Virtual Reality technology is beginning to filter into our daily lives since the game-changing advances made by Oculus Rift a couple of years ago. In January 2016, Google reported that 25 million virtual reality apps had been downloaded from their app store and 350,000 hours of virtual reality videos had been watched on YouTube.
There are now a wealth of VR projects to demonstrate that the technology has passed the gimmick stage and has serious, practical uses far beyond gaming. Among these projects are the UN commissioned VR documentary My Mother's Wing which shows the horrific aftermath of a bombing in Gaza and a Stanford University module which aims to change conservation behaviours after users are immersed in a virtual future world affected by climate change.
The potential of this technology is exciting and we can't imagine now where we might end up, even in the near future. Facebook see the power of VR to 'make the world more open and connected', learning technologists are talking about how 'transformative' it could be for education and VR is having a huge impact on the way we watch film and cinema.
But how will we experience VR in online video marketing?
VR means that audiences will be able to have a fully immersive, tangible experience of a product or service from the comfort of their homes. You can already visit a hotel before you book a room, experience a University campus before applying or train like a sports pro. The possibilities are endless. Viewer expectations will increase and we'll see more interactivity and gamification with non-VR video marketing.
Thanks to recent technological developments, VR video is now cheaper to produce and easy to share and view. 360° cameras which are used to produce VR content are now affordable and small enough to mount anywhere and to anything which opens up a raft of creative possibilities. Think virtual bungee jumping and roller-coaster riding! YouTube now facilitates the hosting and viewing of 360° videos, making it easier to upload and share your own content. Most smartphones now allow you to experience VR, you need a headset but you can make those from cardboard or a happy meal box.
Technological developments have brought a sci-fi future to our present and made virtual reality a reality. It will only get cheaper and easier to produce as it creeps into the mainstream and becomes the norm. Prepare to be making a virtual reality video very soon!