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Forget gaming, the future of VR could be in business

With all of the time we’ve spent playing around with TiltBrush and Fantastic Contraption whilst awaiting the arrival of our consumer Rift and Vive headsets, we’d no doubt be forgiven for being rather hopeful for the future of VR gaming. But it might not be gaming that really cements the technology as being as forward thinking as we all think it could be.

No, it may be the enterprise sector that becomes the real proving ground of virtual reality. And specifically in industries like real estate, car sales, and interior design, where associated costs are less of a concern, where space doesn’t factor in so much, and where some of the limitations of current-gen VR are less pronounced.

VR may actually be able to transform some industries, in the same way that it’s breathing new life into new genres of games.

Imagine a future where you can get a first-hand look at the interior of the car you’re thinking of buying, without ever going to the showroom. What about choosing your hotel room based on a virtual layout you can explore before visiting? Those are just a couple of the ideas CityAM is touting.

Related: The Virtual World’s Fair will transport you to the world’s wonders, and disasters

Indeed, some businesses have already gotten a jump-start on this, with one Irish real estate company offering virtual tours of unfinished houses, while others use it to aid home decoration.

Although these are very preliminary forays, it could well be that these early adopters quickly garner an enhanced profile among those interested in taking advantage of the technology. Customers who can enjoy the very real and tangible benefits of VR at one company will likely sing that company’s praises.

It may be that VR ends up being a bar that must be hurdled if you don’t want your business to suffer.

Beyond customer service though, employee safety could also be improved through more immersive training simulations; commutes may be avoided by implementing virtual office spaces, and business executives could sidestep costly private air travel by meeting within virtual reality instead.

What are some of the exciting potential uses for VR that you can see outside of gaming?