To create a VR app for business is the right decision because virtual reality technology is popular and relatively new. In this case, the novelty of the technology is its benefit and drawback at the same time. On the one hand, you can gain a competitive advantage by offering your users an innovative application. On the other hand, VR app development is much more difficult than creating web and mobile applications. That is why the KeyUA technical team decided to share some insights into VR app development, explaining the process step by step.
Step 1 - Clarify Your Goals
Virtual reality is a relatively new technology, and its potential is not yet fully realized. However, to leverage its strengths to your business, the first thing to do is decide on the goals of your future virtual reality application.
Here are some examples of how virtual reality is being used across different industries to help companies achieve their goals:
improving user experience through virtual fitting rooms (“try before buy” approach)
improving and reducing the cost of the production process
strengthening brand positions
more efficient training of employees by simulating emergency and risky situations.
Immediately after virtual reality technologies were invented and created, the auto industry gained some advantages.
Virtual reality applications can significantly reduce the cost of creating a car through virtual simulation.
Leading manufacturers create prototypes of new models with data-driven customer preferences in mind, making production cheaper and increasing revenues.
Virtual reality applications, such as those already implemented by Porsche, allows users to test new car models virtually. The company can also get behavioral insights to rework them in the next strategy.
Virtual reality applications are incredibly useful for retail and e-commerce. First, they allow you to create more engaging commercials that provide a fully immersive user experience. Second, users can see and try on many products without leaving their homes using a VR app. It helps to reduce the number of returns and shipping costs. These two virtual reality opportunities for retail make a great combination.
Virtual reality technologies in real estate began to gain momentum during the quarantine period when agents could not meet with potential buyers and show them objects in real life. However, even under normal conditions, this technology is very promising for the real estate industry because it allows a potential tenant to plunge into the house or apartment’s atmosphere and get an impression of whether this option suits them or not.
Virtual reality applications are effective and, most importantly, safe technologies for simulating emergencies. This approach is already being used in law enforcement agencies to train correct behavior, responsiveness, and the ability to make decisions in critical situations.
Not so long ago, virtual tourism was the only option available. The tourism sector is starting to revive, and countries are opening their borders, but the possibilities of virtual reality remain effective. What is more, experts predict a significant rise in the price of travel services, the change of high and low seasons in popular destinations, and other not very pleasant changes. This means that many people will still be forced to choose virtual tourism, reducing actual travel frequency and duration.
The creation of architectural projects is an expensive initiative. What is more, mistakes in construction and design can be even more costly. Thus, developing virtual reality apps is promising for architecture. It allows you to make the design process cheaper and of higher quality, ensure that each decision is correct and safe, and attract investments in private and multi-story construction buildings.
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Step 2 - Choose the Right Platform
The second step in virtual reality app development is platform selection. Fortunately, at this point, you only have two options.
Develop an app for a virtual reality headset
Develop an app for a mobile device
There will also be traditional questions in the second case, like which operating system to focus on? However, the right answer is also quite traditional - start with your target audience research.
Most likely, you already understand which of the options suits your best. To definitively decide, remember that connecting your app to a VR device means additional expenses for your users. Make sure they are ready for them.
As for the mobile operating system, the final choice will depend on the share of your users using Android or iOS. What is more, modern technologies allow creating cross-platform VR apps if the share of users is equal.
Step 3 - Get in Touch With a Virtual Reality App Development Company
The next step is to find a reliable vendor and get in touch with your tech team. However, don’t forget that virtual reality is a relatively new technology, and not all companies on the market have experience creating it.
What is more, if you want to make a business VR app, you should choose a company that has already created VR solutions for businesses and is well-versed in your niche. This approach will allow you to save some time on business analysis and speed up your virtual reality developers’ work.
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Step 4 - Come up With the Right Design and Visual Solutions
To be honest, it's quite tricky to design a virtual reality application. When creating a web or mobile application, developers are limited by screen sizes, which significantly affects the process. Virtual reality aims to provide an extraordinarily complete and immersive experience.
Designers and developers have to create a complete 360-degree environment while keeping the best UI practices in mind. And this is neither the first nor the last challenge to virtual reality development.
VR App Specifics and Challenges
Since a VR app differs much from traditional mobile or web apps, you may face some technology-specific challenges.
Public acceptance issues. Many people still perceive VR as a toy and can’t realize the potential of this technology. Ensure your target audience will not only use a VR app but also influence your income before investing in its development.
Cybersecurity and data privacy. This is a classic challenge for any app. However, virtual reality regulations are still under development. Here is the comprehensive research discussing virtual privacy, virtual crimes, compliance, and liability.
Content quality. This is not the case for the gaming industry, where VR has been used for a long time. However, businesses that create VR apps for the first time should pay paramount attention to the content’s quality.
Step 5 - Create Content for a VR App
There are two basic ways to create quality VR application content.
Shoot 360-degrees videos with the help of spherical cameras or drones.
Make 3D animation.
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After your content is ready, it is necessary to embed it into a virtual environment with the tools listed below.
Main Tools to Develop an App for Virtual Reality
There are many VR software development tools, each of which is suitable for a specific project. We will list the main ones.
Unity. This technology is used to create VR apps that need special devices to run. Unity is suitable for Oculus, Sony, and other devices. In most cases, it is used for game development. However, it also has features to create solutions for the automotive and construction industries.
Amazon Sumerian. This is an easy to handle tool since it doesn't need any specific skills from your programmers. What is more, it is equally suitable for creating VR apps for mobile and Oculus platforms used for employee training, risk modeling, empowering shopping experience, and education.
Unreal Engine 4. This is a C++ and Python powered tool that provides access to a wide range of VR tools with a great emphasis on visual content, effects, and environment creation.
Blender. This is a high-quality yet still free tool to create awesome and engaging content for your VR app. It has tools for 3D modeling, rigging, simulation, video editing, and game creation.
Sketch Up Studio is a very powerful solution that can be used for VR app creating and video production. It is a specific tool for the construction and real estate industry since it makes interior and exterior prototyping much easier.
Step 6 - Launch to Market, Support, and Maintenance
Launching to market is the final stage of virtual reality application development. However, you should already have a well-developed marketing strategy at this stage if your app is for new customers and not internal use.
Since this technology promises an innovative experience, not all users are ready for it. To promote a VR application, you need to carefully segment them, find out the target groups who are tech-savvy enough to appreciate its benefits and outreach them with the help of the marketing channels they expect you to use.
As for supporting your app, this is an ongoing process, so don’t forget to add maintenance costs to your budget and business plan. Usually, the team developing virtual reality apps for you will also support and maintain them. This option will be less costly but more efficient since the creators will need less time to improve the solution and fix bugs.
How Much Does VR Application Development Cost?
Even though the technology is relatively new, creating a virtual reality application is becoming more affordable every year.
Of course, the final cost to develop a VR app will depend on the amount of functionality and the quantity (and quality) of the content that your app will use. Therefore, it makes sense to want accurate estimates at the stage of project discussion, when technical specialists have the first idea of what they have to create.
Building a virtual reality application is a complex but very engaging process. What is more, it opens up a lot of opportunities for your business. Most likely, your customers will appreciate the VR app developed by you. However, keep in mind the insights we have shared in this article to create a demanded and innovative solution. Let’s do it as competently as possible.
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