Last Updated on April 22, 2021
We hear about new advances in technology every day – from intelligent personal assistants like Amazon’s Alexa to self-driving cars companies like Google are creating and everything in between. Today, smartphones are the center of our digital lives. It may be hard to imagine life without one, but ten years from now, a new device may take the place of the beloved smartphone. If you haven’t seen one in person, you’ve probably at least seen commercials for virtual reality headsets. Now, imagine having a device that looks like ordinary eyeglasses but with settings for virtual and augmented reality. How will virtual reality in business shape the future? In this post, we will define and discuss the impact of augmented reality and mixed reality, and their use cases in business.
Defining virtual, augmented, and mixed reality.
Let’s take a step back. What exactly do the terms virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality mean? We’ll dive into specifics like virtual reality in business, but here’s a starting point.
Virtual reality (VR): Virtual reality is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment. Often, these environments are created with computers, but can also be composed of 360-degree videos, also known as immersive or spherical videos.
Augmented reality (AR): The origin of the word augmented is augment, which means to add something. Augmented reality is the integration of digital overlays with the user’s environment in real-time. Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment, augmented reality uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it.
Mixed reality (MR): Also referred to as hybrid reality, mixed reality augments the real world with virtual objects that aim to look as if they are really placed within that world. The above photo of the man and the fish are a good example.
Extended Reality (XR): Extended Reality is a newer umbrella catch-all term that refers to a wide array of current and future spatial computing technologies.
You’re probably thinking that VR, AR, and MR are new concepts, right? Think again. Interestingly, the concept of virtual reality has been around for decades. In the 1950s, a cinematographer named Morton Heilig envisioned a theater experience that would stimulate all senses. In 1960, he built a prototype of this vision called the Sensorama. It had a stereoscopic display, fans, odor emitters, stereo speakers, and a moving chair. Ivan Sutherland invented the first virtual reality and augmented reality head-mounted display (HMD) in 1968.
A lot happened in between, but fast forward to the 1990s, and you have movies like The Matrix that explore virtual reality and Sega VR, although it never made it to consoles. Google Street View came out in 2007, Facebook bought Oculus for 2 billion dollars in 2014, and Google invested $500 million into Magic Leap in 2016. All that to say that the progression of VR, AR, and MR has exploded in the past 10 years and will only continue to grow.
Let’s take a deeper look at each of these technologies and their practical uses.
Virtual Reality Technologies
The virtual reality we are talking about is one created by computers. It allows you to experience and interact with a 3D world that isn’t real by putting on a head-mounted display and some form of input tracking. VR experiences can be created through tools like Unreal Engine, Unity, or A-Frame, the latter being a web framework that is easy to learn and fast for web developers to pick up.
VR is experienced through a number of devices, including the HTC Vive and Oculus, geared for gaming audiences. GoPro’s Omni is a solution for capturing, stitchingand publishing virtual reality content. Cheaper options includeGoogle Cardboard, which can be used with any phone, andGoogle Daydream, which is a faster, high-resolution version of Cardboard but isonly available on select phones.
Virtual Reality in Business Use Cases
Virtual reality is huge in the gaming industry, and it’s just an overall cool experience to put on one of these headsets. But aside from that, you may be wondering if there are other practical VR business uses.
The most obvious industry that could successfully use VR is entertainment. Aside from video game lovers, imagine a consumer experiencing a travel destination or “being at” a sporting event without ever having to leave home.
There are other uses for VR in business. For example, virtual reality could be used in staff training for professionals who work in industries like real estate or construction. Real estate, architecture, and construction businesses could use VR to show what a finished environment would look like. They could also be placed in real-world scenarios and through these immersive experiences, have better memory retention, according to a paper published through Syracuse University.
VR can be used to simulate working with expensive equipment in an array of dangerous environments, as seen in the Virtual Reality Demo for Safety Training video above, without any of the risks.
VR has also taken off in the healthcare secretary with a transition from trials and pilots to general use. It has been adopted to help treat patients with anxiety disorders by getting a better idea of how they react to stress-inducing situations while remaining safe in sound inside a virtual environment. It’s even being used to help diagnose patients with visual or cognitive impairments, via eye tracking.
Augmented Reality Technologies
Augmented reality adds something to the existing real-life environment. There are several different AR patterns, and essentially, the user is adding a layer of data in front of their eyes that may be somewhat transparent. Think back to Tony Stark’s Iron Man helmet and the screen projected in front of his eyes. He could read this data (augmented) and still see what was beyond it (reality).
