It was widely reported recently that cows in Russia have been given Virtual Reality (VR) headsets in a bid to increase milk productivity by making the bovines believe that they live in permanently green and pleasant lands.
According to The Telegraph Moscow’s agriculture ministry, which announced the pilot project at a large dairy farm outside the capital, cited research that happy cows produce more milk, saying “the quantity, and sometimes the quality of milk increases markedly in a calm atmosphere.”
In what is believed to be a world first, the RusMoloko farm has partnered with researchers and veterinarians to implement a special VR programme developed specifically for cows.
Virtual reality architects created a unique summer field simulation programme based on numerous studies showing that cows are better at perceiving shades of red than green and blue tones on the colour spectrum. Therefore a red-focused colour scheme for the VR simulation makes a perpetual summer even more enjoyable for the cows.
The headsets have been specifically designed for the shape of a cow’s head, and early tests have shown positive results.
During the first test, experts recorded a decrease in anxiety and an increase in the overall emotional mood of the herd. As a result the developers intend to scale the project and modernise the entire domestic dairy production industry.
All well and good but what has this got to do with customer data?
Quite a lot actually. It shows that technology that was once considered futuristic is now becoming more mainstream. If it’s good enough for cows, it’s good enough for us.
This is made even more evident by Facebook’s latest acquisition of Beat Games, the developers behind the VR gaming sensation Beat Saber. It became the first VR game to sell more than 1 million copies earlier this year and was so successful that Facebook advertised it along with its Oculus headset. VR is becoming a significant part of Facebook’s innovation strategy with the social giant making plans to push VR to new heights.
With VR headsets predicted to be flying off the shelves this Christmas and worldwide sales expected to reach $98.4 million by 2023 a significant proportion of the population will soon be VR enabled. This provides huge opportunities for brands wishing to implement VR into their customer experience. For innovator brands the first mover advantage will be significant from a data perspective alone. Virgin data from real time immersion levels to eye tracking can be collected and analysed leading to insight that will drive competitive advantage. Obviously, the right permissions will need to be in the place and the CDP will need to be optimised, however, the opportunity it presents is too commercially attractive to remain niche for long.
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