Myths about virtual and augmented reality: Our top 3

Last year the VR and AR industry saw unprecedented growth: PwC’s recent Seeing Is Believing report estimates that the number of jobs that were “enhanced” by this technology tripled in 2020. In other words, over 24 million jobs in healthcare, workplace training, service delivery, and product development were improved in some way through the use of XR (extended reality) tech. By this token, Statista has similar findings. They predict that the VR global market size will more than double in the next three years. It will grow from 5-billion-dollars to over 12. They also predict that the AR market will “grow considerably” in the near future. Forbes agrees; they predicted growth in the VR and AR market of nearly 79% in 2020. The idea that virtual and augmented reality don’t have a future is a myth.

For advocates for VR and AR technology, this industry surge is exciting. However, just because the industry’s global market share is expected to continue to make huge gains, this doesn’t mean that perceptions of VR and AR will change overnight. There are many harmful myths about VR and AR. 

The VR global market size will more than double in the next three years.

Statista, 2020

Let’s address three myths about virtual and augmented reality now:

– The outdated perception that there are only a limited range of applications for VR and AR tech

– The myth that VR and AR applications are only the purview of the tech giants

– The idea that these are simply novelty technologies won’t see mainstream adoption in a business context.

Myth #1: VR and AR Tech don’t have a Broad Range of Applications

A myth about augmented and virtual reality is that they are limited in their scope. VR in particular is huge in the gaming space. The VR and AR gaming market alone is expected to grow to over 11-billion-dollars in the next 5 years. One might argue that this predicted growth is illustrative of the fact that VR and AR are best used in a gaming or marketing space. However, this 11-billion-dollar figure is a red herring. Non-gaming VR and AR are predicted to reach never before seen improvements in this time as well.

PwC suggests that VR and AR will have such a profound effect on business internationally. This technology will increase global GDP by 1.5-trillion-dollars by 2030. This figure is as a result of the quickly increasing range of applications for VR and AR. It is a myth that virtual and augmented reality are simply for gaming and marketing gimmicks. VR is a phenomenal tool to recreate dangerous training environments. This helps workplace trainees in construction, engineering, and military combat to practice in a safe simulation. Using VR for remote workplace training has allowed PwC to train up to 1000 people a day.

Applications for VR include education, product development, therapeutic simulations, and bespoke schooling solutions for children with autism

This research predicts that the virtual workplace training market will be worth 294-billion-dollars by 2030. By extension, this growth suggests that VR has many applications. Other applications for VR include real-time medical educationproduct development solutions, therapeutic simulations to improve mental health, and bespoke schooling solutions for children with autism. Consequently, AR technology is becoming increasingly important in superimposing the virtual onto the real to allow for real-time maintenance and learning, in industries like construction, architecture, and manufacturing.

Myth #2: VR and AR Applications can’t be Developed by Small Companies 

It is true that Microsoft, HP, and Oculus makes all of the mainstream VR headsets. It is also true that the most common device used on a daily basis for AR applications are smartphones, made by tech giants like Apple, Samsung, and Huawei. An elite group of the world’s biggest tech companies make XR hardware. This isn’t true of VR and AR software.

Small tech firms are making a big splash in the world of VR and AR

Companies with just a small team of skilful engineers can develop robust VR and AR solutions. Solutions exist for immersive training, learning, real-time maintenance and more. The VR and AR market are growing by billions of dollars. There is a massive opportunity for little players to make a big splash. For instance, the two biggest reasons why smaller, more streamlined operations will be looking to develop VR and AR solutions are: the improvements in hardware and the increasing realisation about the effectiveness of VR for learning. This is our vision at Sozo Labs. We are a small group of specialised engineers that develop bespoke XR applications. 

Businesses like ours are possible because Microsoft and Oculus have created more affordable and more comfortable products in the form of the 2nd-generation HoloLens and Quest respectively. In addition, original research from PwCStatista, and Forbes, shows how international understanding of the usefulness of this technology is increasing. As this technology gets more widely used and understood, small companies have an opportunity to develop virtual training, product development, or maintenance solutions on a large scale.

Myth #3: VR and AR are Simply Gimmicks 

The 1999 film, The Matrix sees Keanu Reeves needing to save the human race by entering a computer simulation that uses humanity as its energy source. The film is a nod to how significant simulated worlds can be in our collective imaginations. Above all, media like this positions VR technology as purely a fantastical brainchild of creative writers. In 2021, the VR and AR industry is more sophisticated than ever before. Applications for this technology are now developed in the real world, and not just imagined in Hollywood.

Keanu Reeves as ‘Neo’ in The Matrix (1999)

The most exciting VR and AR applications that we’ve already discussed lies in training. This technology is empowering people every day to improve their abilities. Workplace training is a perfect use-case for VR. Virtual training provides a long list of benefits.

VR and AR helps people to learn new skills. It helps to develop existing skills in an effective and immersive way. The more research that goes into immersive learning, the more the world has seen its benefits. Retention rate amongst immersive learners is an impressive 75%. This number is closer to 10% when learners passively consume spoken or written content. Simulated realities, using VR or AR, help with learning because they allow for safe, short, and customisable training sessions. 

In conclusion, VR and AR are changing the world of business. Therefore, this text will revolutionise the way we think about workplace training and immersive learning across various industries in the years to come. There is reason to be optimistic about the future of VR and AR in the mainstream. Above all, we’re excited about our part in the future of this incredibly technology.

Immersive technology has the power to engage and delight your users.