Marker-based AR, also called Image Recognition, uses a camera and some type of visual marker, such as a QR/2D code, to produce a result only when the marker is sensed by a reader. Markerless AR is most commonly used for mapping directions, finding nearby businesses, and other location-centric mobile applications. Projection-based AR works by projecting artificial light onto real world surfaces. Superimposition-based AR either partially or fully replaces the original view of an object with a newly augmented view of that same object.
Augmented Reality Business Use Cases
Even more so than virtual reality, augmented reality can, and will, be used by businesses in many industries.
The first experiences with any new technology often tend to be tied closely with gaming and entertainment, but industrial use has been outpacing consumer products. In a 2020 report created by VR Intelligence, 65% of the AR companies surveyed said they are working on industrial applications, while only 37% are working on consumer products and software.
Welders, plumbers, mechanics, oil workers, and others who need to be heads up and hands-free in factory and field work operations can use AR headsets like Daqri. AR headsets have sensors that help detect things like pressure buildup in pipes or errors in complex wiring networks. Augmented reality business users can also grab and move holograms just like physical objects.
Businesses in the home and DIY industries can take advantage of technologies like Google Tango that enables devices, like your smartphone or tablet, to detect their position relative to the world around them. Imagine customers who want to renovate their home but want to see how a piece of furniture fits into a room or a paint color on the wall before actually purchasing this technology.
Similar to Virtual Reality, AR has also been taking off in healthcare and could help alert surgeons and nurses alike to risks or hazards. Adoption of these emerging technologies has been swift, with the value of the AR market forecasted to increase by 38% annually until 2025.
AccuVein helps nurses find the best vein for IV starts and blood draws.
Mixed Reality Technologies
Mixed reality is a combination of virtual reality and augmented reality. It allows the user to see 3D objects as if they were actually there. MR is a much newer concept and not readily accessible today like VR and AR. Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 is trying to change that by bringing mixed reality technology to the masses by offering a comfortable $3,500 device. Offering a wider field of view as well as eye and hand tracking, this device targeted towards the enterprise sector has made leaps and bounds upon its original augmented reality headset.
Mixed Reality Business Use Cases
From gaming to city planning to educating doctors and patients, mixed reality will have a lot of practical uses down the road.
In the education sector, Mixed Reality can be used to enhance student’s ability to learn and process information. By offering them virtual objects which they can manipulate, they can study and learn in a more immersive way.
Companies like Renault Trucks are integrating MR to help employees identify issues in the quality control stage more easily and guide them through the most complex control operations.
On the healthcare front, Philips is leveraging MR for image-guided minimally invasive procedures. For patients, this technology allows for smaller incisions, which equates to faster recovery and a better overall experience. For hospitals, this form of treatment allows them to treat more people at a lower cost.
What’s in store for your business?
While virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality becoming a part of our every day lives may seem far off to you, Heather Bellini of Goldman Sachs Research expects virtual and augmented reality to become an $80 billion market by 2025. That’s roughly the size of the desktop PC market today. Others are predicting even higher numbers for virtual reality in business. As the growth rate continues and technologies become more affordable, more and more businesses will be investing in these as part of their digital strategies. If you want to learn more about how new technologies, in general, can benefit your business and customers, get in touch with us!
What is the future of virtual reality? ›
The AR/VR devices of the future will provide personalized, accessible and well-designed experiences. As these elements take hold, a platform shift is imminent. In my opinion, in three years we are going to see new AR glasses with LTE capabilities that will become an alternative to the smartphone.How virtual reality could be shaping the future of you and your business? ›
How Virtual Reality will shape the future of Businesses? Stream music, and reach out to a wider audience with the help of your own radio app. Connect with your congregation instantly by creating an app for your church. Create an online dating app and let your app users find the perfect match with just a swipe.How virtual reality can help in business? ›
VR technology enables sales teams to immerse their clients in environments where they can interact with a product. For instance, Premise LED, an LED manufacturer for commercial and industrial companies, uses VR to illustrate differences in areas before and after lighting to help customers make choices.How can virtual reality technology impact the field of operations management in future? ›
Employee safety is essential when it comes to working in manufacturing. Virtual reality allows management to get a glimpse of specific issues of concern, making changes, and providing a safer work environment, without the risk of employee injury in the process.How will virtual reality improve in the future? ›
Virtual and augmented reality devices will be smaller, lighter, and incorporate more features. New accessories such as robotic boots will emerge to further deepen the experience. There will be a huge demand for AR/VR chips. It will go a step beyond haptic gloves as full-body haptic suits.Why virtual reality is growing? ›
Today, VR is providing what consumers are looking for, and it has the potential to play a huge role in the future of learning and development. Moreover, with virtual simulation, a person can now feel the real life-like experience at a fraction of cost.What are the most important benefits of using virtual reality in business? ›
- Accelerate speed to proficiency.
