Virtual reality gaming is going to be big in 2016, and then massive in 2017. Apart from gaming, we have seen use cases for VR in things like employee training, social networking, cinema experiences, and even world building.

VR is going to be more than just an advanced game console, just like how a smartphone is more than just an SMS and voice calling machine. The smartphone changed every single industry. The world went live and now we connect with one another in an unprecedented way. Virtual reality will take this one step further and bring these connections into full immersive environments. Here are five industries that are changing rapidly by the meteoric rise of virtual reality.

Music Composition

If LyraVR demonstrated anything, it’s that music is going to be created in whole new ways in VR. Just like how music production evolved rapidly to software products like ProTools and Ableton Live, we are going to see new artists dive into VR to craft their art.

Already, experiences like LyraVR are being prototyped and tested by fearless creatives across the world. Within years, we will be seeing full music productions created right in VR. There is no going back once you can immerse yourself in the music creation process like VR enables you to do.

Art

If Tilt Brush by Google is any indication, the future of art is really bright. Within minutes, users of Tilt Brush are able to create amazing 3d landscapes and scenes with just a pair of controllers and a VR headset.

These tools are just prototypes so far. They are just games. The people who built the first 2d desktop environment probably couldn’t imagine tools like Unity or Maya – what are the tools that will be built in the next 15 years that we cannot imagine?

Social Media

Along with raising $15.7m in investment capital, AltspaceVR has built a fully immersive virtual reality social environment. The app is completely cross platform and works with a multitude of controllers and headsets. Within Altspace, you can play Dungeons and Dragons, browse the internet, and even watch Netflix all within a multiplayer virtual reality environment.

Massively multiplayer games like World of Warcraft brought millions of people together online. These experiences were mind-blowing because of how epic the interactions were with big quests, how close the relationships were between players, and how massive the world was between cities. All of these amazing experiences for millions of players were built upon a cartoon-looking game that many people played on mediocre gaming machines.

The next wave of social media will not be lists of text or pictures of cats. It will be fully immersive 3d environments built for shared experiences with people across the world.

Computer interfaces

Human computer interaction will never be the same. People like Brian Peiris and companies like EnvelopVR are building computer environment in virtual reality and not looking back. We will now how fully immersive work environments within our VR headsets. The desktop metaphor has been around for nearly 40 years and most agree that it’s getting stale.

Big data visualization

We have thousands of years of inertia towards two dimensional representations of data. Pie charts, bar charts, graphs, lists, paragraphs, numbers, spoken word. I don’t think anyone can comprehend what kind of data visualization tools we will be wielding over the next few decades. We do know this – teams like Masters of Pie are building things like DNA structures in VR to represent data – and they’re just getting started.

Once users are able to fully climb into their data and be immersed in the information they’re seeking, there is no turning back to simple pie charts.

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