per week on video calls can be exhausting. Researchers have even coined the term “Zoom fatigue” to describe this phenomenon. There are several causes of Zoom fatigue. First, making eye contact for an extended period of time is unnatural and can quickly fatigue the human brain. It’s also unnatural–and exhausting–to stare at an image of yourself for hours during these video calls. Studies have shown that this can cause negative emotional consequences. Studies have also shown that participating in a video call requires more mental energy than participating in an in-person meeting or audio call. This is because nonverbal communication often does not translate well over a video conference call, so attendees must exert more energy to send and receive messages. To successfully switch to a state of permanent remote work, companies must address Zoom fatigue. Some experts believe that the solution to this problem is virtual reality technology. Experts predict that virtual reality technology can be used to simulate face-to-face interactions with co-workers. Instead of hosting video calls, companies can now use virtual reality technology to host virtual meetings. Because virtual reality creates a fully immersive, simulated environment, attendees will feel like they’re actually back in the office in a conference room rather than sitting in front of their computer. Using virtual reality technology in this manner can help remote workers experience the personal interactions with their co-workers that they sorely miss. Because it feels like a real meeting rather than a video call, it can also help remote workers avoid the burnout of Zoom fatigue. Shifting from Zoom video calls to virtual meetings powered by virtual reality technology might be the key to successfully making remote work permanent. How Virtual Reality Could Transform Major Cities [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/How-A-Remote-Workforce-Could-Change-Major-Cities.jpg] HOW A REMOTE WORKFORCE COULD CHANGE MAJOR CITIES If virtual reality successfully helps companies make the switch to remote work permanent, this could completely transform major cities from coast-to-coast. Fewer employees will be physically present in the workplace if companies allow most of their employees to continue working from home. As a result, companies will have a hard time justifying the need to spend thousands or even millions of dollars on office space per year. Many companies may downsize to smaller offices or decide to get rid of physical office space altogether. Either way, there will be a significant decrease in demand for office space. This could leave millions of square feet of office space vacant in big cities. Some office buildings may need to be torn down and converted into residential buildings. Other office buildings may be converted into multi-use buildings instead. Companies that used to occupy an entire building may decide to sublet some of their space to other employers. Now, office buildings are typically centralized in the downtown districts of major cities. However, this could change. Some experts believe that smaller office buildings will start to appear in other less populated areas now that companies no longer need as much space. These changes could affect where people live, too. Right now, many people live in suburbs on the outer edges of metropolitan areas so they can quickly commute to work. But if these changes occur, there won’t be a need to settle down in the suburbs. Remote work will give people the freedom to live wherever they want regardless of how many miles their home is from their workplace. Because of this, more people might move away from the city to less populated, rural areas. How Virtual Reality Could Transform Major Cities [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/The-Challenges-of-Implementing-Virtual-Reality-in-the-Workplace.jpg] THE CHALLENGES OF IMPLEMENTING VIRTUAL REALITY IN THE WORKPLACE If these predictions are true, using virtual reality to make remote work permanent could have huge implications for big cities across the country. But first, companies will need to overcome a few challenges associated with implementing virtual reality in the workplace. Employers must be willing to invest in virtual reality headsets for their employees. Without these devices, employees won’t be able to attend virtual meetings, so they will be limited to audio or video calls. Employers must also be willing to develop virtual reality platforms where they can host their meetings. This is a significant investment, but one that will pay off in the long run if companies are committed to making remote work permanent. Companies must also be willing to train employees on how to use virtual reality technology. Although it’s not hard to use virtual reality, there may be a learning curve for employees who aren’t very tech-savvy or willing to adapt to new technologies. Employers should also focus on educating employees on the benefits of virtual meetings compared to video conference calls. This way, employees will understand why it’s so important to take advantage of this technology. It’s too early to tell whether these predictions will come true, but it’s safe to say that virtual reality technology will continue to have a major impact on the world in the future.
