How Business are Using Virtual Reality to Thrive During COVID-19
The 2020 pandemic has easily become one of the most immobilizing occurrences in our lifetime thus far. Both socially and economically, it has reestablished a new set of societal norms that won’t seem to go back to what we once considered “normal” until far after the curve has been flattened.
Over the past months we’ve seen COVID-19 ransack industries such as food, travel, and entertainment. Millions of jobs and dollars are being lost as the Dow Jones Industrial Average saw a 30% drop in March, according to an article on USA Today.
Even the sturdiest of companies remain struggling as they attempt to find new ways of conducting businesses in hopes of adapting to a new business ecosystem.
However, one industry in particular not only found itself prepared for the nationwide shutdown, but found a way to leverage a new worldwide need for information technology to grow at alarming rates.
COVID-19 and Virtual Reality
As COVID-19 is keeps us stuck in our homes, or even just out of the office, many people are looking for more immersive and authentic ways to effectively stay in touch with co-workers, clients, and friends.
When texting and video chat became a new societal norm, it seemed as if we couldn't get any closer as social beings; But what once seemed like a long-lasting communication solution has quickly deemed itself insufficient as our innate need to build social relationships remains to be unmet during this period of isolation.
“Virtual and Augmented Reality will allow businesses to run and grow irrespective of the challenges posed by social distancing.The pandemic’s social distancing measures become much less constricting when people have Virtual Reality capabilities,” said an article on the Economic Times.
Slowly but surely, people are realizing that all of their workplace activities (meetings, events, collaborations with co-workers), can be done remotely with a level of effectiveness that we haven’t seen before.
COVID could be just the spark the industry needed to launch into the mainstream. According to a COVID-19 market report on businesswire.com, the VR industry is poised to grow by $125 billion in the next four years as shown in their infographic by Technavio (shown below).
This means that VR is not only being seen as a temporary solution to combat the communication barriers of the pandemic, but a more efficient way to communicate entirely far after the curve has been flattened.
One company in particular, Illustrate My Design, is making a big name for itself as it continues to exceed expectations by bringing technical drawings and blueprints of many top Architectural firms to life at what seems like the drop of a hat.
How IMD is Thriving During COVID-19
IMD is an agency based in Washington D.C. that specializes in Architectural Visualization. They help leading architects, developers, and marketing agencies create compelling visuals to boost fundraising, design development, construction, and more.
We were able to speak with Florencia Bialet, CEO of IMD, to get her thoughts on the company’s recent growth and the VR industry as a whole.
“We find ourselves at the crossroads of Architecture/Design and Computer Generated imagery (CGi),” said Bialet. “We take something, whether it be a drawing, idea, or story, and translate that into an immersive, user-friendly visual experience,” Bialet added.
The award-winning agency offers a wide variety of services, ranging from 3D architectural modeling, to animation, to virtual and augmented reality. Blending both CGi and VR technology to help its clients solve difficult and quickly arising workplace problems effectively.
In their twelve years of business, IMD’s impressive track record has earned them partnerships with a multitude of esteemed companies in both the public and private sector.
With loads of experience in creative problem-solving, IMD welcomed the evolving field and found many ways to stay atop the industry during these times.
With companies more inclined than ever to utilize new technology and go virtual, IMD’s easy-to-use services are proving more valuable than ever.
“Virtual tours have become extremely popular. Our partners love the implementation of our 360 degree videos that allow people to safely view a variety of ideas, stories, and settings,” Bialet stated regarding the recent surge in business.
Bialet insists that one of IMD’s greatest assets is the way in which they nurture their business relationships. With COVID-19 eliminating in-person meetings, IMD is using their technical expertise to remain both relevant and personal in the eyes of their partners and clients.
Bialet stated that “One thing that sets us apart is that we really invest in our relationships with our customers. We aim to build mutually beneficial, long-lasting partnerships with our clients,”
As many businesses are scrambling to stay afloat financially, IMD has shifted their focus on making customers feel comfortable and ready for life after COVID-19. Their customer-first mentality, paired with the Renaissance of the Virtual Reality industry, creates a perfect storm for IMD to continue thriving in the information technology space.
As the nation eases back into re-opening, many businesses don’t know what to expect in the post-COVID-19 world. One certainty is the Renaissance of Virtual Reality use in the business space.
Boiled down to its simplest form, Nick Savarese, producer of Normal VR said it best in his feature on Digital Trends. “VR is an important tool and less of a luxury now. That is what is driving VR and AR into the mainstream.”
With more and more businesses using this new technology, the narrative around Virtual Reality is shifting from a toy for intense gamers, to a useful tool for businesses.
What does the future of VR look like to you? Is VR here to stay, or simply a trend that will fade away post-COVID-19? Let us know in the comments below!