Why the suit and ties don’t understand VR

September 2016

I was attending a VR summit in London yesterday, sitting in a room full of suits who all shared a burning desire to decode VR, and how it applies to their businesses. There were good speakers on the panel, and smart things were said, but to whom where they speaking? For many, the VR-fog never lifted from their eyes, and the suits went back to their businesses just as confused about VR as when they came in through the doors 6 hours earlier. The worst thing was observing the tech people cling together, happily talking tech with each other, sharing their obsessive interest neglecting marketing executives who will ultimately invest in this industry.

I have seen this many times before. VR doesn’t make sense to people who’ve never tried VR. You might think that you totally get it, but I promise you that you don’t. It’s like using your intellectual capacity to understand the concept of pizza. You understand how its made, and you recognise all the ingredients, but if you have never tasted pizza in your life, you need to be a professional chef in order to have a realistic concept of what it might taste like. And even then, it’s hard to get excited about an intellectual understanding of a great experience.

At a minimum, any summit or conference introducing VR to a new audience, should offer the participants an opportunity to get their feet wet. One great example could be to hand out sponsored Google Cardboards together with their nametags. But Cardboards will only give you a 3DOF experience (Google it!) and immersive VR is a 6DOF experience. So getting your head into an HTC Vive or an Oculus is an even better eye opener.

Now that you have a leg to stand on, you can hump your way into the auditorium to hear the experts talking about how VR will change the way your company does everything from marketing, to training, project planning, and even business meetings.

But a VR summit without VR, is like a pizza without tomato sauce – you’ll just not get what the hype is all about.