Yes, virtual reality (VR) can make you more empathetic. And, according to renowned VR guru Jeremy Bailenson, it can also cut business costs, boost employee productivity, help you save money for retirement and improve your basketball game.

Sounds too good to be true – but Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, is proving VR’s very real potential to influence human behavior and thought. As he recently explained to Charlie Rose, “For the first time in human history, people are going to be able to hit a button and experience anything they can fathom.”

Bailenson, who has exposed VR to such influencers as Silicon Valley titans (Mark Zuckerberg), commissioners (NFL’s Roger Goodell) and heads of state (President Obama), is convinced VR could touch and transform every industry – and in some forms, already has. U.S. military soldiers train through VR. NASA engineers are learning how to fix satellites. Car companies are taking virtual test drives. Surgeons test-run highly technical and sensitive surgeries before they operate.

A natural extension of every major technology we use today – of movies, TV, videoconferencing, the smartphone, the web – VR has the promise and potential to help us communicate better, learn differently and work smarter. Consider the possibilities: diversity training in corporations; educational tools in classrooms; product experiences for retailers. It could also redefine telecommuting and virtual meetings. Bailenson believes “we can actually make VR better than face-to-face.”

VR for business and industry is no longer a question of if – it’s when, and it’s now. You’re not too late, but it won’t be long before the world starts to look very different through the lens of VR. Contact us to hear how Bailenson can help your organization realize its power.