Breaking into the consumer market, Virtual Reality (VR) has now penetrated wide areas of the industrial market. Rapidly developing technologies are opening up new application possibilities with low cost and high quality solutions. Although VR has been used exclusively as a marketing tool in companies up to now, it is still being extended to support all areas of the complete product development process.
However, this is also accompanied by the difficulty to manage the amount of functionalities and design options associated with VR. Developers of such VR systems must nevertheless maintain an overview of the multitude of technological and content-related possibilities and bring them in line with the requirements of VR customers or VR users. At the same time, VR customers must also have an idea of the technological possibilities and formulate their vision of a VR system as precisely, completely and goal-oriented as possible. In the end, both sides must find a common level of communication in order to record the characteristics of the VR system in the form of a requirement specification or an offer. Factors such as different terminologies and different views about the product development process along with the diverse knowledge about VR functionalities on both sides complicate this process.
This article is intended to show the concept for a toolbox that supports the definition of a customer-specific VR solution. This shall exploit the full potential of VR for the customer’s specific product development process in VR. The generic product development process will be studied and the VR application areas will be located. In this regard, a classification of the main components of VR systems is performed. The goal of such a classification is to establish a relationship between the product model (along with product specific properties and relationships) and the VR system components.
As the field of VR does not yet have an established set of standardized terms, a definition of all terms in this context can help to improve communication between customer and developer. This article shows how a toolbox for agencies and development departments must be structured so that the VR developer can design, evaluate, calculate and develop a complex VR system in a customer-oriented way. Furthermore, the vision of the toolbox presented in this paper also has the goal that the VR customer can specifically formulate his/her requirements in a customer-specific way that leads to an easier understanding for VR developer and eventually to a VR solution.
Finally, the possibility of extension of the presented toolbox structure is discussed to automatically generate specification proposals and suitable technology recommendation based on the problem at hand.