As technology continues to advance, the hurdles which once prevented mainstream VR adoption continue to fall by the wayside. Barriers like accessibility and price continue to be upended by advances in smartphones and in the availability of affordable VR headset devices.
The $99 Samsung Gear VR and the $15 Google Cardboard have made virtual reality accessible to millions of Android and iPhone owners, while fresh content from social and streaming companies like Facebook and Netflix continue to push the boundaries of customer engagement.
Our customers joined the ranks of these VR pioneers when Matterport launched CoreVR - a breakthrough automation technology - which gave all our customers the ability to quickly and easily provide virtual reality content to all of their clients. By launching VR support for Android and iPhone devices over the past few months, and by investing in powerful vision algorithms, Matterport made over 300,000 VR experiences available to smartphones all over the world with push-button simplicity.
But the question remains - when can we call VR officially ‘mainstream’?
At Matterport, we strive to stay on the forefront of 3D media solutions which feed directly into our VR experiences. While we don’t want to lose focus in any VR hype, we can’t help but feel as if we are at the brink of a historic watershed moment in media technology.
Major VR adoption is coming.
Here are a few signs which have been hard to ignore:
Our customers are talking about and asking us about VR more than ever.
The amount of viewers of Matterport VR Spaces is growing significantly month-over-month.
More articles are being published about the practical uses of VR every day.
Investment in virtual reality continues to escalate (Facebook just announced it would spend $3B over the next decade on expanding their VR audience).
VR adoption among real estate professionals continues to escalate (see below).
The Proof Is In The Polling
We recently surveyed real estate agents and brokerages, who signed up for a webinar, about how they use technology to stay competitive in their markets. Over 300 people responded, and 76% told us that their plans included VR in 2017.
I have begun adopting VR to show myself as tech-forward
I hope to start using VR in 2017 in order to be more competitive
Again: 76% of respondents have started to adopt VR or plan to do so this year.
The audience of our webinars usually consists of tech-loving adopters, the same group which also pioneered the mainstream adoption of drone capture and Facebook advertising in just a few short years.
VR Is Not Just For Gamers
Gaming tends to dominate the conversation regarding mass VR adoption, but Matterport continues to see large-scale adoption in non-gaming use cases such as real estate, travel and hospitality, retail, and more. While gaming certainly holds the largest footprint in virtual reality, Matterport is leading the charge to bring virtual reality to small and enterprise businesses beyond the gaming industry.
Matterport has the largest library of real world VR experiences ever created, with 25,000 new Spaces added each month. These include Spaces captured by Sotheby’s International Realty, Coldwell Banker, RE/MAX, HomeVisit, HouseLens, Lodgis, Vacasa, and Mansion Global, among others.
Games in VR are an absolute thrill -- no question about it -- but there are also some very large B2B implications which will impact change across all industries, similar to when the Internet was first launched.
Smartphone Headsets Make Virtual Reality More Accessible
GearVR, Oculus, Cardboard, Daydream, Vive, the list goes on. Businesses are diving in to deliver the hardware to best render VR experiences. There's a lot of money at stake here, and a ton of progress has already been made. But the VR market is still finding its way.
Today’s tethered VR headsets for desktops remind us of the cell phones from 15 years ago - oversized with an overabundance of wiring. That's why we are particularly proud of our ability to bring Matterport to VR headsets for mobile phones - particularly to iPhone and Android devices. With over 5m+ Google Cardboards and 3m+ Samsung Gear VR headsets being used all over the world, major VR adoption seems more inevitable than unlikely.
While high-end VR headsets may offer a better overall experience, virtual reality on smartphones makes the experience accessible to everyone. In fact, the majority of smartphones coming out this year are optimized for VR, and that will mean great user experiences on a variety of low-cost headsets. Think about it this way: high-end cameras deliver a much better photo than cell phones, but that didn't stop trillions of photos from being taken last year on mobile phones.
The VR Experience is Ridiculously Better Than the Incumbent Technology
Believe it or not, but there was a time when you had to physically leave your house to buy something. Bookstores had books, supermarkets had your food, and department stores had your clothes and furniture. The transaction had to be completed within the confines of store hours.
The Web changed all that, and Web photos painted a sufficient picture of what a person was buying to make that person feel assured they were making the right purchase. But we're starting to see basic Web photography fall short.
In travel and hospitality, too many people have seen amazing photos of a hotel suite only to be disappointed by reality when they actually arrive. Too often, two dimensional pictures of hotel suites or vacation rental spaces fail to capture the character of a location, making it seem the same as any other space. A VR walkthrough, however, provides future guests with a completely unique and totally immersive experience of a location, aligning their expectations perfectly. In the future, no one will rent a vacation apartment or hotel room without first walking through the property in VR.
Similarly, no one will purchase a home without having walked through a VR or 3D model first. Home buyers will be able to view dozens of properties in an hour from the office of their realtor or agent. Weekend open houses will become calmer, smoother experiences for only a select few of highly motivated and interested buyers. Both the home buyer and seller’s lives would be vastly improved by improving the efficiency of the entire experience.
We encourage you to learn more about this new technology, and consider incorporating it into your business and your marketing. The future has arrived - and it’s better to be there than be left behind. Read our infographic to learn more.
Customers Using VR
See Our VR Infographic
Get started with VR
New to VR? Here’s what you need to open a VR Space.
Learn how to use your Gear VR or Google Cardboard.
Having trouble opening a VR Space? Try these three steps.