A related post explains how virtual reality revolutionizes visual analytics by providing a virtual presence combining data and the work environment. But a virtual presence is just one advantage of virtual reality.
Consider other, more analytical advantages of a 3D environment:
- More space for information: because virtual reality offers a 3D immersive experience, there’s practically unlimited space for exploring your data. Compare this with the desktop metaphor, where you get more space by either adding more monitors or opening additional windows and moving between them.
- A third dimension for information: because virtual reality is 3D, it offers an additional axis for data display and manipulation. In virtual reality, you can have a cube of data; on the desktop, you can have a table or spreadsheet. Many datasets are inherently three-dimensional. For instance, make, model, and year of cars in a fleet of vehicles.
- Context for data from the Internet of Things: An explosion of devices are becoming connected to the Internet and generating data: thermostats, appliances, cars and more. Having an immersive environment that replicates the physical one makes it easier to place all that data in a familiar context, making correlation and analysis much more intuitive.
Yes, you’d look silly in your office tomorrow morning, working at your desk with an Oculus headset covering half your head. Just remember that the original computer mouse was a block of wood with sensors, and computer monitors used to require cathode ray tubes that occupied half your desk. It’s quite possible that virtual reality will have more impact on how we work than the mouse and the monitor.