When Gartner recently placed virtual reality at the peak of its 2017 Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle, those of us that have been lucky enough to work with this incredible technology in recent years were far from surprised.
Widely recognised as the definitive guide to emerging technologies and their place in the world, the Gartner Hype Cycle provides insights gained from evaluations of more than 2,000 technologies by the tech research advisory powerhouse.
Only those that show the most potential for delivering a competitive advantage over the next 5 to 10 years make the cut.
And leading the way, head and shoulders above the rest, is VR – the only emerging technology to have reached Gartner’s ‘slope of enlightenment’.
It’s clear, definitive proof that VR’s time is now. But there’s certainly no room for complacency.
The (slippery) slope of enlightenment
VR has come on quite some journey – a concept which still seemed almost out of reach only a handful of years ago has now become an incredible reality.
With the power to imagine, create and mould unique consumer experiences, it’s little wonder that brands as varied as Gillette, Volkswagen and M&Ms have all now used VR to provide surprising moments to fans.
VR has the power to transform the world, re-write the rules and take users to bold new places – anything is possible if you have the creativity and imagination.
But there remains a lot of confusion – both about what VR can do now, the budgets required and its future potential. One thing is crystal clear: the pitfall of ‘VR for VR’s sake’ must be avoided at all costs, by working with partners that understand how, and why, to use this ever-evolving technology. It’s much, much more than just a short-term marketing gimmick.
What lies ahead
The VR market is going to grow exponentially over the next 3 years and is predicted to be worth over $40 billion across mobile, console and PC by 2020 – up from $6.4 billion this year. Talk about rapid growth.
And it’s little wonder – VR is perfectly placed to fulfil a wide range of desires. It’s started to prove itself in the arena of videogames, live events and video entertainment – the recently-opened IMAX VR arcade has received rave reviews to date – and its use is steadily growing across the healthcare, engineering, real estate, retail, military and education sectors.
I’m a media and marketing all-rounder, with 15 years’ experience across a range of channels. I’m fascinated by the shop floor and ‘real world’ and love getting out in the field, experiencing the action first-hand, and gathering and sharing consumer insights and knowledge.