Business-App Developers: Pay Attention to Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift

Those who know about Oculus VR, maker of the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset, assume that the company (along with third-party developers) will devote the bulk of its time and attention to gaming. After all, the firm boasts legendary game developer John Carmack as its CTO, and every video it produces seems to focus on the device’s ability to deliver an immersive gaming experience.

With Oculus’s reputation on the rise (thanks in large part to its acquisition by Facebook), other companies have begun experimenting with the device—but not for games. This week, Salesforce announced that its Salesforce Wear ecosystem will support Oculus Rift. Salesforce wants wearable electronics to run enterprise apps, which in turn would increase its customer base. The biggest question is what sort of enterprise apps would work with Oculus, and whether companies would really devote the time and resources necessary to build them.

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Other firms already have business-centric experiments with Oculus underway. In June, Bloomberg announced that it had designed software for Oculus Rift that would allow traders to view dozens of virtual screens at once. “This is a mockup of how virtual reality can be applied in the workplace,” Nick Peck, a Bloomberg employee responsible for creating the software, told Quartz at the time. “I really wanted to explore how virtual reality could solve one of the most basic problems we hear about: limited screen real estate.” If Bloomberg’s experiment ever enters the mainstream, it would presumably find an audience with those financial pros for whom four, six, eight, or even 10 screens displaying market data aren’t enough.

In Europe, the Norwegian Armed Forces have taken the use of Oculus Rift even further, testing whether the headset (along with a handful of sensors) can control a real-life tank.

Given all that attention, maybe it’s time for developers who dismissed Oculus as a gaming device to give the platform another look.

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Image: Oculus VR

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