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TALKING POINTS

The VR Future Beyond Gaming

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• From how we work to how we learn, and from wellness to entertainment, innovative applications of VR are transforming our work and lives.

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If you think virtual reality (VR) is just about gaming, think again. Whether it’s in the workplace, at school or at home, innovative applications of this technology have been transforming our work and lives – but how?

VR for HR

With working from home becoming the norm, companies have been looking for new ways to engage remote employees. Many of them have turned to virtual reality as it not only provides an alternative space for collaboration, but also helps train and recruit staff. Viar360, for instance, uses the technology to create immersive training experiences that replace lecture-style classes and dull onboarding presentations. Airbus also launched a VR Flight Trainer program for pilots to practise flying. Meanwhile, organisations like Deutsche Bahn are using VR in the recruitment process to attract and assess candidates. As VR headsets become more affordable, it won’t be surprising if more companies across different industries also hop on the VR bandwagon for employee engagement and training in the future.

Learning by Doing

Compared with passive reading, immersive learning experiences are more effective as they bring information found in books to life and offer interactive opportunities. Imagine reading about Ancient Rome and actually visiting it – the latter is naturally going to be more memorable. Of course, you can’t travel back in time, but VR technology makes it possible to recreate the fallen city digitally, just like this VR educational experience by Unimersiv. Locally, the Hong Kong Hospital Authority and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University have also designed a VR program to train medical students on procedures like drawing blood. With so many VR programs being developed for educational purposes, this technology is well on its way to transform how we teach and learn.

Well, Well, Wellness

Struggling to go to the gym? Or in need of a quick getaway? Well, VR has got you covered. Virtual fitness programs have boomed amid lockdown, not only because they offer the flexibility to exercise whenever you want, but they’re also more engaging thanks to gamification. Supernatural is one such game that immerses you in scenic environments, with upbeat music and coaches to motivate you through each workout. Aside from fitness, VR also supports mental wellbeing through apps like Esqapes Immersive Relaxation, which pairs virtual reality with massage, showing us a glimpse of how future spas and wellness retreats may incorporate technology to enhance the overall experience.

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Fun Beyond Gaming

Gaming isn’t the only application of VR when it comes to entertainment. Through virtual simulation, it’s possible to go shopping, socialise, and even attend events from the comfort of your home. Shopify, for instance, created a “V-commerce” platform that uses 3D modelling and VR to transform the shopping journey, as customers can see the products exactly as they would appear in real life. And earlier this year, the Sundance Film Festival went digital for the first time, with a Film Party room and a Cinema House which festivalgoers could access via computer and VR headsets. Virtual reality brings events from all over the world to you and transform them into transportive experiences – something that will probably stay even after the pandemic.

Did you know that 5G technology can enhance VR performance? Find out more about the Power of 5G with HKT’s Natalie Chan.
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