More than just a gam­ing tool

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By WU YIYAO in Shang­hai

wuyiyao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The Chi­nese vir­tual re­al­ity (VR) mar­ket is ex­pand­ing at a fast pace but ex­perts have called for the tech­nol­ogy to be ap­plied to a wider range of sec­tors be­sides just en­ter­tain­ment and gam­ing, say­ing this is nec­es­sary for steady devel­op­ment of the mar­ket.

In­dus­try ex­perts noted that the re­tail sec­tor could ben­e­fit from this tech­nol­ogy by us­ing it as a value-added service for cus­tomers. For ex­am­ple, a scented can­dles re­tailer has de­vel­oped show­rooms in which con­sumers can use a VR head­set to gain an im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence with flo­ral fra­grances. Fur­ni­ture and in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tion re­tail­ers too can lever­age VR tech­nol­ogy to pro­vide their po­ten­tial buy­ers with ac­cu­rate man­i­fes­ta­tions of de­signs.

“It costs about 80 per­cent less to build a VR show­room to present ce­ramic prod­ucts to buy­ers than to cre­ate a show­room full of real ce­ram­ics. What’s more, in a VR show­room, buy­ers can view hun­dreds of pat­terns of ce­ram­ics and they can tell which de­tails they like the best and what al­ter­ations they wish to make,” said Zheng Hong, sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive with Lian­bang Ce­ram­ics Ltd Group.

“In a tra­di­tional show­room, con­sumers need to move from one area to an­other and spend half a day see­ing only a hand­ful choices.”

Real es­tate pro­fes­sion­als also said that VR and aug­mented re­al­ity (AR) can help their in­dus­try. Joey Chio, Se­nior As­so­ciate Di­rec­tor of Sav­ills China Re­tail Ten­ant Rep­re­sen­ta­tion, added that the tech­nol­ogy can also be used to de­liver a re­al­is­tic view­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to po­ten­tial home ten­ants and buy­ers, as com­pared to hav­ing to imag­ine how a prop­erty would look like based on a sand­box model or blue­print.

“There will be many op­por­tu­ni­ties to cre­ate con­tent for VR and AR when the hard­ware mar­ket for such tech is con­sol­i­dated fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of the in­dus­try stan­dards and reg­u­la­tions. VR and AR will hardly be used solely for en­ter­tain­ment pur­poses,” said Wang Qing, an­a­lyst with Shen­zhen-based Buteng VR Ltd.

Ac­cord­ing to a new re­search re­port jointly re­leased by the China Elec­tron­ics Stan­dard­iza­tion In­sti­tute and Xin­hua News Agency, the Chi­nese VR mar­ket was worth 1.54 bil­lion yuan ($236 mil­lion) in 2015 and is ex­pected to rise to more than 5 bil­lion yuan in 2016.

Al­fred Zhou, gen­eral man­ager of GfK China, a mar­ket re­search and con­sul­tancy ser­vices provider, es­ti­mated that 1.5 mil­lion sets of VR hard­ware will be sold in China in 2016.

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