Jim Jenkins-Jones stayed at home in Wales for a year due to the pandemic, and was able to fulfill a promise she made to her 10-year-old daughter to see the aurora borealis in Iceland or the South African reserves. In virtual reality. .
“It has been blown up!“, She explains, describing these experiences.”Lifebuoys. “
The limitations imposed by Covid-19 are generating increased interest in these dives in virtual reality thanks to new applications, and a few hundred dollars of investment for the headphones and / or console needed to power them.
Anything is possible: a trip to Machu Picchu (Peru), in the tropical forests of Borneo, or a “road trip” across the United States at the wheel of an open car.
Data on travel use in virtual reality is still limited, but its developers assert that demand is growing, such as Cezara Windrem, creator of the Alcove VR platform at AARP Innovation Labs.
“We always have more memberships every month“He said.
Thanks to Alcove, users can visit exotic places like coral reefs in Australia and the island of Malta, or share a virtual experience with a family member who does not possess the necessary technical skills.
“Many people decided to buy a helmet for the elderly of their family. “Vendrim explains. “This allows for trips together during containment.“
Others play chess with a person who lives on the other side of the planet.
With the tourism industry devastated by the epidemic, virtual reality has become an alternative to real-world travel and a complement to future trip planning.
Therefore, app developers have created a set of specific experiences: visiting the pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal, the savannah of Kenya or the Antarctic kayak, with the help of commercial operators or organizations such as the National Geographic or the World Wildlife Fund.
Users can choose the inexpensive Oculus devices from Facebook, Sony’s PlayStation, or Google Cardboard.
“Every week since the beginning of the epidemic, I have been traveling from my home in complete comfort. Rafael Curtis, a San Antonio computer scientist who uses Alcove and YouTube VR, says.
“I went to London, to the glass bridge in China, to Angel Falls in Venezuela, to the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, and I took a helicopter tour in New York., He explains.
Amy Erdt lives in Portland, Oregon, but she also “wanders” around her sister in Wallingford, England.
She runs a Facebook group of VR users and claims to have remarkably realistic virtual “travel experiences”.
“I once sat at a virtual reality poker table at 1 a.m. with a guy in Australia eating KFC“, as you say.”I could hear a bangChicken.
A sustainable passion?
At the moment, the most popular apps are still those in the gaming and fiction world.
But travel is on the rise.
“While we are socially isolated, it may seem strange that we isolate ourselves more to move to another place, but it allows us to experience things that we cannot live today.Avi Greengart, an analyst at the techsponential consulting firm, notes.
Of course, he says, virtual reality travel lacks culinary or sensory experiences. “We don’t have a chance to meet the residents either.“, He admitted.
But on the contrary, we could have a museum for all of us. ”Impossible in the physical world, He adds.
Before the pandemic, virtual and augmented reality began to attract tour operators and tourist offices who saw it as a way to give a taste of the stays on offer. For clients, it’s a way to improve their journey, according to a report by research firm GlobalData.
Finally, the health crisis will make it possible to show that these are not simple tools, as Ralph Hollister concludes, from GlobalData.
“Food trailblazer. Passionate troublemaker. Coffee fanatic. General analyst. Certified creator. Lifelong music expert. Alcohol specialist.”