Male playing VR with data collection

Traditional Data We'll See in VR

As VR becomes more commonplace, the types of data collected are becoming more sophisticated. Some of this data has been around for a while but is now being used in new ways thanks to VR technology.

User IDs and Passwords

This is the most basic type of data required to create an account for any online service. In VR, these are used for logging in to the various virtual worlds that users will be interacting with. A notable example is Meta Horizons.

Location Data

Tracking a user’s location is critical for many VR applications and platforms, especially those involving social interactions or physical spaces such as stores or restaurants.

The data can provide valuable insights into consumer preferences and behavior. Therefore, companies and marketers can use it to generate targeted ads and content.

Browsing and Search History

The data is collected when users interact with VR applications, websites, and platforms. It helps organizations understand what kinds of content or products are of interest to the user. It can also be used to show personalized content to customers.

The Addition of New Data Types

Besides traditional data, such as name and email address, other types of information can be collected through virtual reality. Some of the most common data sets include:

Biometric Data

It includes the user’s eye movements, heart rate, facial expressions, and muscle tension. For instance, Facebook’s Oculus Rift can track a user’s eye movements to understand their level of engagement. 

Such data can be used for marketing purposes, as well as to improve the user experience.

VR for business. Woman wearing teslasuit showing how it is immersive.
Woman wearing teslasuit showing how it is immersive.

Such data pertains to the user’s surroundings, such as temperature, lighting, and sound. The Oculus privacy policy says that the device collects information about the user’s dimensions, physical movements, and environment. 

Plus, it also collects information about specific identifiers that are particular to you.

Behavioral Data

VR data collection is not merely limited to collecting information about the user’s environment but also includes their behavioral patterns. For example, a VR app can track how users interact with each other and analyze the types of conversations that take place.

Similarly, it can gauge how they move through virtual spaces to understand what they are doing or looking for.

VR data collection is still in its early days. However, it has the potential to revolutionize the way marketing and advertising are done. Plus, it can also be used to improve the user experience. But, as with any new technology, there are privacy concerns that need to be addressed.

Risks of VR Data Collection

User privacy is at the forefront of any discussion about data collection. However, when it comes to collecting biometric and behavioral data, a few key risks stand out.

Data Security

Data breaches are always a risk, especially when sensitive information is being collected. If the data falls into the wrong hands, it can be used for identity theft, fraud, or other malicious activities.

Lack of Transparency

Another concern is the lack of transparency about how VR data is being collected and used. Most companies have lengthy privacy policies that are hard to understand.

As a result, users are often unaware of what information is being collected about them. More importantly, they are not given a choice about whether or not they want to share their data.

Intrusive Data Collection

When a VR app tracks a user’s behavior, it can quickly become overwhelming. Users may feel like they are being constantly monitored and their privacy is being invaded.

Furthermore, some VR applications require users to share personal information, such as their name, age, and gender. It can be intrusive, especially if the user is not given the option to remain anonymous.

Tools for Collecting Data

Tools used to facilitate learning and research through virtual reality are often the source of user data. For instance, XpertVR creates engaging simulations for eLearning, allowing students to understand complex topics with ease. Likewise, the company also creates customizable VR environments for research purposes.

Another company, called Cognitive 3D, works with spatial data to create dynamic 3D environments. These environments can be used for training, marketing research, or even crime scene reconstruction.

The Future of VR Data Collection

As the VR industry continues to grow, so does the need for data. However, it is vital to strike a balance between collecting data and respecting user privacy.

Companies can take a few steps to ensure data privacy and secure data collection. For instance, data collection in the Metaverse can be facilitated using blockchain technology. It gives users greater control over the data they share and can help prevent unauthorized access.

Another approach is to limit the amount of data collected in the first place. For example, it could involve only collecting behavioral data when needed, rather than continuously monitoring user activity.

Ultimately, companies must be transparent about their data collection practices and give users the option to opt-in or opt-out. Otherwise, VR data collection could harm the industry as a whole.

Final Words

Today, VR has advanced to a point where VR devices, such as gaming headsets and smartphones can collect biometric and behavioral data.

Previously, users only had to provide limited information, such as their names, ages, and email addresses. With VR, companies can collect information about users’ behavior, environments, interactions, heart rate, pupil dilation, etc.

As the industry continues to grow, the need for VR data collection will also experience a rise. Therefore, companies need to mitigate potential risks to protect user privacy.

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