Augmented Reality Retail Applications & VR Store Solutions

AR only became popular when Pokemon Go came on the scene. But even after Pokemon Go lost its prime time, the interest in Augmented Reality has stuck around. Hate it or like it, this global craze game has introduced people to using AR technology through their phone, thus introducing a new shopping experience.

Retail commerce was quick to adopt the cutting-edge technology of Augmented and Virtual Realities. These days, innovation trends are the staple of a successful retail online marketing strategy. And since the retail competition is steep, Augmented and Virtual Realities can help a business hit it big. Among other benefits, a technologically-rich approach can add value to the retail shopping experience of a brick-and-mortar store.

How Does Augmented and Virtual Reality Retail Shopping Work?

Virtual Reality has been grabbing headlines these days. However, its relative – AR – is also well-known in the retail industry. In general, brick-and-mortar stores are a great place for implementing these technologies. Augmented and Virtual Reality solutions don’t need to be money-generating in retail commerce, since the cornerstone here is the customer experience. Thanks to Virtual Reality, customers can enjoy the perks of being able to see how the chosen items will look on them.


AR/VR Retail Statistics

The Grand VieW Research report tell us about the market growth by devices:



If we are talking about the potential market shares, retail is the sixth, with an estimated value of 1.6 billion dollars by 2025:

virtual reality market size


How to Increase Sales Using Virtual and Augmented Reality Retail

Immersive & Engaging Customer Experience

Customer immersion is a new engagement. By implementing immersive technologies, you can enhance the customer experience at any offline store. Specifically, Virtual Reality allows the consumer to be deeply immersed in the retail shopping experience. It also enables retail commerce to deliver unrivaled levels of engagement with their target customers. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality can create a one-of-a-kind shopping experience at an offline store, transforming the location into a customer-friendly space.


virtual reality immersive experience


Virtual Reality Retail Store Accessibility

Although Virtual Reality is still in its infancy in the industry, more retailers are applying this technology to simplify and customize the shopping experience. Augmented and Virtual Reality solutions are relatively straightforward in their use. As a customer, you don’t have to know nuclear physics to find your way in a Virtual Reality space. Although this technology remains shrouded in mystery to many retailers and consumers, most Augmented and Virtual Reality apps are user-friendly.

Read also: Virtual Reality Apps Development: 8 Problems to Overcome

Examples of Retailers Using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Advanced In-Store Experience

Virtual Reality is a game-changer for a unique shopping experience at brick-and-mortar stores. Expansion into new tools and technologies is a proven marketing instrument and appears to be an affordable and effective way to engage retailers’ customers in a technologically-rich space. A good Retail UX also gives you the upper hand in making the in-store shopping experience even more fulfilling.

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In-Store Virtual Navigation

With a store app, customers can plan their next offline store visit. Using a navigation feature, they can get exact locations to the products they are looking for from wherever they are in the offline store. AR makes navigation a lot easier and can even provide a shortcut to the space to find the item faster.

Product Information

One of the apparent fields for applying AR solutions to a customer shopping experience is product information. Although it may seem too basic, product information is often a struggle to figure out. AR can ease this experience by offering an extended description or by comparing similar products. All of these make customer decision-making less stressful, thus adding to customers’ satisfaction criteria.


Product Search and Customization Assistance

Another potential AR area is product search. Although Augmented Reality solutions may seem a bit extra, they can streamline the buying experience by adjusting some features.

Additionally, Virtual Reality can revamp the product customization. Not only will customers choose a specific color, but they can also fine-tune some features to their liking.

Home In-Store Experience – “Try Before You Buy”

One of the most innovative applications is the ‘Try before you buy’ model. Before buying the product at an offline store, customers can virtually try the product online.

Augmented Reality solutions help online shoppers understand what they’re paying for —and how items will work for them. Such applications can be used for any online product that needs to be tailored to the online customer or experienced in another way.


Augmented and Virtual Reality Retail Examples for Housing & Furniture Fitting

Let’s face it. Most people don’t have enough time to handpick the right furniture at a store. And sometimes, the process of choosing the perfect furniture can turn into a nightmare. Fortunately, with the adoption of Augmented Reality, finding the ideal furniture online or at a store is hassle-free now.

Let’s have a look at the Swedish furniture giant that has perfected its ‘Try before you buy’ applications over the years:

Augmented and Virtual Reality in Fashion Retail

Online beauty and fashion retailers adopt modern AR technologies to stay ahead of their competitors and provide an outstanding shopping experience. With the advent of Augmented Reality applications, an increasing number of companies have embraced supreme product personalization. AR solutions offer a more seamless user experience and save time.

