Seeing is Believing: Why it’s time to immerse your business in VR and AR

by Jeremy Dalton Head of VR/AR, PwC United Kingdom

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have the potential to boost the global economy by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. That’s the headline finding of research conducted by PwC economists.

However, you could be forgiven for wondering how that looks in practice. After all, while VR and AR already contribute over $46 billion to the global economy, the technologies are still regarded by many as being limited to gaming, or gimmickry.

For others, VR and AR have over-promised and under-delivered in the past.

But things have changed - and continue to change for the better. We believe the technology is ready for business and we explore why in our Seeing is Believing report, published today. As Louise Liu, a colleague in our VR/AR team here at PwC UK, says in the report: “Don’t let past experiences and outdated perceptions shape your thinking.”

The report looks at how organisations are using VR and AR and what is going to drive the incredible growth our economists are predicting over the next decade, from improvements in technology to a host of compelling uses.

The headsets are now cheaper, lighter and more user-friendly, and content is improving all the time. This will be bolstered by the arrival of 5G promising access to even greater connectivity and moving more processing from the device to the cloud.

Businesses are getting on board and seeing for themselves the huge benefits these technologies can deliver. They are speeding up processes - for example, using VR, car designers have found they can cut the time taken to go from design to model from weeks to days.

They are opening up environments and situations that would be expensive, dangerous or limited in the real world. In healthcare, student doctors are using VR to gain access to virtual operating theatres.

VR and AR are putting more powerful information into our hands. Engineers and technicians are using AR interfaces and overlays to identify problems and carry out maintenance and repairs in the field.

And these technologies are helping people gain new skills. Sarah Potter, another colleague quoted in the report says “these technologies are no gimmick”. Sarah is the immersive design leader in our Learning and Development team and has already used VR to train thousands of our people.

Across every industry, there are benefits that are ready and waiting, right now, for organisations to capitalise on.

But how?

Our report includes five clear steps for getting started with VR and AR. The most important of which is simply getting stuck in and seeing for yourself how these technologies have evolved and what they can do for you.

Download our Seeing is Believing report, explore the economic data, enjoy the AR experiences we’ve included using your own mobile phone, and read up on the insights and opinions of our technology and industry specialists. And please get in touch to discuss how VR and AR can help you, your people and your organisation.

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by Jeremy Dalton Head of VR/AR, PwC United Kingdom

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