Engaging Consumers with Virtual Reality – CIO Journal

Engaging Consumers with Virtual Reality – CIO Journal


Often viewed as an isolating technology, the promise of virtual reality may lie in its ability to bring groups of people together for shared experiences.

Though still a relatively new technology, virtual reality (VR) has captured the imagination of many innovative organizations eager to find ever more creative ways to build immersive environments in which to engage consumers.

“The medium is a unique platform that uses the tools and techniques of game development as well as elements of improv and live theater,” says Colum Slevin, head of experiences at Oculus VR. “It does more than simply serve up a game; it creates a sense of presence.”

Whether putting someone in the shoes of a championship athlete or guiding them through a virtual visit to a home for sale, VR offers new ways for companies to reach consumers. Although many of these experiences are set up for individuals to operate by themselves within a specific environment, the platform may hold even more promise to bring like-minded audiences and consumers together, Slevin says. In fact, the ability to transport people to far-flung events via the internet was one of the reasons Facebook purchased the Oculus VR technology in 2014.

“VR has been criticized for being a solitary or isolating pursuit,” Slevin says, “but people have some of their most powerful VR experiences when they’re with friends.”

This “social congregation” can create a unique point of difference for the medium, Slevin says. Bringing groups of like-minded people together for a shared adventure holds significant promise for companies large and small, and CIOs can work with their CMOs and other business leaders to ensure their organizations make the most of this growing capability.

Mr. Slevin’s participation in this article is solely for educational purposes based on his knowledge of the subject, and the views expressed by him are solely his own.