Small Businesses Can Take Advantage of Emerging Technologies
As Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and 3D Printing technologies advance, they present a unique opportunity for small businesses. Although not new, these three devices are becoming more advanced and more cost effective with more uses in the marketplace.
Virtual Reality is a three dimensional, computer generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person. Augmented Reality brings more reality into the technology, taking the existing environment and overlaying 3D, computer generated reality onto it. Although AR has been used for years in television, health care, and tourism, it is now becoming more readily available to the general consumer.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality could be used in conjunction with 3D printing. Using 3D CAD software, consumer products could be imagined, designed, produced, and customized for the small business and their customers.
For example, an architectural firm working on new building designs for a client could create a virtual building sitting right on their vacant lot, with the ability to walk around the building and view the landscaping using AR technology. This could be followed by a Virtual Reality walk through of the building with interactive doors, windows, elevators, and even virtual staff working in their offices. When the client leaves with his new blueprints, the firm could also include a scale model of the new building created with a 3D printer.
Small businesses could also create VR interactive versions of their website, advertising, and mobile apps. Imagine visiting a website and rather than scrolling up and down, you have a full 360 degree view with interactive menus and activities.
Using emerging computer technologies, like VR, AR, and 3D Printing, small businesses can streamline their technical capacity and compete with larger businesses. However, using advanced computer technologies can, at times, be risky, but the potential rewards offsets their risks.