Crossing over into the second half of 2017, discussions on virtual reality (VR) continue to take center stage as one of the hot topics. As people discover what’s possible with VR, its future is only set to thrive and adapt further over the next few years.
Here are the next steps to making the ‘virtual’ a reality –
1. Taking control of virtual reality
It sounds obvious, but controllers will play a vital part in virtual reality. 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 to have a controller, along with the physical design and the way software is applied to its buttons, will play an increasingly significant role in the expansion and use of VR outside of the gaming world, in industries such as education and engineering.
2. Educating all-in-one
The introduction of all-in-one VR headsets are a big trend in 2017. I believe that all-in-one headsets will become the hardware of choice for educational VR, moving it away from its dependence on mobile phones, and enabling easier administration of equipment in schools. This will mean fewer components for teachers to look after and charge, while also reducing the security risk of having expensive phones going missing or being damaged in a large shared environment.
3. 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 and 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.
Vocational training could be a channel that would adopt VR faster than academic education. It’s more likely to be easier to measure the return on investment of VR in vocational training versus standard academic education. This may accelerate VR adoption further.
4. Beyond the ‘virtual tour’
VR educational content will begin to go beyond simple ‘virtual tours’. Right now virtual tours are limited and use passive, immeasurable input which alone is insufficient 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 curriculum showing the clear benefits of using the technology for teachers and learners.
5. 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 will start to use mixed reality (MR) technology in an attempt to help cut the cost of training further afield, while at the same time providing 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 covers the cost many times over.