Virtual reality is a cool new technology that aims to replicate an environment as accurately as possible and enable users to interact with it in a digitally-generated simulation. The immersive option, advancing in leaps and bounds, is set to become massively popular because it allows the user to feel like they're actually at a concert, a soccer match, a seminar, etc.
And although it's a given that entertainment and sports industries will benefit greatly from virtual reality, businesses in other industries will be able to use it to their advantage as well. You can give your audience a 360-degree look behind the scenes of your business or film a 360-degree product video to stand out. Here's what you need to know about YouTube's new virtual reality live-streaming and 3D sound options, and how you can utilize them for your business:
California's Coachella Festival is First
According to YouTube, certain concerts from California's Coachella Festival were the first to live-stream in 360-degrees with YouTube's virtual reality facility. YouTube also recently announced that their platform will now support spatial audio, also called 3D audio. Spatial audio causes you to feel like sounds are coming from various directions and distances. Virtual reality experiences will be enhanced by 3D audio because it makes the simulation more realistic.
YouTube Introduced 360-Degree Videos in March 2015
For about a year, interactive 360-degree videos have been supported on YouTube. A few months after YouTube's initial introduction of 360-degree videos, they announced that businesses can use virtual reality ads too. Viewers can change the perspective of a 360 video by clicking and dragging their mouse, or by tilting their smartphone or tablet.
Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer of YouTube, wrote in a blog post:
"From musicians to athletes to brands, creators have done some incredible things with this technology. Now they'll be able to do even more to bring fans directly into their world, with 360-degree live streaming."
Who's Able to Broadcast 360-Degree Videos on YouTube?
You'll need a 360-degree camera to broadcast 360 videos on YouTube. Your device also needs to be able to upload at 10Mbps-20Mbps. As long as you meet those two requirements, you'll be able to live stream and record 360-degree video videos on the platform.
YouTube's new 3D audio feature will only work when viewers wear headphones and use YouTube's Android app. Those who want to record spatial audio must use special microphones that support binaural recordings. It's not as widespread as 360-degree videos yet, but it's likely to catch up.
Should Your Business Consider Uploading 360-Degree Videos?
As Chris Green, a tech analyst at the business consultancy Lewis, notes, "We're seeing a lot of interest in virtual reality driven by the surge in affordable VR headsets that use smartphones as their screens". Green also expects that there will be fierce competition between YouTube, Facebook, and a few other major players to dominate the virtual reality industry.
If you're a business owner who starts marketing with 360-degree videos, you'll have a competitive edge over others in your niche. Just as social media marketing became increasingly popular to the point that consumers expect all businesses to have a social media presence, 360-degree videos will likely grow in popularity over the next few years.
The early birds to this fresh opportunity will benefit the most.
Just over a year after adopting new technology to enable virtual reality videos to be uploaded on YouTube, the company's now opening the door for live virtual reality streaming with 3D sound. This is relevant to all business owners because 360-degree videos and spatial audio provide audiences with a more interactive and immersive experience.
And as we know, interaction with your audience is important for ongoing business success.
This post originally appeared on The Fried Side blog.