VR technology: the latest big thing for business, Leeds Business Week told.

Ben Stoney talks at Leeds Business Week

By Charlotte Lascelles

A Leeds marketing expert has encouraged businesses to branch out into more advanced technology when it comes to working with clients.

Virtual Reality, one of the latest advances to come out of video gaming in the last few years, is now being incorporated by businesses as a way to create prototypes and advertise new products to customers in a more immersive experience.

The main aim for companies when using this technology is to put someone in a whole new setting and guide someone through a story as they show them their new product.

Ben Stoney, digital development director of Savvy Marketing, spoke at Leeds Business Week in Aspire,  yesterday: “My job is to make sure any experience or platform we create solves critical behavioural, business and cultural challenges.

“VR is about how you can remove someone from where they are now and then put them somewhere else.”

Stoney went on to explain how VR has been adopted by different branches in order to create new products, such as architects who can now use VR to create a prototype of a new building and then explore it to see what works and what needs improving, effectively saving the company money.

Professionals who work in IT and customer services believe that this move will further improve relationships with customers and clients.

Archie Griffiths, 19, from Harrogate and IT support analyst, said: “I think VR, as a brand new technology, will help aid new and existing business develop new and exciting products as the concept of Virtual Reality is particularly engaging for end users.”

VR first became popular in the 90s, with Ben Stoney pointing how despite the “bad graphics and heavy equipment,” it was the cutting edge of technology at the time.

In 2010, Palmer Luckey, frustrated with the market at the time, developed the Oculus Rift as a home-school project which then went on to have a successful Kickstarter campaign and was eventually bought by Facebook for $3 billion.

Fans of VR in video gaming are more cautious about the move companies are making.

Miranda Kershaw, 18 from Harewood, said: “I think it’s a good idea but it depends on who’s doing it as it would work for some people, like architects and designers, but not for others.”

“It needs to be well thought out and planned, not just to prove that they’re ‘down-with-the-kids’, as well as considering customers who might not understand it.”

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