Even in the field of virtual reality, technological innovation does not stop. What has been done so far and what are the perspectives for the coming years?
Let’s see what has been done in this field and what the future holds.
The state of the art in 2020
Virtual reality is that set of technologies that help creating a simulated environment within which the user can live an immersive experience composed of interactive virtual data.
A specification is needed: virtual reality should not be confused with augmented reality, which refers to those technologies that allow to add a range of supplementary multimedia information to reality.
Returning to the topic of virtual reality, it has to be taken into account how it is spreading more and more in the general public, thanks both to the easiness of access to the devices that allow its use and to the actual use of these technologies, which are being designed with increasingly user-friendly interfaces.
The potential uses of this technology are many. Its fields of application cover:
Before looking at the future, we need to focus on the year that is coming to an end.
There is no doubt in admitting that the year 2020 has been hit by an exceptional event. In fact, the pandemic has brought (and continues to bring) profound consequences in every field, including the economic and productive sector.
According to a study conducted by the IDC (International Data Corporation) research center, in 2020 the sales related to virtual reality devices suffered a setback with the arrival of Coronavirus. This is probably due to one of the consequences of the pandemic: the supply chain shutdown, which has affected this sector as like as many others.
Future perspectives: a change driven by 5G
Despite the decline experienced during the pandemic, IDC’s forecasts for the future are still very positive. According to the research centre, in fact, by the end of the year the trend is set to rise with a considerable annual growth rate. It is estimated that by 2024 the distribution of virtual reality devices will exceed 76 million units.
Once the production sector is unlocked, it will be possible for manufacturers to respond to the demand, which has grown during the pandemic, of those virtual reality devices that allow to amplify the possibilities of entertainment and work from home.
The estimated growth is also calculated taking into account another important technological novelty, destined to change the internet connection as we know it: 5G.
The spread of the fifth generation of networks began in 2019. Even if in Italy the coverage of the 5G network affects only a few cities today, in the future we will hear more and more often about this topic.
5G allows to greatly reduce response times, which become close to real-time transmission. With these assumptions it is easy to guess that the implementation of the 5G connection will offer even greater potential for virtual reality, with possible fields of application in many areas: from customer experience to engineering, from entertainment to learning, from remote assistance to the creation of interactive work environments.
In particular, brands are expected to make a more extensive use of virtual reality to let their customers experience their product even before the purchase.
ICT’s research and development centres are specializing in the implementation of tools that allow to experience virtual reality in an increasingly immersive way. The development of tools such as wired gloves, virtual reality suits, headsets, eye-tracking systems and earphones serve precisely for this purpose and help to produce a multisensory experience that allow the user to have an entertaining and engaging experience.
Although virtual reality has suffered the harsh consequences of the pandemic, the future prospects are very positive. Thanks to the implementation of 5G technology, it will be possible to achieve very short response times and live more and more dynamic, immersive and engaging experiences.
Innovation in the field of virtual reality certainly moves hand in hand with creativity. The search for unexplored fields of application is, in fact, still ongoing.