Vr and real world places
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Can VR cultivate connection with the real world?

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Can VR cultivate connection with the real world?

AUTHOR: IN: DATE: 21 SEPTEMBER 2023
Can VR cultivate connection with the real world?

Could the virtual world become more attractive to spend time in than the real world? That is a dystopian question which writers and film makers have already begun to explore. If everything can be recreated digitally, what drive is there to look after it physically?

As VR producers, we have an opportunity, not only to create out-of-this-world-experiences, but also harness VR as a channel to drive positive action and behaviours in the real world.

There is the potential across the customer journey of the experience, so pre, during and after the immersion itself – to inform people about the world and inspire them to look after it differently.

As a starter for ten, here are 12 ways that VR can cultivate connection with real world places:

  1. Offering the chance to explore real-life-locations

Using VR, you can explore any environment you can possibly imagine, from iconic landmarks to natural wonders and cultural sites. This could enable people to explore places they would not be able to otherwise.

  1. Education and cultural preservation

Storytelling and gamification in VR can help to educate people about the history, culture, and heritage of different locations.

  1. Archiving and documenting

VR can help to preserve cultural heritage by digitally documenting at risk or inaccessible sites, ensuring their legacy is safeguarded for future generations.

  1. Environmental awareness and conservation efforts

VR has the power to raise awareness about environmental issues and promote conservation efforts. By immersing users in virtual ecosystems, they can witness the beauty and fragility of natural environments, inspire people to act and make sustainable choices in their daily lives.

  1. Scenario illustration

With VR, you can literally time travel to see the past, present, and future, so you can use it to play out scenarios of what could happen, if positive or negative influences are applied to an environment.

  1. Empathy and social impact

VR has the potential to foster empathy by enabling users to experience the lives of others in different parts of the world. It can shed light on social issues, such as poverty, inequality, and human rights abuses. It can therefore encourage individuals to get involved in charitable causes and support organisations working towards social change.

  1. The moral of the story

Storytelling in VR, even when focused on entertainment, like all storytelling it can have an underlying more serious moral message. 

  1. Learning through experience

Compared to other channels, such as TV and literature, with VR, you can be the hero of your own journey, make your own choices and try to do things for yourself. Technology is continuously improving to engage all of the senses in immersive experiences, facilitating the impact of experiential learning.

  1. Collaborative virtual experiences

VR can facilitate people learning through shared experience. This could be valuable for promoting teamwork and collaborative movements towards change, as well as offering the chance for cultural exchange and wider participation.

  1. Inspiration for tourism

From a tourism point of view, VR can be used as a “trailer” for real world places. You could use VR to showcase a destination and encourage people to visit it.

  1. Interdimensional geocaching

Using gamification, you can hide things in the VR experience, for people to find, that people can also go and find in the real world – a kind of interdimensional geocaching. This can be used to send people to real world places and fulfil actions when they get there.

  1. Signposting what to do next

When people experience something in VR, you have their captured attention in a digital space, so it is easy to signpost them digitally elsewhere. For example, you could drive online donations, voting, commenting, sharing their experiences on social media, purchases, signing up for newsletters, and offering further learning or toolkits for behaviour change.

However, you use VR it is useful to consider what it is that you want people to think, feel and do after the experience and whether you can use it, to be meaningful in some way, to drive positive connection and action in the real world.

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