- Improve customer service.
- Reduce onboarding time.
- Improve workplace safety.
- Decrease turnover.
- Decrease incident costs.
- Improve brand & scale culture.
- Eliminate business interruptions.
- Improved learning and performance. ...
- Making the impossible possible. ...
- Speeding up the learning process. ...
- Reducing costs. ...
- Remote training and accessibility: great for your company, great for the planet.
The Risks of Virtual Reality
Users of virtual reality games have reported a host of troubling effects, including damage to their vision, disorientation, and even seizures.
Car racing games are an example of immersive virtual reality that gives the user the sensation of speed and driving skills. Developed for gaming and other entertainment purposes, VR use in other sectors is increasing.
How virtual reality is changing the world? ›
The immersive technology puts users in 'someone else's shoes', and goes above and beyond traditional 2D depictions of war, abuse, pollution, neglect, or injustice. It allows viewers to see directly through the 'eyes' of a real or imagined subject and more specifically, VR can create 'embodied cognition'.Why is virtual reality important to society? ›
Healthcare: VR will have a huge impact on how the medical community diagnoses and treats diseases and illnesses. Right now, VR is being used to detect glaucoma, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's disease. It has also begun to establish itself as a useful tool for treating PTSD and anxiety disorders, dementia, and autism.Which two features are most important for virtual reality? ›
Paramount for the sensation of immersion into virtual reality are a high frame rate and low latency.Is virtual reality the future of education? ›
VR is a technology that can transform graduates' skillsets immediately recognized through practical applications. Learning through play, first-hand experiences and applied knowledge creates a more appealing environment for students and results in much stronger skillsets.Is VR the future of marketing? ›
In our opinion, VR is one of the most exciting innovations that has come about in quite some time and for marketers, it's an opportunity to get consumers even more engaged with brands than ever before. We've seen some marketers already taking advantage of this technology and it should only continue to grow.What are the types of virtual reality? ›
There are 3 primary categories of virtual reality simulations used today: non-immersive, semi-immersive, and fully-immersive simulations.What type of technology is virtual reality? ›
Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer-generated environment with scenes and objects that appear to be real, making the user feel they are immersed in their surroundings. This environment is perceived through a device known as a Virtual Reality headset or helmet.What is virtual reality used for? ›
Virtual Reality, or VR, is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment which can be explored in 360 degrees. Unlike traditional interfaces, VR places the user inside the virtual environment to give an immersive experience.What is the most important in virtual reality? ›
The most important hardware with VR is the headset, a device similar a pair of goggles that goes over your eyes. This immerses you in the virtual world.What is the value of having virtual reality? ›
Helps to understand complex concepts, subjects, or theories. No distractions while the study. Boosts students creativity. Expands learners efficiency to gain knowledge.
