International News from World: Business success in the 21st century hinges on access to valuable data and making smart use of it. Few companies have been better positioned on that front than Facebook (NASDAQ:FB).
Massive adoption and engagement for platforms like Instagram and its namesake social media network have given Facebook an edge in data and distribution that helped turn the company into one of this century’s biggest success stories so far. The social media giant leveraged its incredible user base and data access into a leading position in the digital advertising market, and it trails only Alphabet’s Google in terms of overall digital-ad market share.
Now the company is looking to bolster its position in the Data Age by gathering information from its Oculus virtual-reality (VR) headsets. Turning Oculus devices into data sources makes a lot of sense in light of VR’s big potential, and the move is part of a trend that sees historically software-focused companies pursuing hardware initiatives as ways to collect valuable information.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a big believer in the potential of virtual reality and has even stated that he thinks VR could succeed mobile as the next revolutionary computing platform. Facebook purchased VR company Oculus in 2014 at a price reported to be in the $3 billion range. And while the VR unit initially operated largely separate from the parent organization, it was always likely that it would see tighter integration.
Along with the debut of new social connectivity features, Oculus recently announced that its devices will share information with Facebook a change in policy for the VR unit that many suspected would happen eventually. The user data will be employed in the company’s digital advertising platform, but it’s also being used to inform the development of social VR apps at Facebook.
Mass adoption for VR is years away from becoming reality, and it may never happen at all. But Facebook has big incentives to lay the groundwork for a leading position in the space. VR could change the way the world experiences social media, reshaping the digital advertising landscape in the process and revolutionizing fields like e-commerce and gaming.