Every new technology, like every new product, rises and falls on a “life-cycle”. As leadership authors, Bill Weltor and Jean Egmon write:
“We live in the midst of simultaneous industry changes, company changes, product changes, technique changes, and fads – and all are at a different point in their own life cycle.”
As one of the newer technologies still being developed, Virtual Reality is enjoying a prized ascendancy in the technology world; not a meteoric rise you might say, but more like the slow, gradual climb a roller-coaster takes you on as it reaches its tipping point “for the real thrills of the ride”.
Even though Virtual Reality has been around for awhile (The first traces of virtual reality came from the world of science fiction. Stanley G. Weinbaum’s 1935 short story “Pygmalion’s Spectacles” is recognized as one of the first works of science fiction that explores virtual reality. It describes a goggle-based virtual reality system with holographic recording of fictional experiences including smell and touch) it’s real market value and entertainment potential are still being imagined and realized in today’s embryonic technological markets. Take Google’s affordable VR headset, Cardboard, as an example. Clay Bavor, Google’s chief VR developer, has been researching and working tirelessly in an attempt to make VR available for everyone:
“It’s (The Cardboard Headset) let us engage in VR, and learn, and bring a lot more people into the story of the beginning of VR than would otherwise be there.” David Pierce, writing for Wired, recently noted that, “The five-millionth Cardboard shipped out in January 2016, when there still was no Vive or Rift or Playstation VR. Google’s virtual reality is for everyone, and it’s already here.”
It seems clear that Virtual Reality’s story is still being written. Like making the journey from familiar surroundings to exotic places, VR offers many unknown and surprising experiences still to be discovered and defined.
This is partially true because more established social media platforms are getting into the VR game. In March of 2014 Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that his company had bought and acquired Oculus VR, a start up with mega-market potential. According to Zuckerberg’s posted announcement:
“Oculus…They build virtual reality technology, like the Oculus Rift headset. When you put it on, you enter a completely immersive computer-generated environment, like a game or a movie scene or a place far away. The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you’re actually present in another place with other people. People who try it say it’s different from anything they’ve ever experienced in their lives.”
Zuckerberg goes on to say:
“…this is just the start. After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.”
With investors and innovators like Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Clay Bavor getting behind VR technology, it appears the future of VR is bright indeed. As a fresh product still being manufactured and priced for mass acceptance, it seems clear Virtual Reality is very much in the growth stage of its life-cycle. There’s still more to be written in this amazing story of alternate reality experiences.