Oculus Rift is cool, but what Nielsen works on could be more amazing!
The Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus last year is an example of how hot the Virtual Reality field is. I decided to do a quick patent search related to Virtual Reality Headset on the USPTO site with Petapator.
There are 35 patents under TTL/”Virtual Reality” and Headset. With no surprise, Oculus VR Inc. is one of the Assignees (US D701,206).
While I was browsing through the list of patents, I spotted the patents from The Nielsen Company. I wondered what a market research company like Nielsen had to do with Virtual Reality Headset, so I browsed further using number of the built-in Petapator tools right on my browser.
In Oct 2013, Nielsen filed a patent (8,548,852) on the “Effective Virtual Reality Environments for Presentation of Marketing Materials”. In the Abstract, it described the environment could input “in-store virtual reality environments such as supermarket aisles, store shelves, cooler displays, etc.”.
Given Nielsen is a company trying to understand “What People Watch, Listen To and Buy”, I can start to understand why Nielsen wants to invest in Virtual Reality. Today in order to understand the consumers’ preferences in the real shopping environment, Nielsen probably would have to set up expensive in-field tests. With Virtual Reality, Nielsen could set up a Virtual Shop to test the consumers’ feedback in this mock shopping experience.
I further browsed the patent list. As you can see in the next picture, the Word Cloud tool showed some interesting insights on the patent 8,392,250 – “related time-frequency analysis”, “collecting neuro-response”, “memory retention”. If Nielsen is able to create a Virtual Shop to show a market research test subject the suggested shop front display and simultaneously measure the neuro feedback from the test subject, this could be a game-changing innovation.
Then I did another quick search on USPTO with Petapator: AN/”nielsen company” AND “virtual reality”. Nielsen actually had started filing Virtual Reality related patents back in 2008!
The Facebook’s Oculus Rift certainly has generated lots of buzz and many media coverage. However, we should not underestimate the applicability of Virtual Reality in other fields as shown in this example.