October 31, 2017
Beyond gaming: see how VR can transform a host of industries—and business operations.
Science fiction fans first “experienced” virtual reality (VR) when watching the holodeck in action on Star Trek. VR technology generates realistic images, sounds, and other sensations that replicate a real (or imaginary) environment, simulating a user’s physical presence in an artificially generated world. VR already has gained a solid footing in the digital gaming industry, and the VR market there is expected to reach $45 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research.
VR is an example of creative destruction, abolishing logistical limitations and making anything possible. In a computer-generated simulation of a 3-D image or environment, participants can use special equipment to interact with a simulation in realistic ways.
By immersing people in a virtual world, data that is otherwise difficult to parse—particularly the spatial data represented by 3-D imagery— feels more “real” and actionable. Over the longer term, by creating an interactive, digital alternate of a business reality, VR can generate new tools that may be able to transform operations. Experimenting in the virtual world generally costs less, enables greater flexibility, and can lead to solutions faster than with real-world experimentation.
The gaming and entertainment industries are obvious VR proving grounds. But VR also has the potential to transform many other industries as well, especially in the realm of experiential training, where workers can be thrown into hazardous, difficult, or cost-prohibitive situations without the intense risks associated with these activities in the real world. In medicine, manufacturing, marketing, and even sports, VR will allow people to train for all manner of jobs requiring physical coordination—at a fraction of the cost of real-world training.
PwC’s 2017 Global Digital IQ Survey: Emerging technology insights found that companies are not yet investing in VR en masse. But automotive, entertainment and media, and technology firms are leading the way.