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What’s Hot & Cool? #14: Virtual Reality

By 2020 Virtual Reality (VR) will be virtually everywhere.

What’s happening?  Experts are posting eye-popping predictions about Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR) growth rates.  Sources project 5-year CAGRs ranging anywhere from 80-170% with this Statista study predicting the VR/AR market to reach $143B by 2020, with the Americas commanding an 83% share.

That’s a lot of Pokemon Go.

Why should you care? VR and AR are going mainstream at high speed.  With Apple’s announcements   earlier this year, iOS is poised to become the lead VR/AR development platform.  Tech speak aside, that means 160 million iPhone and 100 million Mac users will soon be mobile AR/VR-enabled.

These digital experience enhancers are already at play in the music, sports and even film industries,  but are extending into professional fields like training, teaching and medicine.  These industries are chock full of small businesses which see AR and VR as the next competitive differentiator.

Who’s leading?  Gunita Kulikovska has been at the forefront of VR for designers and architects.  She founded Vividly in 2015 and was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Latvia in 2016.  On the AR side, founder Jodi Schiller launched her firm New Reality ARts to help brands deepen their customer connections through augmented reality content.

But as with many STEM sectors, the Leading Lady list is short.  Cue Women in Virtual Reality, founded by Maria Korolov, a 20-year technology and cybersecurity veteran, whose organization provides training and networking forums so more women can ride this next tech wave profitably.

What can you do?  Don’t wait to explore VR/AR and their relevance to your business.  It’s likely a matter of When, not If.  To start, check out this Halstead Media article for a good technology and business factor overview.  And if you’re a founder in one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s VR breakthrough industries, consider setting aside some exploratory funds as soon as your finances permit.

Let’s face it, we all want to augment our profits, virtually all the time!  (I couldn’t resist)