If 2016 was predicted to be the year of VR, 2017 has revealed a different reality. Critical mass has not yet arrived. Whilst some cheaper mobile phone applications have made progress, the fully-immersive, high-end devices are lagging behind. Prices are still too high, equipment complicated, and consumers slow on the uptake.

It’s simply going to take a little longer for VR to promise to transform our lives. Apple’s Tim Cook still believes it will change the way we use tech forever, and the development momentum and investment remain strong for VR/MR.

Even so, in these early days, there are plenty of interesting applications in non-mass-market segments, away from the red-hot gaming landscape.

Operating system

VR’s application to healthcare training is just one fertile area.

FundamentalVR has created a surgical training simulation that allows a novice surgeon to ‘see’ a patient in virtual reality and work on a knee with a stylus. This simulation provides highly- accurate feedback, subtle enough to distinguish whether an injection is going into hard muscle, soft tissue or bone.

The company plans to launch other simulations to teach a range of surgical techniques, using the same hardware: a readily-available high-end computer and HTC Vive headset.

The healthcare sector is proving to be a lucrative arena for VR/MR with an estimated market worth of $5.1bn by 2025 (Goldman Sachs Report). Other sectors offer equal promise. Engineering and live events, for example, are each estimated to create markets in excess of $4bn by 2025.

Expanding applications

FundamentalVR will be one of two companies demonstrating their applications at Odgers Berndtson’s ‘Virtual Worlds. Real opportunities.’ at Audi City, London.

Scott Dodkins, VR/MR specialist in Odgers Berndtson Interactive Entertainment Practice, explains: “Traditionally centred in the gaming/training and development sectors, we are now witnessing artificial and mixed reality expanding its commercial applications into sectors like Health, Architecture, Financial Services, to name just a few."

“Our event will explore how AR/MR impacts our world today and how far it will go in the future. At what point can it/will it fully intersect with the world of the consumer. What does that look like for business?”

To help answer that question, and fully illustrate the real-world impact of these new technologies, Avanade will illustrate the commercial application of VR in three client cases, concerning Insurance, Oil and Retail.

Working practices

So, what’s the best way for newcomers to make the most of this rapidly-emerging landscape? GDR Creative Intelligence will be identifying the current VR/MR pioneers and suggesting three principles to guide the way.

Fittingly, Benjamin Braun, Marketing Director at Audi UK, who are providing the space for this event, will explain how this innovative automotive giant is utilising technology.

“Our ‘Virtual Worlds. Real opportunities.’ event will offer a clearer picture of the commercial possibilities of virtual and mixed reality,” concludes Michael Drew, Head of the Technology practice at Odgers Berndtson.

“Now is clearly the time to explore the potential of this transformative technology that will re-write the rules of engagement and interaction.”

Michael Drew

Michael's expertise spans the technology and IT services sectors in both EMEA & Asia Pacific. During a 15 year career in executive search, he has partnered with high-growth software innovators and...

Scott Dodkins

Scott Dodkins is a Principal focusing on executive search in Interactive Entertainment including VR and AR. During his 20 year career in Interactive Entertainment and Video Games, Scott was active...

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