The New Trend In Data Visualization: Virtual Reality

For many years, we have all been waiting for the fabled Internet of Things to come to fruition with a move towards virtual reality and augmented reality expected to make the leap to a new way of doing business. If you are like me, you will probably be waiting for the major changes to come to your business when it comes to big data, virtual reality, and data visualization. Forbes reports the majority of us believing big data to be a liability when there is so much information being created we do not have the time or ability to use it properly.

What is data visualization?

Most experts believe the first attempts at data visualization were developed in the 17th-century with the creation of the pie chart. The first true use of data visualization. Experts, such as Yale University Professor Edward Tufte point to the birth of data visualization coming in 1825 with the development of the Minard Map charting the retreat of Napoleon’s forces from Russia in 1812. The map was created by Charles Joseph Minard in 1825 and links information including the burning of crops, temperature, and battles fought by the invading French army with their retreat.

Big data and visualization

In business, we are constantly being bombarded with data, which some statistics state is only being used at a rate of less than one percent for unstructured data. This problem has already been addressed in the medical research sector by a team from The University of Georgia who are looking to develop new ways of identifying trends for outbreaks suing their own big data. The Guardian reports the team had been working for a number of years to study outbreaks of Ebola and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in parts of the African Continent. However, the ability to use the data to identify trends and spot the most successful treatments had eluded them. New models and the use of the data sourced are becoming important if cities and small municipal authorities are to understand how best to respond to epidemics in the future.

Virtual reality comes of age

Less than a decade ago, virtual reality was being touted as the next great advance in gaming. The use of virtual reality was also being linked to the development of the Internet of Things and the planned use of big data across many different sectors. In terms of data visualization, virtual reality sometimes referred to as augmented reality is finally being used to its full potential with big data finally being put in a visual form easily understood by business people like ourselves. 

One of the first uses of data visualization actually came in the medical sector with surgeons using the data created through MRI scans to explore in minute detail the area to be targeted in any surgical procedure. For the majority of us non-medical professionals, we are looking at data to improve our business opportunities. For myself, I always felt the majority of visuals used on paper were limited to a small number of information points. By introducing 3-D data visualization into my own everyday life, I have seen the number of areas of information expand to make it easy for myself to compare and contrast five or six different metrics.

Easy to share

Data visualization using virtual reality offers a range of benefits for both large and small businesses. Virtual reality can be shared across a network with a number of employees or business partners looking at the same information with the ability to pull it apart and isolate the aspects of data most important to their company. For myself, I believe the ability to share data visually aids the learning of all my partners and employees to make this perhaps the most important way of sharing information and developing my business for the future

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