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What you’ve experienced in a VR headset probably isn’t virtual reality.

For most, putting on a Google Cardboard or one of its equivalents, virtual reality is an app that mostly likely streams some video or a video of a simulation. That is immersive video, not virtual reality.

While virtual reality can include video, VR should not just be a passive experience. Even on headsets that don’t allow for positional motion (sensing where the body is and moving around in the world) VR technologies can add real value to experiences beyond simple video playback.

Let me give you contrast….

I’m a real estate agent and I want to show off a house virtually. My first choice is to walk through the house with a VR capable camera and capture that tour, post the virtual tour and then be done. If a model of the house exists, I don’t even have to go to the property to film it. I could create a virtual tour video and post that. I could also post both. Neither of those is really virtual reality.

Now consider this. I have a model of the house. Not just a floor plan, but a working model. I have mapped the textures of the real home onto the model. Everything works. When a person takes this virtual tour, they can open windows and doors and cabinets. They can look at the grout on bathroom tile. But that is just the beginning. Take away the current textures and start asking things like, “what would it look like if these cabinets were white?” A virtual measuring tape could be deployed to see if the space for the refrigerator would fit the new one you just saw at Best Buy (though it would be a bit redundant given the presumed accuracy of the model — it is more likely that you could just ask the system to place the new refrigerator in its niche and report back the clearances. One further step would be to search the Best Buy inventory for the best fit, and place that frig in the slot).

And now for the kicker. You open the blinds and look out on the street and command, “show me noon on a winter day.” Combine big data and say, “show me the last sales prices of the homes I can see from this window,” or “provide crime reports for this neighborhood. Go to arial view and map.”  That is were the real power for VR is going to come in. You can enter the model, see it as it is and then have the software provide it to you the way you imagine it. Furnish, paint, re-carpet, you name it. Imagine you are buying a luxury high-rise condominium. Look out the windows and ask, “what will my view look like when the building across the street is complete?”

VR will provide for shifts in time and shifts in space, and it will provide integration for data that will be much more meaningfully conveyed via spatial relationships.

In the meantime, enjoy your virtual house tours. Recognize though that you are just in phase 1 of a ride that won’t be completed for a long while, if ever. As Walt Disney might say, “as long as there is imagination.” VR can become our own private Disneyland. You might never turn your bedroom into a pirate cove, but you could imagine what it would look like if you did.

Reposted from seriousinsights.net

Full article published:  http://www.seriousinsights.net/serious-insights-business-vr-digest-march-17-2016/