Today on Episode 19 of Web Hosting Podcast. Is VR, virtual reality, part of your website design strategy? You could be missing out if you are not. With the release of the Oculus Go last month, high end VR experiences have come to the masses. You can take advantage of this by including VR elements easily on your new or current website. Also a very interesting thing happened over the weekend.
A interesting thing happened recently. I was notified by haveibeenpwned.com, that my email address was seen on a hacked site. Listeners may remember that this site was mentioned in Episode 13 as one of the useful tools segment. The site happened to be ticketfly, which was recently hacked and had all of its information released. The interesting part about this the fact that I was notified by haveibeenpwned.com, before news of ticketfly being hacked was released. If you are worried about your online data, and you should be, then I would recommend taking advantage of the free service provided by haveibeenpwned.com.
What is Virtual Reality (VR)?
Virtual reality, as defined by wikipedia is : “a computer-generated scenario that simulates experience through senses and perception.”
I don’t think all experiences have to be “computer generated”, remember those stereographs from the 1800’s? To me those were a form of Virtual Reality. Also, Viewmaster, made a toy that you could put in round slides that presented you with magical worlds. These were not computer generated or had anything to do with computers.
What is the difference between VR and 360?
360 video or pictures are elements wrapped in a sphere. Think of a big bubble that you sit in where the media is projected around you in a sphere, this is 360. Virtual Reality, is stereoscopic depth, interactive elements as well as immersion. The term VR and 360 are used interchangeably, they are decidedly different. Here is a great article on the main differences from Vimeo https://vimeo.com/blog/post/virtual-reality-vs-360-degree-video
Why is VR important for your website?
Remember when everyone thought siri, alexa and google home were just fads and would never take off not to mention the iPod. Now it is reported that 55% of homes have a smart voice device. VR is in its infancy, but it should certainly not be ignore. With the release of the Oculus Go, tether free VR is available to the masses. Lets also not forget that google street view is widely used and constantly adding locations. Google is doing a great job of covering the entire world. If you have a business, you can put your location on street view which will allow your customers to view inside your business. This works on desktop, phones, and VR headsets. I currently use this to view new locations I want to visit. It might be a restaurant, board game store, or a pub.
Types of VR devices.
Google Cardboard – uses a cell phone and lenses. This is like a viewmaster type device.
PlaystationVR – Sony released the Playstation VR headset to be used with a Sony Playstation 4.
HTC Vive and Oculus Rift – These are gaming PC driven tethered headsets. These require powerful gaming PCs and are physically connected to the computer by long cables. These are the top end VR experience.
Oculus Go – This is a simple stand alone headset. It offers a great experience for users and is not tethered to any device. The purchase price is very low at $200.
Other/Windows Mixed Reality – There are a few other devices out there that require a PC that uses windows mixed reality and are tethered to the PC.
History for me of VR.
First use of a streograph as a child. These date back to the 1800’s and used like photos to simulate a 3D (virtual) picture when viewed through a stereograph. Quite a thing to see if you have never used one before.
Then I purchased a viewmaster branded google cardboard device for my iPhone.
Stepped up to HTC Vive in 2016 – still currently in use.
Oculus Go, now used almost daily as a web browser to experience new things and new places.
How I use VR now.
Playing immersive video games on PC.
Browsing the web on oculus go. There are a lot of websites that support VR and have VR elements as well as 360 elements.
Viewing Street View and virtual tours on both VR headset (Oculus Go/HTC Vive) as well as iPhone and Computer.
What devices do I use?
Website design use cases.
Brick and mortar businesses
Location tours of your establishment
Other use cases for VR workflow.
Sample 360 Photo I took.