It’s not just the serious gamers that are enchanted by virtual reality.
Breakthroughs in computing performance, hardware economies of scale and 3D expertise have enabled a resurgence of VR’s promise in recent years, and 2018 could mark the beginning of VR’s hockey stick growth trajectory.
This year, virtual reality is the new go-to technology across industry verticals and is the medium that helps approach solutions in an innovative way.
For example, Benaroya Research Institute in Seattle uses a VR program called Confocal VR to understand diseases like Type 1 diabetes and are looking to cure it in new ways by getting more insights into it.
Retail management has also found uses for VR, who are training their staff using it to manage the customers who can be insistent and keep things cool for the coming holidays.
Even in entertainment sector, its uses are expanding to the public not associated with video games. For example, Japan is already seeing a wave of VR themed parks, where friends and spouses can have surreal and personal experience and which can later be shared in their social feed to the envy of their social media observers.
This demonstrates that VR is witnessing a market call that is more than lukewarm. It could also be the right time to look for opportunities, previously thought of but not necessarily explored, across many sectors including training, media and simulation.
For example, there are many existing products used for training and education that can be adapted to VR. It already has an interesting market status in education, and is slowly gaining its moment in entertainment and health industries, with VR themed amusement parks in Japan and more opening in the US and apps like Anatomyou helping students understand the human body, respectively.
People at Decentraland, a user-owned virtual platform, understood business opportunity in VR when they realized that they could enhance its use by giving the consumers a “control of their creations”. They do this by enabling their customers to buy a piece of land with Ethereum blockchain and making them the permanent owners of it. Introducing blockchain in the equation further illustrates that VR’s use crosses industries and for various purposes.
Each industry may find new solutions to their own unique challenges. Experimentation is key to finding the biggest opportunities for innovation. This dynamic may be led by content and media platform producers over single-product startups, given the efficiency benefits of reused assets and optimizations for realism in VR. Facebook and Google have already made bold strides towards this future with Social VR application experimentation and YouTube experience respectively.
While the market continues to fragment as dozens of new entrants appear, an opportunity for aggregation and Business to Business (B2B) sales across business VR experiences is an untapped market. Technology vendors are uniquely positioned to support a new app store for these customers.
This makes the coming years for VR exciting. While it might still take a few years for it to be used commercially, it will be safe to assume that it is possible for VR to be used by various companies that will force us to think about approaching a solution differently.
Sachi Mulmi is a researcher with Frost & Sullivan. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sapan Agarwal drives content and marketing for Frost & Sullivan. Sapan is based out of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and can be reached at email@example.com | +603 6204 5830