Technology plays such a fundamental role in our lives these days that it is often hard to think about just how we would cope without it. So many intriguing innovations have emerged in the past few years alone, with cryptocurrency, for example, attracting an increasing amount of attention. Smart home technologies like the Amazon Echo also give us a chance to do everything from listening to our favourite songs to turning lights on and off, while streaming services mean we have films and TV shows available at the touch of a button.
Now, new research has suggested that another technological innovation may be on the cusp of taking the world by storm. Virtual reality technology may have existed in some form for decades now, but there are signs that it may be about to become a key part of our lives.
At the start of September, Fortune Business Insights released a new report examining the virtual reality market and it predicts that the technology could experience major growth in the next seven years. While the report suggested that the global market was worth $3.10 billion in 2019, it also forecast that the sector will have a value of $57.55 billion by 2027. The increase is thought to equate to a compound annual growth rate of 44.3 per cent during the forecast period. The report stated that the rise of 5G looks set to have a major bearing on the virtual reality market, with its higher bandwidth and lower latency having an impact.
In addition, it suggested that the expansion of the area may be boosted by the use of VR solutions across the defence sector, while demand is also expected to be affected by the growing interest in virtual meetings and conferences.
Making an impact
Such predictions hint that virtual reality is in for a big future, but it is also worth noting that the technology is already having a tangible impact in many different industries.
For example, its presence has been felt in gaming now for some time thanks to technology like the PlayStation VR headset. The Sony system supports a whole host of games including exclusive titles like Astro Bot Rescue Mission and other high-profile blockbusters like The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and No Man’s Sky. The music industry has recognised the potential offered by VR in recent years as well, with MelodyVR creating virtual reality gig experiences. The company hit the headlines at the end of August after it bought Napster, with MelodyVR chief executive Anthony Matchett saying that the aim was to create “a truly next-generation music service”.
Virtual reality is having an impact in education too, with the Telegraph revealing how the technology has been used to support science experiments and teacher training in recent times.
But while the Fortune Business Insights study predicted that the defence sector and virtual conferences could play a role in VR’s bright future, are there also other areas which might go on to make use of the technology?
The health sector could be one key industry where VR has a major impact going forward, with exciting applications emerging on a regular basis. For instance, Healthcare Global reported last month on Oxford VR winning a UK Digital Experience Award for a programme based around cognitive behavioural therapy. The Gold Award for Best Use of Emerging Technology means the tech company has now won a prize in that category for two years running. Online casino gaming is another area that has embraced many innovations over the years, with some sites offering live blackjack where players compete against real dealers. Such services allow players can see cards being dealt right in front of them, but wouldn’t it be fascinating to see the games adapted for VR so that they replicate the experience of playing in a land-based setting? Finally, it is likely that we could see virtual reality have an impact on our retail experience in the future as well. Last year, we outlined how both VR and its close relative AR could redefine purchasing experiences, with consumers potentially getting the chance to wear headsets and scroll through items in their own living rooms. We might also see the emergence of smart mirrors in stores, with the devices giving people the chance to try out clothing virtually before buying.
Virtual reality is already having an impact on many areas, but it really does seem like there is a huge amount more to come.
As the Fortune Business Insight study suggests, the growth of 5G could be vital to unlocking VR’s true potential and we might then see it have a major influence across a range of different sectors. Technology might play a key role in our lives already, but virtual reality could be about to take things to a whole new level.