Virtual RealityImmersive Technology

Who is Leading the Way in Enterprise VR Innovation?

As the evolution of VR technology continues to gain momentum in quality and affordability, its impact is changing how different industries train, design, collaborate, and market to their audiences.

As you have probably become aware, the spread of consumer-oriented VR has opened the doors to immersive tech being used in many industries from architecture, to retail, to medicine. Nowadays, there is more accessibility to affordable VR hardware, as well as experienced developers.

Of course, the capabilities for this new medium can be a bit overwhelming. The biggest questions industry end-users seem to be asking themselves are:

“How can VR enhance my business?”, “How are our competitors using VR?”, “Is this the best solution for my needs?”

Those who supply the services and software will need to know who their potential customers are, and how they want to use virtual reality.

Additionally, the rise of augmented reality and mixed reality has made us question if VR will even remain the dominant form of immersive technology, or if there is a need to shift resources over to AR and MR sooner than later.


Industry End Users Are Limited, But a Valuable Part of The VR Space

The share of content of creators now involved in the immersive technology is beginning to far outnumber their potential enterprise customers. This means that the use of immersive technology still needs to expand in order for industries to support a high volume of enterprise focused content creators. On the other side of the coin, these content creators will need to invest further in marketing themselves, and show solid examples of how VR services are able to help end users’ bottom lines everywhere.

In a recent VR intelligence survey, education and healthcare trump all other industry end-user entities with the high volume of academic institutions and medical facilities leveraging the power of virtual reality.

For example, the company WorldViz, which creates high-end VR solutions and scenarios, has schools suchs as Stanford, Brown, and MIT as clients. Additionally, Google Expeditions allows elementary school students to take VR field trips without ever leaving the classroom.

From 3-D operating room simulations to decentralized mental health treatments, VR and AR are expected to have wide-ranging applications for healthcare as well. These advancements are predicted to generate $2.54 billion globally by 2020, according to one estimate.

Compared to education and healthcare, other industries such as automotive or travel, have a smaller amount of enterprise-level businesses using virtual reality. Supply-side firms are successful by targeting select, valuable clients within these spaces, as implementing VR can be an arduous task even for the largest demand-side companies.

Industries like manufacturing and industrial engineering will need products tailored to their specific needs that only specialized developers can provide. Without the proper supply, this innovation will be inhibited. However, many companies in education will be able to use the same tools to service a number of applications in those industries. There can be just a few developers that can license out an application for a variety of services.

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VR Training Solutions and Design Tools Have the Widest Range of Customer Potential

From the same survey, industry end-users either currently use VR, or plan to use VR, in training and simulation, as the most popular avenue. Product design and engineering is a good follow up, and extremely important to fields such as the auto industry. In fact, companies like GM now rely on virtual reality to design prototypes of cars without the need for building a physical model.

As you can see, suppliers cannot hope to provide just one offering or one approach to industry end-users since they will not all have the same needs.


VR Developers Prep For a Shift to AR and MR

Lately in AR and MR innovations, it seems that it could very well have a greater impact overall, more than VR. As Pokemon GO showed, consumers are seemingly ready for mobile-based AR. However, smart glasses still have a ways to go in order to become more affordable and sleek enough for mass adoption by consumers. Enterprise will lead early in adoption of headset-based AR/MR, so long as the devices are not too expensive and bulky for their consumers.


Looking Forward

The benefits of virtual reality is no longer a theory, as industry end-users publicly share how VR is saving them millions of dollars, such as Lockheed Martin for instance.

However, standards and expectations are also higher for supply-side companies, as they can no longer rely on just the hype of VR to attract investment opportunities. Alternatively, they must address the specific enterprise pain points, and begin earning B2B revenue.

Depending also on the industry end-users that are targeted, they may also need to shift focus over to AR and MR sooner rather than later, or risk getting left behind.

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Patricia Chang
the authorPatricia Chang
Patricia Chang is a South Florida-based freelance Digital Project Manager and XR Strategist. She is also a U.S. Navy veteran born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, and has also resided in the states of California, Hawaii, and New York. With her B.S. in Computer Information Systems and Master’s in Project Management, Patricia has a decade of experience working with businesses at strategic and operational levels from technology start-ups to major corporations. When not doing project-based initiatives, you can find Patricia obsessing over anything VR/AR related, including attending a VR development academy, in hopes to fine tune her future digital consultancy business.