In 1946, an executive at 20th Century Fox named Darryl Zanuck said “Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” Like televisions before them, affordable and accessible virtual reality headsets are disrupting the status quo. Often dismissed as toys for gaming, forward thinking companies are making waves by leveraging this revolutionary tech. Here are three industries that are being transformed by VR:

MARKETING
Exploring new worlds is a natural application of virtual reality. Marriott took note and developed their teleportation booth experience. By wearing an Oculus Rift headset and a pair of headphones, a participant could be transported to a beach in Hawaii or on a rooftop in London. Fans, heat lamps and misters brought the sense of touch into the experience with wind, heat and fog.

Just like in the early days of television, there will always be naysayers and skeptics that view virtual reality tech as a short-lived gimmick. However, as in those early days, there are also numerous startups, filmmakers and production companies that are wisely investing in shaping virtual reality as the new normal. We are on the precipice of transforming the way we view media and advertising. The company that makes the first killer VR app will be leading the charge into promising new frontiers

MEDICAL
Virtual reality has applications beyond the entertainment industry. The Psychiatry section of Duke University offers immersive virtual reality therapy for phobias. By placing participants in phobia-triggering situations in a safe and controlled virtual environment, psychiatrists can begin to address fears.

In a similar vein, University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies has developed an exposure therapy utilizing virtual reality to provide relief from post-traumatic stress. Victims of PTSD can re-experience traumatic events in a non-threatening environment and learn to conquer their anxiety.

EDUCATION
While some therapists are using the technology to ease the suffering of veterans returning from deployment, British government officials want to introduce trauma medics to the stresses of war in a virtual environment before facing it in the real world. By practicing triage on casualties in a simulated warzone, medics are expected to be more efficient in a crisis situation.

Soon, we may be seeing virtual reality technology being utilized in classroom settings. Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus, has said the company is considering giving free VR headsets to educational institutions. With this tech, students could explore historical events or extraterrestrial landscapes, or work with three-dimensional models.

Just like in the early days of television, there will always be naysayers and skeptics that view virtual reality tech as a short-lived gimmick. However, as in those early days, there are also numerous startups, filmmakers and production companies that are wisely investing in shaping virtual reality as the new normal. We are on the precipice of transforming the way we view media and advertising. The company that makes the first killer VR app will be leading the charge into promising new frontiers