The fast-paced world of tech is generally a place where start-ups and new businesses are increasing, and existing businesses are expanding. Within the tech industry, there are some areas that are seeing a particular boom, and among these are the virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) sectors.
If you are looking for a new area to invest in or are considering an area of technology to expand a business into, it is well worth looking at VR and AR and how they are progressing. Although all tech is advancing, it is possible that these two areas could be the next big thing in how they transform the world.
VR and AR: what’s the difference?
Both VR and AR enrich people’s experiences in many areas. Most people are first introduced to them through gaming, as they are used to create a more immersive experience. However, their reach stretches across many sectors, including education, marketing, and e-commerce.
VR requires the user to wear a headset and may require other specific equipment such as gloves and sensors. It places the user in a computer-generated alternate world.
AR takes place in the real world but allows the user to transform it with, for example, characters and colorful images. This can be possible through the camera of a smartphone, requiring no further specialized equipment.
With AR and VR looking to play an increasingly important role in the tech of the future, it is unsurprising that investment in these start-ups is becoming popular with those looking to invest in tech. For those AR and VR entrepreneurs with a well-thought-out plan, there has never been a better time to look for investment to start or expand an enterprise.
Scott Sandell, the managing general partner of New Enterprise Associates, one of the world’s largest venture capital firms, has, in recent years, invested in industry-transforming entrepreneurs. Scott Sandell’s daughter has inspired him to become interested in seeing technology evolve for future generations, and he is well placed to spot the latest trends. With increased investment, we are already seeing the impact of VR and AR today.
Safer industry training
As VR and AR become increasingly sophisticated, one of the implications will be their usage in training. Many industries require staff to be proficient in operating certain machinery before they can begin working. VR can be used to create simulations that mimic the real working environment, enabling users to hone their skills in real-time. They can do this without the negative consequences that can be caused before they are proficient, meaning that neither safety nor efficiency is compromised.
Another area where the impact will be used is in medicine. VR is already being used in the training of doctors and nurses and, far from being a poor substitute for working with real patients, it has been found that students learn surgical skills faster and with fewer mistakes than those learning by traditional methods. If these results continue to be seen, then it is likely that VR and AR will become ever more dominant in this area.
Training for emergencies has long been an established practice in many areas, such as in the police, fire, and rescue services to prepare for a disastrous accident or in the aviation industry to prepare for a terrorist attack. While recreating these situations for training purposes is effective, it is also highly expensive. VR and AR can be used to create the same situations but at a far cheaper cost.
We are already seeing how the AR and VR boom is transforming how we shop, and this is a trend that is likely to continue. Using AR, our smartphone can allow us to see how a product will appear out of the store – for example, by pointing the camera at the relevant spot in the home to show how a piece of furniture will look in a room or using a selfie to see how the clothing will look without the need to physically try it on.
VR and AR can recreate concepts that can otherwise be hard to demonstrate. Already, we are familiar with apps that we can point at the sky that will show what planets or stars are there. As these become more sophisticated, the implications for learning across every subject will be immense.
Walk the streets of ancient Rome, witness a volcanic eruption, conduct virtual dissections in science, order a meal in a Parisian café in French – the possibilities are endless. As well as providing a more effective learning model, this will undoubtedly boost the enthusiasm of the students as learning becomes more immersive and enjoyable.
The tech of the future
Whether you are an entrepreneur, a tech professional or an investor, being a part of this current boom in AR and VR start-ups will give you the opportunity to play a role in the development of the tech of the future. There has never been a more exciting time to get involved.