(Jackson, Wyo.) - At this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, virtual reality was all the rage. While it may seem like something we will have in the distant future, it's already here, and it's already here in Jackson Hole. Local resident Ray Espinoza founded the company Rebranding360
several years ago, which provides virtual
tours for businesses. Since then, his company has sold to Google. Using
Espinoza's technology, when you search for a business on Google Earth or
Google Street View, you can also see inside. Last week, Google converted
this virtual tour to a virtual reality tour.
Using your smartphone, an app called Street View and a $5 virtual reality
viewer like Google Cardboard (learn more about these here
), you can do a virtual reality tour
of about 40 local businesses.
The virtual reality tour allows you to virtually walk around a business,
turn your head to look around, up and down, and click one button to move in
any direction you wish. You can even test it without the virtual reality
viewer by just downloading the app, although it isn't quite as cool...
This is a screenshot of the virtual reality tour of inside of the Million
Dollar Cowboy Bar:
[image: Inline image 1]
And here is the virtual reality tour of Cowboy Coffee:
[image: Inline image 2]
Espinoza is convinced that this type of virtual reality will revolutionize
the tourism industry.
"The switch was just flipped to make it virtual reality [by Google]," said
Espinoza. "I would argue that the switch from 2D virtual tours to 3D
virtual reality will create a new renaissance for how we do life -- from
tourism, to booking hotels, to restaurant reservations, and more."
Although many businesses in Jackson are ready for the virtual reality
technology (thanks to Espinoza living here), only about five percent of the
world has been photographed to allow for virtual reality.
"Jackson is further along than many other cities," said Espinoza.
According to Espinoza, Google is working towards making virtual reality
available for the masses.
*Feature Photo: Pastor Brian Hunter trying out virtual reality with Google
Cardboard. h/t Ray Espinoza / Pitchengine Communities*
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