How does virtual reality Impact Economy? ›
VR and AR have the potential to boost GDP globally by 2030 by up to $1.5 trillion. VR and AR have the potential to deliver a $1.5 trillion boost to the global economy by 2030. That's the major finding of the economic impact assessment conducted by PwC economists for this report.How does virtual reality help the environment? ›
Access to ecologically sensitive areas like coral reefs or wetlands is limited in order to preserve them. VR can provide an alternative way to experience these locations. Virtual technologies can also promote outdoor trips close to home and help students connect with global and local environmental issues.What do you need for virtual reality? ›
The only thing you need is a VR headset. There are differences between the available VR headsets. There are some things to keep in mind when you buy your headset. For example, there are VR headsets which you can use in combination of a powerful gaming PC or smartphone.How does virtual reality work simple? ›
VR headsets have embedded stereoscopic lenses positioned between a built-in LED screen and eyes, distorting the image so it looks 3-D and real. The headset passes two images through these lenses, one for each eye, similar to our vision.What is virtual reality answer? ›
Virtual Reality (VR) is a completely computer-generated three-dimensional environment that is displayed either on a computer screen or through special displays.Is virtual reality becoming more popular? ›
VR aims to create a sensory experience for the user, sometimes including sight, touch, hearing, smell, or even taste. The industry is growing at a fast pace, with the global VR market size projected to increase from less than 12 billion U.S. dollars in 2022 to more than 22 billion U.S. dollars by 2025.How has virtual reality changed the industry? ›
Virtual reality helps the engineers see the vehicle architecture through an immersive 3D experience and upgrade the designs of the trucks. It allows the designers to test the vehicles without having to make a physical prototype, which saves time and costs and helps in decision-making.How the virtual world affect our life? ›
Research shows that violent experiences in the virtual world may lead to increased aggressive behaviour in the real world too. Further, the rise of "virtual pornography' to fulfil sexual desires may also lead to negative social effects, such as disinhibition, marital fidelity, desensitization, false expectations etc.Will there be a new VR in 2022? ›
Sony's PlayStation VR 2, also coming in 2023, requires a PlayStation 5 but has fantastic new controllers and could boast unique games. And in the meantime, we may see more experimental, phone-connected headsets like the HTC Vive Flow start to pop up. VR in 2022 remains an impressive but still limited proposition.Will virtual reality ever be possible? ›
Possibly. Although it could be a future technology, at this point, it feels overdue. Although our imaginations have allowed us to contemplate what such an experience could be like, the technology to create full dive VR still has a long way.
Is VR the future of learning? ›
VR is a leading example and arguably a game-changer for the next generation of students, graduates and vocational learners and enables experiential learning. It allows students to immerse themselves in an interactive experience where they can visualize their actions' outcomes first-hand.What is the future of the metaverse? ›
The metaverse will evolve in two directions at once – the virtual metaverse (fully simulated worlds) and the augmented metaverse (layers of rich virtual content overlaid upon the real world with precise spatial registration).Will VR change the world? ›
Much like we saw with personal computers, the internet, and mobile devices, VR will change the world. It's already transforming communication, education, fitness, gaming, health, commerce, productivity, and so much more.How fast is the VR market growing? ›
According to a report by Vnyz Research, the AR and VR market will see a 48.8% growth CAGR during the projected period 2020 – 2025. It will reach 161.1 billion in revenue by 2025. The market will grow due to increasing acceptance of AR and VR, and responsiveness about the technology.What is the best VR in the world 2022? ›
- Meta Quest 2. The best VR headset. ...
- Valve Index. Best powerhouse VR headset. ...
- PlayStation VR. The best VR headset for consoles. ...
- HTC Vive Pro 2. The best high resolution VR headset. ...
- HTC Cosmos Elite. The most customizable VR headset. ...
- HP Reverb G2. The best mid-range VR headset. ...
- HTC Vive Flow.
Virtual Reality is essential for the growth and expansion of the metaverse industry. The technology supports the vision of metaverse clusters by aiding in creating the 3D virtual world. With VR, users can immerse themselves in interactive experiences that are hard to access in the physical environment.Why is virtual reality good? ›
The VR technology makes users feel that they experience the real locations and hearing the real sounds and seeing the real things. Many people have the feeling to use more and more virtual reality technology. It is highly reckoned by the disabled people. Because using virtual reality they can explore the real world.What are the 3 types of virtual reality? ›
There are 3 primary categories of virtual reality simulations used today: non-immersive, semi-immersive, and fully-immersive simulations.Is the virtual reality industry growing? ›
VR aims to create a sensory experience for the user, sometimes including sight, touch, hearing, smell, or even taste. The industry is growing at a fast pace, with the global VR market size projected to increase from less than 12 billion U.S. dollars in 2022 to more than 22 billion U.S. dollars by 2025.How does VR impact the economy? ›
VR and AR have the potential to boost GDP globally by 2030 by up to $1.5 trillion. VR and AR have the potential to deliver a $1.5 trillion boost to the global economy by 2030. That's the major finding of the economic impact assessment conducted by PwC economists for this report.
Is the metaverse the future of business? ›
The metaverse is becoming so much more than a buzzword, and the reality is that advertisers and marketers will be doing business in a virtual world at an exponential rate as seamlessly as they advertise on social media — and very soon.Is the metaverse the future of work? ›
The Metaverse is poised to shape the future of work, with its related technology promising to create innovative and immersive ways for people to collaborate and work online.