As we head into 2017, discussions on virtual reality (VR) will begin to take centre stage once again as one of the hot topics for this year. As many still get to grips with what you can do with VR, its future is only set to thrive and adapt further over the next few years.

Ankur Aggarwal, CEO at Veative, looks at the next steps to making the ‘virtual’ a reality.

Taking controlling virtual reality

It sounds obvious, but controllers will play a vital part in virtual reality during 2017. We’ll start to see a consolidation of industry equipment which will be based around and driven by consumers. Low and moderately priced VR headsets do not normally include controllers, and as we know, controllers enable true interactivity with VR objects. The simple need of having a controller, along with the physical design and the way software is applied to its buttons, will play an increasingly important role in the expansion of and use of VR outside of the gaming world. We’ll see VR taking a firmer hold in industries such as education, engineering and healthcare.

Educating all-in-one

What we’ll start to see very early on in 2017 is the introduction of all-in-one VR headsets. I believe that all-in-one headsets will become the hardware of choice for educational VR, moving it away from the dependence on mobile phones, and enabling easier administration of equipment around schools. This will mean fewer components for teachers to look after, while also reducing the security risk of having expensive phones going missing or breaking in an environment of mass and shared use.

We’ll see VR taking a firmer hold in industries such as education, engineering and healthcare.

Affording reality

There’s been steady growth of VR in the education market – despite the fact that it’s still very much a growing trend. This is noted from the surge of companies coming to market. Again, some of this growth will come from demand – for example digitally savvy students along with teachers wanting to experience how technology can enhance learning. As this happens, VR will expand very quickly in industry use and we’ll see the integration of some high-end hardware. This will in turn bring low-end education with it very fast. For example vocational training could be a channel that’ll utilise VR faster than academic education.

In that case it’s likely to become easier to measure the return on investment of VR in vocational training versus standard academic education. This may accelerate adoption of VR further.

Beyond the ‘virtual tour’

VR educational content will begin to go beyond simple ‘virtual tours’. Right now virtual tours are limited and uses passive unmeasurable input which is insufficient alone to justify cost and time. This will be the year we’ll see the need for VR educational content to be even more interactive and effective as supplementary classroom learning material. Companies will have to make sure all VR teaching and learning tools are designed to link to relevant curriculums showing the clear benefits of using the technology for teachers and learners.

Corporate sector boost

Mixed reality technologies such as HoloLens will have a big impact on learning and training initiatives within the corporate sector. Training departments there will start planning to use Mixed Reality technology in initiatives in an attempt to help cut the cost of training further afield, while at the same time securing deeper analytics. With the cost of MR devices currently out of reach for mainstream education, it’s anticipated that MR content demand will continue to come from commercial enterprises where the effectiveness of the solution is such that it saves the cost many times over.

Ankur Aggarwal, CEO, Veative

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