Are Virtual Reality and Immersive Solutions the Future for Innovative Companies?

José Ramón Varela Vargas, Product Senior Manager at NTT DATA Europe & LATAM.

With the projection that the global virtual reality (VR) market will reach $26.9 billion by 2027 and there already being over 171 million VR users worldwide, the time for businesses to assess the capabilities of immersive solutions in their sphere is now.

The ultra-accelerated development of virtual reality has placed it as a front-runner in innovation across industries. The evolution of several generations of VR devices from multiple manufacturers means that the capabilities have been advanced and manufacturing costs lowered, prompting uptake and application to rise for both corporate and personal use.

Alongside the rapid development of VR, supportive technologies have kept up with developments. Integrations can be used to further improve the user experience. For example, leveraging the potential of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, Blockchain, and 5G and 6G Networks.

So what does immersion in the digital world mean for companies? Many companies are committed to developing the metaverse; a combination of virtual reality, augmented reality and haptic equipment that interconnect to form a digital world designed by the owner and where users can interact completely virtually.

How could your business benefit from the metaverse?

Transforming digital interactions from clicks and taps to more natural physical interactions opens doors. Being able to act in the digital world more like we do in the real world around us has many benefits for companies and individuals when utilized fully.

Today we have the chance to step into a technological world and live experiences within digital environments that have until now been portrayed via flat screens. If in the past, we typed instructions into the machine through a keyboard and got the answers through rudimentary screens in text mode, as technology advanced, we began to interact with digital windows and moved on to mobile interfaces. Things then evolved at an unprecedented pace and now immersive solutions are revolutionizing the way we interact allowing us, for the first time, to live experiences from within them.

Immersive experiences are considered a valuable space for many companies that leverage it for certain activities, in particular training. The digital environment is a safe, accessible and affordable training ground for physical tasks that would otherwise pose a risk in real life and comes at a high cost to repeat in the real world. It gives a whole new meaning to the maxim ‘The best way to learn something is by doing it.’

VR also removes the question of location, especially when considering the potential of the metaverse, and creates a common space for people from all over the world without time constraints or transportation costs. The rise of digitalization and remote working has caused concerns about the lack of human interaction and how that depletes working environments. This bridges the gap allowing companies to enjoy the benefits of remote working while fostering community and culture.

Entering the metaverse as a company

We believe that the metaverse is the next step in the evolution of the internet. The metaverse is a place where interactions aren’t limited to flat screens, text messages, images, buttons and tabs, but rather a realistic 3D interaction that is more natural to humans. For a company, the metaverse is a digital communal space where leaders, employees and even clients can meet and interact in a safe and managed environment. The potential uses of a company’s metaverse is numerous, spanning across one to one mentoring, department training and corporate events. Whatever the occasion, the transport is instant and the cost is reduced, especially with how scalable a digital space is.

The options for devices and platforms to run this system are being introduced to the market in quick succession. For example, Meta has released Quest PRO. However, adopting this relatively new technology does come with its own set of challenges.

The challenges of implementing the metaverse

Entering the metaverse sounds good in theory but many are put off by the practical application. As with adding any new tools or applications to the organization, it needs to integrate with the already existing system and merge with the established workflow. Introducing the metaverse to an ecosystem of devices and digital tools is not as complicated as may be expected. As with any technology in the initial stages of roll out, the experience won’t be fully streamlined yet especially between different providers.

Despite hesitation and the general perception that implementing this technology is very complex, in fact it’s easier than expected and has proved to be a valuable asset to any business. The transition is relatively easy, fast and cost-efficient in the long term. The first to adopt the change will be the first to reap its benefits and its widespread application will only become smoother and more accessible.

The future of VR in corporate use

As the technology of the metaverse and immersive experiences continue to develop, the barriers to implementation and efficient use will disappear. So will its capabilities and application to more processes. It is already being used in talent attraction, onboarding, reducing workplace risks, and improving remote and hybrid working environments. As it is combined with emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and Blockchain, the value to businesses will increase.

One of the solutions leading the way for businesses is NAKA. It provides organizations the opportunity to offer immersive experiences to their employees and customers at an enterprise scale. The technology is ready to use as interactions come to life through VR glasses or PC and customizing through a simple editing tool.

Among the various companies we have worked with to create virtual spaces, we recently prepared two spaces using NAKA for the Franco-Spanish Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The first experience created was an open world where people are free to move to different locations with the auditorium being the central hub for the event. Additionally, we prepared the “Syntphony Hall” for the interactive exploration of NTT DATA products.

VR and immersive experiences are exciting opportunities with a lot of buzz around them. Not all of its potential applications have been released yet. As competitors fight to dominate this growing market, it will be refined and expanded further. Increasingly, companies will see its value and overcome the barriers to uptake such as it requiring such a significant shift in the way we work.