Virtual Reality’s New Horizons: Enterprise Apps and Gloves for Typing

When it comes to virtual reality (VR), the technology most frequently arises in discussions surrounding gaming and entertainment. But one of the hottest technologies of the last several years may ultimately find that the enterprise market is the one that provides it with its killer app.

While much of the interest in VR last year came from gamers, this year enterprise apps may take the lead in the market, according to analysts. In fact, the fastest growth area for VR is in non-gaming sectors.

Training and Education

Perhaps one of the most obvious non-gaming applications for VR technology lies in the design space, since VR's 3D interface can allow designers to manipulate objects in every dimension. Architects are already using the technology to help design buildings and interiors. VR may also hold significant promise for prototyping, as it is able to fully render 3D objects.

Education and training are two other areas that are expected to be heavily impacted by VR technology in years to come. HTC?EU?s virtual reality headset Vive (pictured above), which was co-developed with gaming platform Valve, is being used to help train new firefighters by providing more realistic simulated environments where they can practice their skills.

The same sort of approach could be applied to other fields that require extensive training but for which creating realistic simulations is difficult. Police and military training facilities spend a lot of money building real-world simulated environments to provide trainees with experiences that are as close to reality as possible. Switching to VR-hosted simulations could make training much cheaper, while also making it more accessible.

Virtual Keyboards

Facebook, meanwhile, is looking at ways that its VR technology can be applied throughout the enterprise market, rather than just for training new employees. Through its Oculus Rift VR subsidiary, Facebook is developing accessories...

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