Virtual reality (VR) technology, the use of computer software simulation and modeling, allowing an individual to interact with artificial three-dimensional visual or other sensory environments, is revolutionizing the industry today. Although this innovation has been around for decades, the recent advances in the tech space have brought this trend and its potential to the attention of the populace today. Intending to create a sensory experience for the user including sight, hearing, touch, smell, or even taste, virtual reality offers an entry to an artificial world with absolute control in the hands of the user.
In this article, we traverse the world of virtual reality, its growth and trends in the industry, areas of application, and some startups leading the virtual reality revolution in the world today.
Growth and trends in the VR industry
The virtual reality sector (as a whole) is growing at a very fast pace, with its global market size valued at USD 17.25 billion in 2020. This lucrative sector is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 48.7% from 2021 to 2026, reaching US $184.66 billion by 2026.
Virtual reality technology today comes in various devices such as glasses, gloves, headsets, and bodysuits. Their arrival has brought about a ground-breaking transformation (especially) in the entertainment and gaming industries, enabling users to experience total immersion in a highly virtual realm. Virtual reality technology has witnessed a surge in demand during the global pandemic, owing to the necessity for organizations to continue their various business operations virtually. This technology has also displayed its uses in battling the current pandemic plaguing the world today. Some of its contributions are provided below:
- VR has played an imperative role in the fight against Covid 19 through audiovisual-based virtual communication
- VR has proved useful for remote sites in the exploration of telemedicine, planning, control, and treatment of the infections
- VR offers a platform to minimize face-to-face interaction of doctors with Covid patients through live video streaming.
Virtual reality areas of application
Upon its inception, virtual reality technology has been globally recognized as a cutting-edge innovation that can be leveraged in a wide range of industries to deliver exceptional results. The truth of this is seen as VR is being used in almost every sector of the world today. Some of the most common fields utilizing virtual reality solutions are given below.
- Virtual reality in the Military
- Virtual reality in Gaming
- Virtual reality in Sports
- Virtual reality in Mental Health
- Virtual reality in Medical Training
- Virtual reality in Fashion
- Virtual reality in Education
- Virtual reality in Automotives
- Virtual reality in Tourism
- Virtual reality in Real Estate
- Virtual reality in Architecture
Some leading virtual reality startups
The rapid growth of the virtual reality sector has birthed a lot of startups providing VR solutions to the global market. As of 2019, 3,633 virtual reality startups were operating in this sector. Let’s see a few of the market leaders.
Improbable is a games technology organization devoted to creating powerful technology designed to help solve formerly impossible problems and trigger the development of new realities. In entertainment and gaming, the company unlocks cutting-edge, next-generation gameplay via virtual worlds of unprecedented persistence, scale, and richness. In other sectors, they hope to help answer critical questions through simulations that could result in a better functioning world.
Founders: Herman Narula, Peter Lipka, and Rob Whitehead
Date of Incorporation: 2012
Headquarters: London, England, United Kingdom
Funding Amount: US$ 604.1 million
Funding Status: Corporate Round
Orbbec was developed by a team of top-level artificial intelligence and 3D vision specialists. Orbbec is a developer and supplier of 3-D motion sensors. The startup offers people the ability to make sense of the world around them, providing an opportunity to see the world in 3D. For intelligent computing to flourish, excellent 3D cameras that are affordably priced and universally available will be a necessity. The startup believes that in the future, it will be hard to remember a time when computers did not have 3D cameras.
Founders: Brad Long Liu, Huang Yuanhao, Joshua Blake, Luke Xiaolu Mei, and Zhenzhong Xiao
Date of Incorporation: 2013
Headquarters: Shenzhen, Guangdong, China
Funding Amount: US$ 200 million
Funding Status: Series D
Matterport is a tech-driven company leading the digital transformation of the developed world. Their ground-breaking spatial computing platform transforms buildings into data making every space more accessible and valuable. Millions of buildings in over 150 countries have been converted into immersive Matterport digital twins to enhance every part of the building lifecycle from planning, operations, and construction to documentation, marketing, and appraisal.
Founders: Dave Gausebeck, Matt Bell, and Mike Beebe
Date of Incorporation: 2011
Headquarters: Sunnyvale, California, United States
Funding Amount: US$ 114 million
Funding Status: Corporate Round
MindMaze produces medical-grade virtual reality solutions to stimulate neural recovery. The company provides a program to develop intuitive human-machine interfaces merging VR, computer graphics, brain imaging, and neuroscience. They also offer motion capture technology and analysis, neurophysiological computations, immersive virtual reality, and analysis solutions.
Founder: Tej Tadi
Date of Incorporation: May 4, 2012
Headquarters: Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland
Funding Amount: US$ 110.7 million
Funding Status: Undisclosed
Virtual reality technology has achieved extensive acknowledgment and adoption over the past few years. Modern technological progress in this field has unveiled new enterprises. Many players are emerging in this market with the hopes of steering it toward mainstream adoption.
The global VR market is observing an increase in competitiveness between corporations. The market consists of numerous top players, such as Google, Oculus, Samsung, HTC, Sony, and Lenovo. In terms of market share, these notable players currently dominate the market. However, with rising technology innovations, several companies are expanding their market presence by obtaining new contracts and penetrating new markets.
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