It’s easy to see the growth in demand for the virtual reality (VR) market. Even before the pandemic of 2020, people looked at extended reality (XR) technology as an opportunity to improve digital collaboration, training, and communication. The significance of immersive technology is ever-growing in a world more reliant on hybrid and remote working environments.
Conventional video conferencing software filled the need for reliable remote communication solutions. Applications like Zoom and Microsoft Teams grew massively following the demand for video conferencing software during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reacting to the worldwide epidemic, many companies quickly adopted video conferencing tools to enable efficient remote operations. Although, in the wake of the video conferencing-led remote working boom, immersive solutions offered enhanced workplace communication and collaboration methods.
Emerging Enterprise Solutions
Virtual, augmented, and mixed reality (VR/AR/MR) solutions look to solve emerging issues facing video conferencing. For example, Zoom fatigue or low worker engagement during a meeting. Enterprise-grade XR collaboration and guidance applications enable a workforce to engage with one another at an increased level, using integrated technology like avatars, gesture-tracking, eye-tracking, and spatial audio.
Furthermore, the hardware required to use immersive enterprise solutions is becoming cheaper and more accessible. Various headsets and smart glasses from firms such as Meta, HTC VIVE, and Nreal allow users of all kinds to access immersive applications to suit their needs.
Firms like StriVR and Headroom also provide essential training and onboarding procedures for enterprise clients experimenting with emerging technology. Although the developer talent pool and the number of immersive applications are slim, the content on offer is growing exponentially due to increased demand. With its increased demand, enterprise-grade immersive solutions will increase in sophistication and usability.
According to reports, the VR markets will secure a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.0% from 2022 to 2030. VR’s CAGR comes following the market’s 2021 valuation of $21.83 billion. Meaning XR could significantly impact our everyday lives and how we interact as human beings.
Where is the VR Market Heading?
Companies and startups are now introducing new ways to explore the power of VR and the experiences it can offer. As with many new technologies, VR and AR solutions are growing faster in certain regions. Europe, the USA, and Asia are making significant strides in VR and democratising the marketplace. Although, in some areas, like Brazil, access to XR hardware is less approachable due to high costs.
Currently, VR is past its foundational and exploratory stages. Now XR tech is growing to suit a world that is increasingly demanding immersive tech. VR has reached a tipping point for extensive adoption around the world. Particularly true now that audiences are more knowledgeable and affordable hardware is available alongside innovative and flexible software packages.
Today’s headsets are more convenient and affordable than they used to be. In part due to the rising demand for remote and hybrid work. Affordable XR technology pushes more consumers and enterprises into the marketplace.
VR Hardware Growth
The Meta Quest dominates the consumer market; the mobile device comes relatively low cost and does not require a lengthy set-up period. The device also serves as an enterprise and education tool. The product has an online storefront with various collaboration tools like Workrooms, ShapesXR, Glue, and Engage.
On the other hand, headsets like the Pico 4 and PSVR2 by Sony present a range of end-users with powerful immersive headsets. VR headsets firms include advanced integrated technology like eye and hand-tracking at affordable prices.
Although, Meta recently received pushback when it released its Meta Quest Pro device at a £1,499 price-point. Meta’s expensive device and underwhelming reactions to its Horizon platform have led to some scepticism regarding VR’s marketplace presence. On the other hand, many XR firms are debuting integrated, immersive applications to help boost the VR market following a slump by its most prominent players.
Other contributing factors to VR market growth
With the rise of consumer-grade VR hardware, the concept of the Metaverse has grown alongside it. Once a term reserved for those most invested in immersive solutions, the idea of interconnected online 3D user-led environments is increasing in global interest.
Thanks to Meta’s Connect 2021 event, the Metaverse has emerged as a talking point for many in the tech world. Since its rise in popularity, many Metaverse applications have debuted to suit various consumer and business use cases.
For example, Engage LINK’s collaboration service provides a Metaverse application for enterprises and educators. The platform enables partners to establish and design bespoke Metaverse environments for conducting business operations.
Moreover, Engage LINK works with various educational institutions like Stanford Uni to provide a remote learning environment that keeps students engaged throughout a session with interactive, immersive assets. The platform also partnered with VictoryXR to set up various Metaversities for immersive digital learning, with assistance from Meta.
Consumer-Side VR Growth
On the consumer side, many Metaverse platforms provide new ways to interact with brands and participate in eCommerce within a VR environment.
The Sandbox is gaining traction thanks to its support from international celebrities like Snoop Dogg. The platform sells virtual real estate where users can purchase land and establish a digital, private residence.
Notably, in 2021, VR real-estate sales reached over $5 million in one week, thanks to a combination of deals on The Sandbox and Axie Infinity.
Additionally, Roblox and Nike Digital successfully operate NIKELAND, a Metaverse experience aimed at children. The service has attracted roughly seven million users and provides the platform’s younger demographic with branded games and experiences. The service promotes Nike while encouraging children’s movement using smartphone motion-tracking technology. NIKE Digital also uses the Roblox space to promote upcoming products and sell digital items.
VR Market Growth and Opportunities
VR is reaching a point in evolution where it’s likely that international audiences could see this technology becoming a more mainstream part of everyday life.
Already, VR has gained a lot of attention as a tool for entertainment and consumer investment. However, the VR landscape could completely infiltrate various other parts of our lives in the next few years. VR could support everything from better business teamwork to improved training opportunities.
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