VR Isn’t Dying, It’s Just Getting Started
If I read one more “VR is Dead” headline, I’m having an aneurysm. Don’t believe those clickbait-esq headlines from The New York Times, Forbes, TechCrunch. Cancel the funeral. VR is not dead, and it never will be. VR is poised to become one of the most transformative technologies in the next 5 years. VR is only in the early innings of a 35-year tech cycle, and these next few years will be dramatically different.
Sure, it may take some time for VR to fully mature, but this slow period of initial growth happens in most tech cycles. Released in 1971, the Kenbak-1 is considered to be the world’s first personal computer. It took nearly 25 years for most people to have a personal computer. Are computers dead? Why don’t you ask the almost 42% of Americans that are working from home.
Computers have changed nearly all aspects of our everyday lives. Keep in mind, computer adoption did not happen in a silo. This growth occurred in conjunction with many other technological developments, such as the rise of the internet, faster processing units, better hardware, and broader availability of useful computer software. A similar pattern happened with the rise of mobile phones and Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices.
VR will have similar partners to boost consumer and enterprise interest. These partners in crime include 5G, Wi-Fi 6, artificial intelligence, game engine advancements, faster networking, hardware enhancements, and a better knowledge of best development and 3D modeling practices.
Tech cycles do not happen overnight. They take time, a LONG time. As a self-described futurist, I’ve spent my career focusing on what’s next. I’ve lived through the mass adoption of the internet, personal computers, and mobile phones. I’ve led multiple technology firms ranging from startups to public companies. I understand digital revolutions, and I know what technologies are going to stick. I also know what’s going to fail — sorry 3D TVs and Quibi, no one ever needed you.
The technologies that stick are the ones with the potential to fundamentally change our everyday lives. In my opinion, we’re in year 7 of a 35-year tech cycle. The same way smartphones and the internet are ubiquitous with our every day, VR, AR, and AI represent our future. We’re less than 1/5th of the way done, and we can already observe how immersive technologies are transforming how we learn, train, work, and spend time with others.
This same ability to see future changes inspired me to form my own company, The Glimpse Group. Glimpse is an Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality platform company developing enterprise-grade software and service solutions. We’re operating at the enterprise level because we see the enormous potential for VR to impact training, education, healthcare, soft skill development, wellness, marketing, commerce, and more. I know I just listed a laundry list of industries, but these are all active areas where our subsidiaries develop solutions for our clients.
A number of high-profile companies and early adopters are already taking advantage of immersive technologies. A recent Harvard Business Review article even points to the power of employers using VR to teach workers soft skills. Why? Well, according to Christopher Dede, a Harvard School of Education professor, “The future of VR is being immersed into an environment blending physical and digital worlds, where users interact via a headset, their computer, or their mobile device to role play with an avatar or learn a new skill.”
We already see many powerful studies that speak to the success of VR. Oculus case studies show how VR is transforming business. One study with Hilton finds that VR improves employee training by bringing learners to a virtual environment where they feel more focused and engaged. Another study with Johnson & Johnson points to the success of using VR to train surgeons — training procedures that would be nearly impossible to replicate in real life.
The number of case studies and peer-reviewed research pointing to VR’s advantages is endless. The best part? VR is only going to get better. How we define cutting-edge today will soon look like computer tech from the 80s.
VR is not dead. For anyone who received a notice, I’d kindly ask you to ditch the funeral service. As long as we’re not writing VR’s eulogy, I’m more than happy to meet with anyone who wants to talk about this technology. Feel free to message me on LinkedIn, and we can schedule a time to chat or meet in VR or AR!
Lyron is the Founder and CEO of The Glimpse Group, a virtual reality company in New York City that has produced VR solutions for a variety of businesses and institutions such as Panera Bread, Snapchat, Subway, Chanel, Cornell, Fordham, and more. He holds an MBA from Yale School of Management and a Law degree from the Hebrew University. Follow him on LinkedIn.