Car Shopping: Virtual Reality Tips
Shopping at the car dealership might be so 20th century! Car shopping virtual reality-style might be the new trend in hunting for a new vehicle. Don’t go shutting the door to the dealership yet, though. Dealership trips can still be part of the process! If shopping for a car via virtual reality sounds a bit futuristic, well, this is the future! Get ready to step into a new reality! Here’s how to go car shopping in virtual reality. Buckle up and take a virtual ride! DOES A VIRTUAL REALITY CAR DEALERSHIP EXIST? While it’s possible to go car shopping using virtual reality, consumers may wonder if car dealerships have gone virtual. Does a virtual car dealership exist? While it might not be possible to put on a virtual reality headset and step into a local car dealership, there are virtual reality car showrooms that allow shoppers to preview and check out a huge inventory of vehicles. Local dealerships could offer their own virtual reality experiences. They also could offer a virtual tour of their own showroom online. Or they might even post a tour of their showroom via YouTube, and this experience also could be ‘virtual’…even if it isn’t virtual reality. Virtual experiences can take the place of the in-person experience, saving the shopper time and allowing them to browse at their leisure. Using a virtual showroom could be one of the first steps in the buying research process for consumers who might not know what type of vehicle they want. Or maybe a virtual showroom could be used to browse through many different vehicles just to virtually window shop. GO VIRTUAL FOR LESS PRESSURE While shoppers can still visit numerous different dealerships in their area or peruse their website, a virtual showroom can be useful for shopping without commitment or pressure. Do buyers love the high pressure of the dealership? Apparently…not so much. Edmonds.com conducted a survey of car buyers, and the results weren’t shocking. Ninety percent of those surveyed don’t want to negotiate, instead they’d rather just have the price set. More than 20 percent would go without sex for an entire month if they didn’t have to deal with all that negotiating! Meanwhile, Edmonds reported that 33 percent would choose that airplane middle seat, a visit to the DMV or handle their taxes instead of dealership negotiations. Millennials, though, disliked those negotiations more than Baby Boomers, according to the survey results. This could be because Boomers have more experience and the process of buying a car is more familiar to them. Or maybe their parents taught them a few tricks? Virtual shopping can help Millennials and all car shoppers delay those negotiations a bit. Instead of being pressured in the dealership, shoppers can take all the time they need trying to find the car that appeals to them. With the internet and virtual experiences, the computer can be shut down and shoppers can come back to the sites later. When researching online, shoppers can make notes about the cars and the features that they want and need. Then they can visit dealership sites to compare prices and prepare for their visit. Knowing what they want before the visit can help save time. However, shoppers still may have to negotiate at the actual dealership! Car Shopping: Virtual Reality Tips [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Navigating-Through-a-Virtual-Car-Showroom.jpg] NAVIGATING THROUGH A VIRTUAL CAR SHOWROOM RelayCars offers a virtual car showroom with a massive inventory of makes and models. Shoppers can visit the online virtual car showroom to explore all the virtual vehicles. When visiting RelayCars’ website, users can enter the virtual showroom on the site’s main page. They will see a form that allows them to select the make, model, year and trim. How far back do the model years run? That depends on the vehicle. When available, RelayCars may offer models as far back as five years…or maybe more. Once the user has selected their vehicle option, they can view it virtually. Using the mouse, the car can be viewed from different angles and turned around to view different vantage points. Users can even look inside the vehicle. RelayCars also lets users view the vehicle in different paint hues, however the paint options are based on the options for the make/model. WHAT ABOUT PRE-OWNED CARS? Many car buyers opt for preowned cars. While RelayCars allows users to look at past model years, the site does not provide images of a specific dealership’s pre-owned inventory. Shoppers that are interested in a specific model year can use RelayCars as a resource for reference purposes. When shoppers are looking at preowned options, they should contact their local dealer for more photos of their inventory. SHOPPERS DON’T NEED A HEADSET! Virtual reality might conjure up images of big bulky headsets and space-age environments. While headsets are used to access virtual environments, RelayCars’ online virtual reality car showroom does not require a headset or any special equipment. The virtual showroom is open 24/7 to anyone with access to the internet. However, a high-speed internet connection is recommended, and the user’s internet speed may affect the loading time of images. Car Shopping: Virtual Reality Tips [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Car-Shopping-in-Virtual-Reality.jpg] HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GO CAR SHOPPING IN VIRTUAL REALITY? Think of RelayCars as online, virtual window shopping. The experience is free, and users can check out virtual cars any time of the day or night. Shopping for a car virtually puts the buyer in the driver’s seat. Visit the virtual showroom when it’s convenient. RelayCars is meant to be a shopping resource. Research the look and design of different cars. Buyers can use the virtual showroom to weed out the cars that they don’t like so much and find the models of the cars that fit their needs. Sometimes shoppers may even discover new models that weren’t on their radar. Since RelayCars lets users decide what they want to view, the virtual experience can be fun and enjoyable. The site also offers many different luxury models; if visitors want to check out a Porsche, they are free to explore those models virtually. AFTER THE VIRTUAL VISIT During their visit to the site, though, car shoppers might want to make a list of the vehicles that they prefer. Then they can visit their local car dealership’s website to find out about any promotions and to research prices. Those who are looking for preowned models might need to search for that particular model year via local dealerships. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR RELAYCARS? Technology is always changing, and RelayCars is constantly adding new inventory to the virtual reality showroom. As new models roll out, these may be available in the virtual showroom. New experiences also may be added in the future. Augmented and virtual reality are part of extended reality. These experiences change how users interact with the world. And both augmented and virtual reality can provide unique car shopping experiences. Augmented reality showrooms allow users to actually place a graphic depiction of a vehicle in their own environment. Augmented reality uses the camera of a phone or tablet to showcase the real environment and overlay graphics within that space. This technology lets users preview cars in the backyard, the garage, the driveway or even on a bed! If the car fits, augmented reality can show it in any space! Check out RelayCars often to find updates about new virtual inventory as well as any new virtual or augmented reality experiences that will be available on the site.