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The outlook for VR: Forecasting the future

The outlook for VR is seeming pretty rosy. Although this emergent technology is typically connected to sci-fi and the gaming domain, VR, an abbreviation for virtual reality, could prospectively disrupt several industries. Several organizations are seeking innovative methods to enhance their productivity, while enhancing their processes and maintaining their organizational culture, and as remoteness starts to proliferate industry, VR’s probability of assisting in accomplishing these goals has become an actuality.  

Like several other technologies, the outlook for VR is dependent to a major extent on how things undergo evolution, both in terms of software and hardware. But this is no barrier to visualize what the future of VR might look like. Speculation with regards to the future is a brilliant way to produce new products, and most critically, it can assist organizations to be future-ready, and take proactive steps to fulfil their mission, and vision. 

In this blog post by AICoreSpot, we do some forecasting with regards to the outlook for VR and how it will possibly drive some industries in the not too far away future. 

Virtual Reality 101 

Virtual reality, referred to as VR, is a simulation that is typically leveraged to accomplish particular objectives. These objectives differ based on the software that is being executed and the industry it is being leveraged in. To experience the simulation, end-users leverage specialist devices known as virtual reality headsets that insert the user into a simulated world. 

VR is not brand new, although analysts appear to have a difficult time concurring on when the technology was actually given birth to. But there appears to be some agreement on the origins of the term, it was made popular by Jaron Lanier in the 1980s. Since that time, it has proliferated to every part of the world, it is certainly definite that anybody will understand what the term is in reference to. 

For the majority, this technology is strongly associated with the field of gaming. But it has much more to offer than just gaming use cases, which are entertainment oriented. As of late, the scope of VR has surpassed that of the gaming field and into new avenues, the most critical one being education, EdTech has witnessed the proliferation of VR technologies. Other associated industries where VR can be leveraged are the military and healthcare. 

VR and the onslaught of gamification 

Gamification is the leveraging of game-associated elements in non-video game applications. Although VR has evolved over the course of time, it has somehow maintained its gamified existence. Therefore, although it is currently leveraged for a broader range of use cases, it is still dependent on the concept of making it entertaining for the end-user. The outlook for VR will definitely be dependent on these gamification factors.  

VR and end-user experiences 

VR is not unlike smartphone and web applications that need a robust user experience to be functional. VR products endeavour to put humans in the centre-stage through well crafted and developed virtual reality experiences. A typical error most individuals commit when thinking about this nascent technology is that, due to its increased dependence on virtuality, it should not take into account the user. The opposite is true. Only the applications that contemplate on the user experience will have any degree of success. 

The differing variants of virtual reality 

Even though the term virtual reality is typically used in reference to any simulation which is an experience for the end-user, not all experiences are created equal. These are the most typical variants of simulation-based experiences observed in the domain of virtual reality. 

  1. Immersive VR: This is the most widespread variant of virtual reality. It is the replication of our physical world in an electronically-produced environment. The ideal example of this use case is video gaming. 
  2. Cyberspace: Not every simulation is required to replicate reality. Cyberspace, referred to as text-based VR, leverages settings developed out of text. The internet is the ideal example of this. 
  3. Augmented Reality: This specific variant of virtual reality adds on to the physical world. Through specialist gadgets, such as a VR headmount, or a smartphone with its camera, end-users can augment electronic elements onto their immediate surroundings. Pokemon Go or Ikea experiences are brilliant instances of augmented reality. 
  4. Mixed Reality: Also referred to as extended reality, this variant of VR brings together physical and digital world elements. Controllers and other gadgets integrate the reality element to the scenario. This is broadly leveraged in education, training, and entertainment experiences. Flight simulator is a brilliant example of mixed reality. 

VR use cases 

As VR gadgetry becomes increasingly inexpensive and new software utilities have been produced, the technology has undertaken experimentation with a broad array of new features and functionalities.  

This is not a shock, as an outcome of new developmental utilities, users and devs alike have willingly experimented to an increasing extent with devices, software, and how they can be leveraged. This is a natural process that has a tendency to take place with new hardware gear and software dependent advancements. 

The following are a few of the most widespread current VR use cases: 

  • VR gaming: Gaming is increasingly leveraging VR technologies to create immersive digital worlds that are indistinguishable from reality.  
  • VR education: With the potential of accessing high-quality education from any corner of the planet, virtual education is becoming an enticing prospect to many. 
  • VR army training: Even though VR is impactful for any kind of training application, there is so much that can be done when leveraging VR for army training purposes. Simulations of dangerous situations in a controlled environment have troops battle ready, aware, and most critically, it enables them to gain the practical perspective to how operations take place on the field. All of this without any of the risks associated with the battlefield. 
  • VR medical training: One of the several challenges faced by medical trainees is acquiring the knowledge to perform things that need direct interaction with patients when they are not yet up to the task. Performing surgery is an application that comes to mind where VR can be leveraged to train medical students in a safe and controlled environment. Unlike real-world scenarios where it is a matter of life or death, controlled simulations can enable students to gain the practical knowledge needed to operate and carry out surgeries in the real world. A student can have several hundred successful virtual surgeries under their belt before they start operating on real patients, giving them the perspective and experience of a seasoned veteran over someone who is green and fresh out of college. 

Outlook for virtual reality 

As we’ve already specified at the beginning of this article, the future for VR looks very rosy indeed. The below list details some of the domain-specific virtual reality predictions.  

  • VR in healthcare – VR’s capabilities does not cease with training with comes to medical technologies. It can also assist patients reach practitioners through the leveraging of what is referred to as TeleMedicine. We predict several practical VR applications that will assist doctors in treating patients who are in remote locations. 
  • VR collaboration – As remote work is all the rage today, new communication utilities will become critical in assisting employees to collaborate in innovative and productive ways. Several of our preferred work utilities will definitely identify a way to move on to the virtual world.  
  • VR-based social media – Facebook is making massive investments in virtual reality, this speaks tons about the direction in which social media is heading. Our prediction is that this is one of the spheres of VR that will display a strong impact in the not too distant future. 
  • VR retail – It is difficult to imagine the outlook of retail without considering augmented reality and other variants of VR. There are ever-increasing avenues for retailers to go about experimenting with innovative ways to redefine client journeys. 

The following are some other generalized predictions with regards to VR: 

  • VR headsets will become even more inexpensive, putting them within reach of the common man. This will enable the technology to be adopted on a massive scale, and this, as an outcome, will facilitate the development of new software utilities, tools, and programs, ushering in a golden age for VR. 
  • One obstacle various industries are facing with regards to VR solutions is identifying the correct organization to produce VR products and services that meet international standards of quality. 
  • Entertainment experiences will have a fascinating medium in anything connected to VR. For several people, this will become the gold standard, taking the place of today’s streaming services. 
  • Regulation of VR products and services will be at the epicentre of governmental entity’s considerations, especially when it comes to medicine and education. 

The outlook for VR: Business avenues 

There are several ways in which the outlook for VR appears to be very rosy indeed. Even though it usually feels overstated, this technology will surely redefine the rules for several industries. In the same way that machine learning and artificial intelligence are propelling digital transformations, so too, will VR. 

One of the key factors to developing a capable VR product or service is to collaborate with the correct individuals and/or organizations with the correct vision and abilities to experience success in the market.  

With the correct eyes deadest on innovation and technological advancement, it is a certainty that VR can be leveraged in increasingly innovative ways to provide unique experiences to end-users, in addition to facilitating the quality of work of individuals employed in several sensitive industries, such as defence, healthcare, construction, and so on. The possibilities are endless.  

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