Virtual Realty 101 – Discover the VR Industry

Rebekah Carter
Rebekah Carter

The Ultimate Guide to VR

Virtual Realty 101 – Discover the VR Industry

VR or “Virtual Reality” is one of the most exciting forms immersive technology.

The concept quickly captured the attention of the planet with the introduction of VR headsets for gaming and entertainment. However, VR experiences have been around for much longer than most people realise. Recently, the potential of virtual reality has accelerated to new heights.

Now predicted to hit a value of around $57.55 billion by 2027, virtual reality is exploding like never before. Increasingly, we’re stepping into virtual worlds not just for fun, but for creative innovation, collaboration, and business growth.

Here’s your guide to Virtual Reality.

VR News

VR’s presence in mainstream media has fluctuated massively over the years.

In 2012, when the first Oculus Rift emerged, it was met with a burst of excitement, followed by relative silence from uncertain consumers. In 2020, when the pandemic struck, virtual reality emerged as a critical tool for keeping people connected, engaged, and creative.

Today, around 80% of businesses say they’re considering making an investment in VR tools. Endless market-leading brands are already making strides in VR. For instance, TOMs shoes created a “walk in their shoes” campaign to encourage customers to discover what their purchases were helping to accomplish. Elsewhere, military groups are using VR to train people safely for the battlefield.

Virtual Reality has been a tool in the development of pandemic vaccinations, and it promises to be a solution for future growth opportunities too, both in the educational and business world. If you want to see what’s happening in VR right now, here’s the latest news.

What is Virtual Reality? VR 101

Virtual Reality, or VR is the technology used to immersive people within new “virtual” experiences which remove them from the physical world. Virtual reality headsets adjust what you can see and hear when you access a VR application, allowing you to step into new spaces without leaving your home.

VR is all about “immersive media”. It pulls people into an interactive three-dimensional environment, where you can see and interact with new content. Most virtual reality technology uses a combination of high-definition visuals, sensor tracking, and software to create an unforgettable experience.

Currently, VR is finding its footing in various industries. Brands like Jaguar and BMW are already using VR to host engineering and design reviews in the automotive industry. Tourism brands are also using VR to introduce “try before you fly” experiences which could be the key to reviving the tourism industry after COVID.

VR Trends 2021

The number of VR start-ups worldwide has increased by more than 14% between 2020 and 2021. Immersive reality has become a powerful trend in the business landscape, and as technology becomes more affordable, more companies are getting involved. Some of the major trends we see in VR are:

  • Risk-free training: VR in training and educational experiences simulate real-life situations without the risk. Professionals can learn how to act at a construction site without dangers. Military professionals can learn how to respond to attacks.
  • VR collaboration: After Facebook acquired Oculus, more companies began looking at VR as a way to stay connected – particularly during the pandemic. VR is now rapidly emerging as an excellent alternative to video conferencing and calls. With VR, teams can collaborate on projects in real-time, sharing the same virtual space as their colleagues.
  • Customer service: VR could pave the way to a new era of customer service. Since the pandemic, companies have had to find new ways to delight their customers. VR experiences could allow customers to try products before buying and exploring new experiences in a safe and immersive environment.
  • Increased AI: AI and VR are becoming increasingly connected. Intelligence makes it easier for VR solutions to track movements and deliver valuable content at speed to users. Enhanced AI solutions pave the way for things like eye tracking at incredible speeds, and better sensor or haptic feedback controls.
  • Enhanced headsets: Headsets and the technologies connected with them in VR are becoming more effective and efficient. Lightweight headsets are becoming increasingly common, and many are exploring higher resolutions and better degrees of freedom for immersion.

VR Vendors

Vendors in the VR environment are increasing at an incredible pace. By the end of 2021, shipments of VR technology are expected to exceed 11 million units. By 2025, innovators say that 43.5 million headsets will be delivered to customers each year.

VR vendors will be separated into segments based on the solutions they can offer. On the one hand, we have the software creators designing immersive VR experiences for people with their own headsets and VR setups. On the other hand, we have the headset designers, creating ever more comfortable and impressive VR wearables.

If you’re keen to track down the perfect VR vendor for your investment, check out our list.

VR Events

Virtual Reality is something you really need to experience in person to understand.

It’s difficult to look at a video of someone experimenting with a VR solution and feel the same sense of awe. That’s why VR events are rapidly increasing in popularity. Companies are experimenting with VR events they can live-stream to their customers through their existing headsets.

Many innovators will also be bringing their new creations, headsets, haptic feedback sensors and accessories to technology conferences around the globe. If you have an opportunity to visit a VR event, we definitely recommend giving the latest solutions a test run. Here are some of the biggest upcoming events in VR you should know about.

VR Reviews and Comparisons

VR events are fantastic opportunities to get a taste of the latest VR technology for yourself. However, eventually, you’ll also need to make the decision about which VR headset and software solution you’re going to purchase for your team.

Our VR reviews will give you a behind-the-scenes look at some of the technology you can use in the current marketplace, and which features are most important to boost your chances of success. If you’re struggling to compare two VR headsets or services – don’t worry. Check out our VR comparisons for more head-to-head insights.

While you’re checking out our VR reviews and comparisons, remember to consider:

The type of content you want

These days, there are tons of pre-made VR experiences out there to suit almost every need. If you’re looking for a collaborative VR environment, you can choose a pre-made office environment for your team and access it through a range of headsets. Make sure the content you choose is suitable for the headset you’re going to be using before you invest.

In some cases, you might benefit from investing in a tailor-made solution instead. VR software built to suit your specific goals will allow you to implement new experiences that make sense for your team. For instance, you might decide to create a virtual version of your office or production room.

The performance features

VR headsets and their accompanying software come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. For instance, if you’re looking for a state-of-the-art immersive experience, then you’ll need a comprehensive headset with access to the best sensor technology, 6 degrees of freedom in tracking, and a fantastic feedback speed.

You can enhance the performance of your VR technology in a variety of different ways, by adding more agency or features to the software your teams will be using, or by implementing additional hardware. VR solutions can even be built with extra eye-tracking features to reduce nausea, improved haptic feedback and 360-degree sound.

What are your hardware requirements?

VR headsets are often the most important consideration for a lot of companies investing in virtual reality. Your headset will make a significant difference to the experience you can give your end-user. With this in mind, think about what’s important to your you.

Can you afford to spend extra on a high-quality screen that provides a higher resolution per eye, and more pixels per degree. Pixels per degree will determine how in-depth the content looks. Can you invest in something with a fantastic refresh rate, so you can reduce latency between frames, and stronger positional tracking to make your user feel like they’re there in the moment?

Don’t forget to consider comfort levels too. VR headsets are becoming increasingly lightweight and flexible, but many still come with a lot of weight and extra issues to think about. If your users are going to be in VR for extended periods of time, they need to be comfortable.

VR Smart Guide

Virtual Reality is one of the most exciting environments in the current world of digital transformation. Over the last couple of years, VR has officially made the transition from “entertainment opportunity”, to “creativity solution”. In the business landscape, VR can help to bring us together like never before, unlock new levels of creativity, and even pave the way for stronger interactions between teams.

Now that VR technology has accelerated more than ever – why not prepare yourself for the future with our Virtual Reality smart guide? You can find it for free here!

Join our Weekly Newsletter