When people started to use the internet, it closed the gaps caused by distance. That was when the saying, “It’s a small world” became more popular. Years have passed and more sophisticated technologies have emerged. The social bridge between people across the world has become even shorter, especially with the introduction of Virtual Reality (VR). In this post, we will be addressing the following question: What is social VR and why do I need to know about it?

A Change In How Humans Interact

Man is naturally a social animal, hence through the ages, humankind has always existed in social communities. All kinds of relationships, both formal and informal are enhanced through social interactions. This is what makes it possible to have organized institutions that cut through local and international regions. There is always a social avenue that powers interactions and communication.

In the past, people will travel several miles to attend executive meetings or participate in seminars and conferences. Physical presence used to be the only guarantee for real time participation during such meetings. Things have changed, and organizations now carry out a lot of activities online. Executive meetings, hands on job execution, conferences, and seminars can now easily be carried out remotely. 

What Is Social VR?

Virtual Reality (VR) on its own is a technology based on the simulation of environments. It is used to create a virtual phase where users can participate in executing tasks. Therefore social VR simply implements this technology in order to achieve particular purposes that involve multiple participation. Based on requirements, a virtual environment is created for interactive purposes.

This innovation is becoming increasingly adopted in gaming and social media. Facebook Spaces, Stan World, Hubs, VrChat, Cluster, LiveLike are a few of the sites that are pushing social VR to the forefront. These platforms enable participants to enter into virtual environments, usually represented in animated forms, where you are able to interact with other participants and do various tasks and exercises.

Depending on the particular platform, different games are offered, and can be accessed through compatible VR headsets like Oculus Rift and the Samsung Gear VR.

The Benefits of Social VR

As we consider the question, what is social VR and why do I need to know about it, we’ll realise that it is an innovation that offers a lot of benefits. As mentioned above, it is a technology that will enable us to engage with people from remote locations. Looking into the future, to a time where this is implemented in more serious environments other than gaming, this innovation will offer us a lot of benefits, such as:

  • Engage in communities you otherwise would not have access to
  • Meet people from around the world
  • Reduced cost of travel during meetings
  • It saves time, since participants can operate from anywhere in the world
  • Allows for more accurate participation when compared to other social technologies
  • Enables hands on interaction, which is good during trainings and educational conferences

Existing Use Cases for Social VR

Social VR is already being used in so many ways. So far, we have focused on the more formal ways that this technology can be used. However, a more common area where VR appears to have found more active use cases is in the gaming industry. This is where VR headsets like the Oculus Rift has become popular. VR Xbox, Samsung gear VR, PSVR are all versions of headsets than can be used to access the virtual world. All of this is made popular by gaming, which is a major aspect of social VR.

Just like the internet started slowly, and today it is easy to forget the days of slow internet, social VR is showing signs that in no time it could become one of the basic tools of interaction. Imagine a time when you can live in Asia and earn a degree from an American University through social VR. Online classes will go beyond basic video conferencing to virtual simulations that can offer more hands on learning through actual participation.

Social VR is still in early development, however, it is proving to be an innovation that will be well needed by humankind in the near future. It is a part of the technological evolution that is becoming more pronounced in the 21st century. Something that gives us a reason to raise the question: What is social VR and why do I need to know about it?

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