The digital era has changed the dynamics of supply and marketing. Commercial offers of today include new digital services such as tracking services for deliveries or the remote diagnosis of machines online– and the list goes on endlessly. When it comes to selling these services however, the major challenge consists in the fact that, while customers are excellently informed about products and prices on the Internet, they no longer associate any tangible experiences with them. This is where virtual reality comes in, offering a brand new additional level for innovative communication and marketing. Virtual reality stands for the presentation and perception of reality in a computer-generated and interactive virtual environment. The computer no longer only informs us, but actually tricks our minds.
The area of virtual reality has developed at a breathtaking pace within the past few years. According to a study by Deutsche Bank Research, by the year 2020 the global VR market is expected to grow from currently EUR 500 million to EUR 7.5 billion. One reason for this growth is certainly found in the rapid technological advances of the various VR headset manufacturers such as Oculus, Sony or HTC. In addition, more powerful processors, the increased performance of graphic chips, and inexpensive high resolution displays by companies such as NVIDIA or Samsung are driving the industry further. Even before actually entering the mass market, virtual reality already offers nearly every sector expedient new business opportunities. This not only applies to the B2C sector. In the B2B area there are also exciting new applications. They are based on a variety of drivers – growth in revenue for products and services, image factors, process efficiency, visualization of complex information and functions, as well as emotional access to products and services.
Previously, communication and marketing of services in the technology sector had a rather neutral and rational style. Through virtual reality, factual topics can also address an emotional level – be it by involving the VR user in real production processes or individual insights into an operation, presenting a solution or a service in an unprecedented way. Last, but not least, the topics can be experienced in an attractive way that is tailored to the user.
The use of VR applications requires huge amounts of data to be produced, processed and constantly available to be transferred in real time to the display. A simple comparison illustrates the challenge – in PC games around 60 megapixels are processed per second, standard VR applications require powerful chips, which due to the larger field of vision, the higher refresh rate and the stereoscopic projection require the processing of at least 450 megapixels per second. Depending on the area of application, this data may be sensitive and therefore requiring special protection. The data can be stored either locally directly on the mobile headset or on a PC connected by cable to a VR headset, or externally in a cloud or data center. Data storage in a cloud or a data center through colocation allows the data to be loaded directly onto the headset or buffered, which minimizes the otherwise high costs for the user. A brief look at the following application examples shows already that virtual reality will be an additional driver for global data growth and increased data management requirements:
- VR apps that are implemented online on the Web
- Assets stores of real time environments and objects
- Content storage for high resolution 360-degree panorama photos and 360-degree videos, in the future also in 4K:
- Documentation of corporate events and trade fair exhibitions
- Storage of live streaming events (music, sports, travel)
- Visualization of company premises
- Construction documentation of large-scale projects
- Data storage of large-volume VR real time applications:
- Virtual production halls and processing systems
- Virtually accessible very realistic real estate that is still in the planning phase
- Virtual prototypes in the automotive sector or airplane and ship building during the product design phase
- Very realistic visualized and accessible future visions in the area of Internet of Things