Data centers in the service of virtual reality

Author: Atman

Virtual reality (VR) is primarily associated with entertainment. Unjustly. Technology that allows us to create the illusion of any body in which we can act as our own, has more and more business usages. However, it is a huge challenge for the entire IT department. As with any new technology, the implementation and operation of VR requires adequate preparation, especially as regards data processing.

According to IDC, global spending on virtual and extended reality is expected to reach $27 billion in 2018. However, the estimated value of the market is already estimated at USD 209 billion in 2022. Industry, medicine, education or HR are the areas where the use of VR is already bringing spectacular results.

How to cross the ocean of data?

One of the main barriers in the adaptation of virtual reality is still the uncertainty as to the effects of the implementation of this technology. In addition, according to analysts from Ernst & Young, many companies do not have the resources and facilities to support VR solutions without any problems. Experience shows that these problems can be overcome, for example by outsourcing technology. That’s what Audi did, for example, opening its virtual showroom in London. Technological know-how and management were left to the British company ZeroLight.

Implementing technology is one thing, but in order for the virtual reality to fulfil its business tasks, IT departments need to resolve many other issues. A major challenge faced by enterprises is the processing of an enormous amount of data in real time. VR needs the technology to store and share massive storage to work.

A single VR device can generate up to 1 terabyte of data per hour, which can be compared to approximately 17,000 hours of digitally stored music. Performing 60 different simulations, each lasting 3 hours, will therefore require 180 terabytes of storage space. Of course, these numbers will grow with the growing popularity of virtual reality.

For many companies, managing this data volume can be a difficult nut to crack. It is necessary to create a multi-level and long-term strategy, e.g. using server colocation in a professional data center, or outsourcing IT infrastructure, such as dedicated server services or cloud computing.

Business discovers the virtual world

However, despite the challenges and adversities, virtual development will only accelerate with growing awareness of the benefits for business. The effects of serious business implementations are already visible. One of the UK’s oldest financial institutions, Lloyds Banking Group, has been using VR glasses in its recruitment processes since 2016. The awareness of this solution increased not only the number of candidates applying for a job, but also the quality of submitted applications. The proportion of compliant applications increased from 40% in 2014 to more than 72%.

Similar results were achieved with the use of VR in Deutsche Bahn AG. Implementation of virtual reality in recruitment processes increased the interest in the company to such an extent that the number of applications for some positions rose even 10-fold.

An interesting example of the implementation of VR for educational purposes can be found in the research university Case Western Reserve. In 2019, the authorities of the university want to give up the prosectorium completely, and tools of virtual reality will be made available to students studying anatomy. The tools will display anatomical images and students will be able to view them from any angle, and work with them interactively.

Being Albert Einstein

Virtual reality can support not only recruitment or education. Researchers from Spain have recently proven that VR tools can also help us raise potential employees’ hidden competences. Especially if we play the role of Albert Einstein himself.

Researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and the Faculty of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology at the University of Barcelona studied two groups of 15 men aged 18-30. One of them cocmprised of people with the highest coefficient of low self-esteem and the lowest IQ (according to psychological tests). The members of this group gained the body of Albert Einstein thanks to the virtual reality, and the second group members received their own virtual likenesses.

It turned out that the people who played the role of the famous Nobel Prize winner performed much better in a series of tasks testing their ability to plan and solve problems. Moreover, they were more self-confident than those with theoretically higher self-confidence and IQ.

Spanish researchers hope that the results of their research will contribute to a much wider use of virtual reality in education, e.g. of health care staff, or in recruitment processes.