How VR is being used in Food & Beverage

BY KAYLA NOBREGA

The goal of most branding strategies is to tell a story. Stories create a personality for the brand and make it easier for consumers to relate to it.

Branding has been taken on as one of the most important aspects of marketing a business, and the likes of Coca Cola and McDonald’s have invested millions of dollars into building a strong brand.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality have become a part of the branding and marketing strategies of large companies, making them more interactive and better at telling their stories.

For the FIFA World Cup 2018, Coca Cola set up an AR screen where visitors could interactively learn football skills from a player on the screen, as well as pose for a photograph with him afterwards. This kind of set up helped people interact with Coca Cola as well as other FIFA sponsoring brands.

Marketing is not the only avenue impacted by VR and AR in the food and beverage industry. Training is highly impacted by the innovative techniques that AR and VR offer.

KFC have implemented what they call, “The Hard Way – A KFC Virtual Training Escape Room” which is used to teach employees the age-old recipe and technique first used by Colonel Sanders.

Analogue training takes 25 minutes, while the virtual training takes 10 minutes, and can be repeated if need be. VR saves valuable time and money, and simplifies the training process.

Exploring Outer Space with VR

BY KAYLA NOBREGA

Outer Space is a world most of us will only ever experience by looking up at the night sky.

We watch astronauts with fascination because of the information they bring back from their explorations; and if you are as adventurous as I am, then I am sure it has crossed your mind to be able to go out and see the world – from a window of the space station – yourself.

We are able to do that now! Through VR technology, you can turn your living room into a space ship and stare out at the stars while you float around the high-tech equipment. There are all kinds of software available for you to be able to immerse yourself in an Outer Space experience and feel like the astronauts do.

Did you know that The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) uses VR to train astronauts? The VR technology is for astronauts who are not yet ready for the Neutral Buoyancy Lab; a hydro-simulation of the feeling of zero gravity.

The VR training takes place in a seat, with a headset and gloves that allow you to climb along the space station to change a battery, as well as to control the safety jet pack jacket in case of emergencies.

Jetting off into space takes millions of dollars a time, and so training is not possible on the field. VR as a training solution provides more affordable and less time-consuming access to immersive and interactive experience.

If VR is being used so effectively in the space exploration industry; how do you think your industry will benefit from it?

How VR is being used in mental health treatment

BY KAYLA NOBREGA

Would you believe me if I told you that virtual reality technology has been around since the 1960’s? It’s not that the technology is new – although it has been modified and is more advanced than what it was when first implemented – but we have found new uses for it.

The medical industry, with its constant striving for more effective, less invasive ways of treating different sicknesses in people, relies on the advancement of technology. With the rise of awareness of mental disorders, and only a few ways of dealing with them, VR technology has presented itself as an option.

The way your brain is conned into an alternative world in VR gaming, is the same way it can be conned into other situations. Although the user is aware that what they are experiencing is not real, their bodies behave as if it is.

Take acrophobia as an example. People with a fear of heights are taken through different situations that render them high above the ground – virtually, of course – and their bodies physically react to this. It has been recorded that heart rates increase, the patient’s stomach churns, and the patient starts to panic.

To help the patient overcome this fear and anxiety, each VR experience is progressive. At first they will be taken to a certain height and just have to look around. Eventually, they will be standing on a tall ledge and have to take a step off it. The thought of danger being combated by the reality of no danger (not falling off the ledge even after stepping off) helps the patient deal with the fear.

Other cases recorded for successfully treating fear and anxiety include arachnophobia, and the fear of flying. Clinical tests are being conducted to validate the use of VR in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as well.

How simulations can contribute to the tourism industry

BY KAYLA NOBREGA

Have you ever booked a hotel room for your annual vacation, arrived, and felt regret creep in as you learn that the photographs were deceptive? Have you booked tours based on the hype and then left wondering what the big fuss was about as your expectations were sorely let down?

The rise of virtual reality is hastening as it proves itself most efficient and beneficial to the tourism industry, in that it can help you avoid the above.

When I plan a holiday, before booking my hotel, I like to see what the room looks like and what activities are nearby. Looking online is helpful, but limited.

Limited, until you throw virtual reality into the mix.

Virtual tours of hotel rooms allow you to interact with the room before you even arrive at the lobby. This increases efficiency in my booking process as I am able to make a more informed decision on where to stay. Standard photographs and videos are useful, but being able to interact with a space before stepping foot into it gives me a more accurate feel for the size and atmosphere of the room before I make a booking.

VR in tourism is not limited to tours in hotel rooms. VR simulations of tourist attractions in the area; such as zip lining, or roller coaster theme parks are not only a possibility but are already offered in malls around the world.

Travel giant Thomas Cook orchestrated virtual travel experiences in ten of their New York stores, and reported that excursion revenue increased by 190%. Immersing yourself in a virtual experience creates a greater desire for it. You know, kind of like how you want to go on a beach holiday even more when you immerse yourself in a traveler’s Instagram stories.

I am keeping my eyes out for the most interesting online virtual experiences; do you have any that have caught your interest?