Virtual Reality Is the New Playground of Advertisers

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Nov 282015

When people hear the term “virtual reality”, they usually think of sci-fi books and movies and futuristic video games. But this is no longer the case since virtual reality (or VR for short) has already entered real life. Specifically, it’s making a name for itself in advertising as it helps companies grab the attention of their target audience and rise above their competitors.

Why is VR taking off in advertising?

Customer engagement has always been an important factor in corporate success, which is why companies have always been looking for meaningful and memorable ways to interact with their consumers. They switched from printed ads to TV commercials since these let them promote their products or services through attention-grabbing audio and video. From there, they moved on to social media marketing and guerrilla marketing so they can cater to the modern and adventurous mindset of the millennial generation.

Now businesses are stepping into virtual reality, which allows them to engage with their customers in a deeper level. By putting on the headset, consumers are drawn in to the VR world and enjoy a unique, high-tech experience that makes them feel more connected to the company’s brand.


Which companies are already using this technology?

Many corporations have realized the power of virtual reality and are creating their own VR advertising content. One such example is PepsiCo, which worked with digital agency Firstborn to create content that lets customers hang out (albeit virtually) with popular sports figures. Racing enthusiasts, for instance, can enjoy a ride with NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., while skateboarding fans can do kickflips and heelflips with pro Paul Rodriguez.

Volvo has also used virtual reality to raise brand awareness and introduce customers to its newest models. Using the new technology, Volvo gave consumers the chance to go on a virtual test drive with its XC90 SUV and experience its exciting features without setting a foot away from the showroom.

Other companies who have jumped into the VR wagon include tequila maker Patron, UK-based telecoms company O2, and luxury boutique The Line.


Should business owners invest in VR?

Absolutely. It might seem like a huge unnecessary expense at first glance, but adopting VR advertising is actually important. According to market information company CCS Insight, the market for virtual reality devices and mobile augmented reality gadgets will reach around $4 billion three years from now, in 2018. So, to prepare for this boom and ensure they’re on top of the competition once VR becomes widespread, business owners must start developing their strategy as early as possible.

They can start by thinking of unique ways to integrate VR into their marketing campaigns. Those who own a travel company, for instance, can design content that let customers virtually visit a tropical vacation destination and see what it has to offer. Those who own an event organizing business can create content that allows clients to attend and enjoy a virtual concert or music festival.

Virtual reality advertisement is here to stay, and it’s up to companies to adapt to it and integrate it in their marketing strategies.


How Virtual Reality May Fight Heroin Addiction

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Oct 172014

Heroin addiction is a problem that affects many people around the world. Turning a person addicted to heroin away from that condition is very difficult due to the combination of physical and mental effects that are present.

However, researchers at the University of Houston are turning towards a method that is only now possible thanks to advancing technology, virtual reality. This form of technology has been around for over a decade, but only in a relatively primitive form. Today, virtual reality has progressed considerably and is now being used to create realistic worlds for the addicts to help them fight their addiction.

How Virtual Reality Works

Basically, the patient puts on the virtual reality headset which presents them with strong images of a world that is familiar to them. There is even the right odors added to the experience to make it as realistic as possible. The idea is to actually trigger the cravings that they are feeling when in this virtual world so that they can be properly measured and handled.

Many of the familiar settings not only work for heroin addicts, but those addicted to marijuana and alcohol as well. The headset presents images of partying and other settings that are designed to set off the cravings.

Once in that situation, the patient learns to recognize what it is and how it triggers the cravings. Therefore, the result is that patients can understand how to remove themselves from that setting. The key is the combination of visuals and smells that garner the response. However, the setting itself is an artificial one that allows a person to react and remove themselves from it. Such training is geared to allow addicts to do the same when facing a similar real-life situation.

Does it Work?

The program itself is quite realistic and based on the experiences of actual heroin users down to the mimicking of injecting the needle into their vein. What helps make this virtual reality really seem real is the scents that are placed such as the smell of marijuana for example. However, there are different scents for different virtual rooms to help make the experience even more real.

Overall, the effect has been noticeable although not all encompassing. With addicts, the ability to recognize situations of temptation in the virtual reality world has helped them to overcome real life situations. However, flaws in the program such as not having the right scent or image means that the addict will not be able to effectively role play the situation.

The early studies have not been completed, so there is no hard data yet to see if this program really works. However, a previous study with those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in 2012 showed that 15 out of 20 patients no longer met the criteria for suffering from PTSD and managed to maintain that status a full three months later which is quite remarkable.

Whether those who are addicted to heroin, marijuana or alcohol will enjoy a 75% recovery rate remains to be seen. However, given the promise of the previous study there is room to hope.


Smart Fingertips A Next Step into Virtual Reality

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Aug 102012

Smart Fingertips

Researchers at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign have designed smart fingertips that can feel pressure, bend and conform to the finger. Now why would someone want to go ahead and invent this?

Blind people browsing the Internet, surgical trainees engaging in surgery in a virtual world and restoring skin sensation to burn victims are just a few of the uses of this smart skin. One can only foresee that this would be useful in virtual training for cosmonauts and astronauts as well.

According to, “Imagine feeling like you’re lifting a 50-kilogram weight just by pulling at thin air. That’s just one of the possible applications of new ‘smart fingertips’ created by a team of nanoengineers. The electronic fingers mold to the shape of the hand, and so far the researchers have shown that they can transmit electric signals to the skin. The team hopes to one day incorporate the devices into a smart glove that creates virtual sensations, fooling the brain into feeling everything from texture to temperature.”

Of course weight and pressure are two other sensations that the researchers are trying to achieve with their smart fingertips. And of course once smart fingertips and smart gloves are perfected, then there will surely be smart whatev’s that will stimulate other parts of the body as well. And I’m not going to say what parts.