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In the Zone

VR moves beyond gaming to education, design, medicine, more

Kevin Jacoby's picture

by Kevin Jacoby on 03/24/2022
Blog Category: devices

Virtual Reality isn’t just for gaming anymore.

In fact, VR is headed for its next evolution. As VR works its way deeper into our lives, we’ll see sales of this relatively new tech branch off into verticals that include education, medicine and manufacturing.

There’s a tech provider opportunity in the offing — and it could be big.

The change is already happening. Last year the global VR market was worth nearly $5 billion. But only $1.4 billion of that, or less than 30%, came from gaming, according to Statista. The rest came from other consumer and business applications.

Looking ahead, Statista predicts the overall VR market will be worth more than $12 billion by 2024. That’s an increase over last year of 120% — a good sign that now may be the right time to get a foothold in the VR market.

VR goes to school

Remember those long hours in history class, watching the clock as the teacher prattled on about ancient Egypt? Sometimes those hours felt like centuries.

What if you could instead don a pair of VR goggles and take a virtual walk through the labyrinthine catacombs deep in the pyramids of Giza? Imagine how engaging, how enthralling the lesson might become.

That’s why educators have been testing VR in classrooms for years. Now brands like Lenovo are taking notice.

Lenovo’s VR Classroom 2 system is designed specifically for K-12 classrooms. It features Lenovo’s Mirage VR S3 goggles and a propriety software bundle designed for both teachers and students.

Lenovo Mirage VR S3 goggles

Lenovo Mirage VR S3: The teacher’s newest pet

That’s the plan for the future of education. By giving students virtual access to their world instead of dusty old textbooks, teachers hope to better engage kids and inspire them to follow their dreams.

Designing a new reality

Another area ripe for VR change is design and engineering.

Architects and designers can use software like 3DS Max by Autodesk to pre-visualize new buildings and homes. Like many design software platforms, 3DS Max lets users connect with popular VR gear like Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 goggles.

VR for architects

Architecting with VR: Blueprints not required

(Photo: The Wild)

Once a design is complete, an architect’s clients can use VR for a virtual walk-through of the space. This gives them a chance to voice their approval (or dissent) before expensive construction begins.

This same approach could hold for other design-related verticals. VR will work its way deeper into areas including vehicle manufacturing, renovations and civil engineering.

As those markets become accustomed to the facility VR can offer, your customers may call on you to provide VR hardware, peripherals and support. Will you be ready?

Virtual medical training

Healthcare is another vertical market with myriad uses for VR. Developers that focus on healthcare are pushing the envelope to create new VR solutions for surgical training, assessment and therapy.

VR systems can be used to train medical students, enabling them to virtually experience emergencies, procedures and other treatments. One big advantage of learning virtually: No real-life consequences if a student makes a mistake.

Similarly, practicing doctors and nurses can learn new treatments with VR. And surgeons can use VR to practice new, complex techniques before operating on live patients.

One company, OSSOvr, offers a VR surgical training and assessment platform that features 120 training modules. It’s used by healthcare providers including Marshall University and Hospital for Special Surgery.

To be sure, the software that healthcare VR makers provide is highly specialized. But it’s nonetheless designed to be compatible with popular VR hardware from brands including Meta and HTC. 

VR for surgical training

Surgical training with VR: This won’t hurt a bit 

(Photo: VR Fitness Insider)

The rest of us can benefit from virtual medicine, too. Our doctors can use VR to visualize our unique physiology. Through this process, we can better understand our bodies — and learn to take better care of them.

Don’t skimp on your research

Thinking of jumping into the VR game? It’s always a good idea to do some homework before pulling the trigger.

As VR tech proliferates, the market will become saturated with new products — some good, some really quite terrible.

Leveraging your precious cash flow to create a great VR portfolio could be a wise decision. But only if you make wise choices when shopping for hardware, software and services.

Are you ready to step into the future? Then pull those goggles down over your eyes and take a look at the new world of virtual reality. You might just love what you see.


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