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Changing the World With VR: A Glance Back as Media Actively Changes our Lives

New guest writer Katharina Tönnies offers an introduction to the world of VR.

A review of the last 100 years shows innovations in the media sector have massively changed the way we live today. Over the last two decades, we have seen that virtual reality (VR), in particular, has the potential to be a medium that will shape several generations.

VirZOOM vSports CompetitionNot so long ago, VR was still in its infancy. In the meantime, the whole market has developed at a rapid pace and has long since outgrown these early years. Not only are hardware manufacturers upgrading the technology year by year, but there is also an increasing number of software companies which specialise in VR and have made it their mission to establish VR in everyday life with easy to use tools.

What actually makes virtual reality so exciting?

Given that users not only look at a scene but stand right in the middle of it and interact with their environment, they build a strong connection to their surroundings and therefore perceive them more intensely.

Thanks to the extremely high levels of immersion, VR can convey emotions and moods better than any other medium. This also means, of course, that VR addresses the emotions of its users much more profoundly than any other medium could.

Immersion is not only created by allowing users to interact with their environment. Another important factor in this respect is that VR headsets shield users from their real environment, causing them to perceive VR as reality itself.

This combination of extraordinary hardware and software in which users become part of the story is unique and has so far only been possible using current VR technology.

Visions come true with virtual reality!

We are living in exciting times! Visions that were long considered impossible are finally coming into contact with sophisticated technology, which provides the necessary basis to implement them.

Nowadays, anyone can create their own VR applications with minimal resources and time. All you need to create your own virtual world is the right equipment.

Meanwhile, there are some tools that even allow you to create 3D content. However, in many cases, it is important to have some prior knowledge and skills if you want to take beautiful photos. That’s why many prefer to capture reality with 360° cameras and turn it into an interactive VR application. Producing such applications is very easy, but the effect is even greater.

After you have taken 360° photos, or, if in doubt, purchased them from a provider, you can easily edit the photos in a few minutes. All you need is the right software. Then you just have to upload the 360° photos, bring them to life with interactive elements and you will have a VR application that will delight your users.

Due to the fact that both the hardware and the software have developed so quickly in recent years, creating VR applications has become easier while the quality of VR applications has also drastically improved.

Insta360 One RBecome part of VR with any device you’d like to use!

VR can not only be used with VR glasses; it can also be used in a browser, on a PC or with a smartphone. Each of these ways of using VR has its own advantages.

VR headsets are of course the most intense way to convey emotions and moods in a very special way. Here you can immerse yourself completely in a new world and forget about reality for a short time.

However, the spread of VR using smartphones and browsers also has its benefits. Since users do not need specific devices to use virtual reality, entry barriers are much lower. This is why this variant is particularly popular if you’re unsure whether users have the appropriate hardware. Especially for newbies, such applications can be a great way to get started with virtual reality.

How VR is changing the world

How exactly is VR changing our world? With VR we have a technology that is entering our living rooms and businesses which is completely changing the way we perceive and process content.

We suddenly find ourselves in the middle of the action and are no longer just spectators, but an actual part of the story. This means that our emotions, in particular, play a much greater role. When VR manages to address the user’s emotions thanks to the high immersion levels, an emotional connection is formed that not only makes the experience more intense, it also stays in the memory longer.

We will show you examples of how the long-awaited VR applications of tomorrow are already being used today.

Crow: The LegendStorytelling in VR – How to get students interested in politics (VR Europe)

It is late afternoon, the pupils are slowly getting tired and have to grapple with the topic of European politics. If you look back at your school days, you will remember that any topic could be fun if you had a brilliant teacher. If you were unlucky, however, you would have to struggle for hours studying a topic that made you want to fall asleep.

In Lower Saxony, pupils voluntarily abstain from sleeping in class, as they have the opportunity to go on an exciting journey following the development of legislation regarding avoiding plastic waste thanks to “EU beam me up”. The VR application takes them right into the European Parliament in Brussels, meaning they can keep a close eye on how the legislation develops. They are accompanied by their peers, talk to members of the European Parliament and learn how the EU works.

The pupils are inspired and will not only remember abstract models, but also pictures of the people involved, the places where decisions are made and the experience in general.

When learning at work is fun (EWE)

People find it easier to learn when they experience situations rather than just hearing or reading about them. This applies to children, teenagers and adults alike.

Until now, some companies have not used hands-on training because simulations are often expensive, cause logistical problems or are simply impossible, for example, because the machines on which the training is conducted are not yet available. Not only are all these arguments invalidated by using VR, but there is even an unrivalled argument as to why companies should train their employees in VR: the fun factor! With VR, employees not only learn more efficiently; they also have much more fun when doing further training!

The German energy supplier EWE Netz is showing what such a project can look like. Thanks to VR glasses, employees are trained in a substation that otherwise would be dangerous to enter because of the high risks involved. After various employees had completed the training, they all agreed that VR not only increases the quality of learning, it also adds the much needed ‘fun factor’ to the learning experience.

The special thing here is that the application, which is used for training in the company, was designed by the employees themselves. Following some thorough preparation, they simply grabbed a 360° camera and a microphone and took the shots themselves. This not only taught them what a VR application is all about, but it also ensured that even more applications can be created and more employees trained this way in the future.

It is clear that the employees there want to continue learning in a fun manner in the future. This is also beneficial for employers, as the quality of their training is increased, they show themselves to be innovative and can inspire their employees in a cost-efficient way.

From the retirement home to a trip around the world

People in retirement homes are often supported in their everyday lives and, in many cases, are no longer mobile. For many, the retirement home and its surroundings are the last things they see before they die. The thought of it arouses oppressive feelings.

It is all the more wonderful that virtual reality gives people back a part of their freedom. People who are tied to their bed or even their wheelchair can suddenly discover new things again. Whether that’s the place they met their partner in their youth, a concert or circus event or a dream destination to which they could never travel – the possibilities are endless!

Through VR, parents and grandparents can experience the adventures they so painfully miss or that they have never been able to do before. Wouldn’t it be a great thing for them to be able to directly show their children or grandchildren the places they are talking about?

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