Immersive Product Catalog

Augmented Reality applications create the ability to visualize products in real life. They can clarify vague or insufficient product information at a store. Pop-up cards, try-before-you-buy, and product demonstration are just a few examples of AR power in the catalog immersion.


Virtual Reality Retail Stores

The other variety of the solution mentioned above is an entirely operational Virtual Reality store location. There, a graphic representation of a customer can check out new clothing pieces or any other product at a store.

While contrasting with the AR retail applications, the key component is missing right now – later on, a Virtual Reality retail Store may set itself up for particular kinds of items.

Thus, MasterCard, in partnership with Swarovski, has created a virtual showroom:


The APP Solutions AR/VR Usage Examples

At The APP Solutions, we believe that the way online customers look for products at a store is changing. AR and VR solutions are creating a brand new retail industry.

As for this industry, we see the following solutions that can be implemented with our help:

  1. VR Training Simulator – this solution is well-known in medicine. However, it can be applied in less specific areas like makeup studios to help beginners master the art.
  1. VR Shopping – we think the growing demand for tech-savvy solutions already makes the implications of Virtual Reality shopping substantial. Among other things, this can create an easier shopping experience at a store for physically challenged or older adults.
  1. AR Shopping Consultant – we think that companies should use the globalization of smartphones to their advantage. Additionally, AR solutions can solve the problem of short-staffed stores.


In Conclusion

Today, Augmented Reality, and the Virtual Reality shopping experience, are in high demand. You, as a retail person, can be ahead of the curve by making use of these technologies in your business. Although we cannot foresee the future of AR&VR in retail, we firmly believe that the best is yet to come.

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Augmented Reality Issues – What You Need to Know

Augmented Reality technology had come a long way since it was first introduced. The term “Augmented Reality” itself was coined by Tom Caudell, one of the Boeing researchers, in 1990. Before that, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality did not have a clear distinction. In the ’00s, things began to change rapidly – we see more and more businesses taking advantage of the new tech.

With the introduction and adoption of smartphones and later introduction of Hololens and Oculus Rift, Augmented Reality technology that once seemed a thing of the somewhat distant future became feasible and started to evolve. It took some time to get a grasp on fundamentals but now the development of an augmented reality application is not much of a problem – just a matter of figuring out what’s and why’s.

At the moment, there are very enthusiastic forecasts that show figures as high as $108 billion by 2021 and $162 billion by 2024 for the Virtual reality & Augmented Reality industry’s market value.

If we take a look at the current year statistics and forecast of AR revenues from 2018 to 2020, we can see that AR Services are projected to rise exponentially next year:

[Source: Statista]

However, it doesn’t mean that everything is unicorns and rainbows are everywhere in the Augmented Reality industry. Far from it. In this article, we will talk about the challenges the Augmented Reality industry is currently facing.

Augmented Reality Industry Challenges

Lack of Proven Business Models

One of the weirdest things about Augmented Reality technology is that despite experiencing broad adoption and mass public acceptance – it is not doing all that well business-wise.

Let me explain – the industry is doing fine. There is a steady flow of investments in the augmented reality app market, and the general background is more than positive. However, all these investments are yet to pay off big time. Part of the reason is that no one had figured a distinct AR-related Business Model that will work long-term (besides, probably, gaming industry.)

Sure, startups are popping up like mushrooms after the rain with more and more outlandish concepts at hand and many big companies are trying out various AR-related solutions, but there is one thing that should be noted – all these solutions are integrated into the business models that can be effective with or without an AR solution.

The biggest AR product of recent times – Pokemon Go broke even only because of the power of the brand. After the hype died down, the retention rate followed. The same goes for IKEA and Amazon AR applications – they are fun, but you can live without them. 

However, there is a ray of light in the form of industrial companies. Why? They have enough financial resources to boost development, and there are plenty of fields where AR technology might come at handy.

Let’s name a few:

  • Proof of Concept for construction projects;
  • Discrepancy Checking;
  • Construction Progress Monitoring;
  • Hidden infrastructure visualization;
  • Maintenance Instructions;

These kinds of applications have the potential to establish an augmented reality technology not as a toy but as a viable helping tool that improves the overall quality of the end product.

Lack of Augmented Reality App Design & Development Standards

Standards are something of a universal language for a software application. It is one of the ways to secure its compatibility and contribution to the overall development of the technology. At the moment, this is the thing that is under construction for Augmented Reality.

The reason is simple – it’s too soon. The technology is too new, and it is still coming to its own both in hardware and software terms (despite “technically” being around for a while.)

So what’s the problem? Without standards, every augmented reality-related project is a thing of its own barely compatible with the others. That complicates the process of unifying solutions to the greater whole which makes the overall development of the technology much slower than it could have been if everyone had been on the same page.

However, implementation of technical standards is a question of time, and its adoption will signify the final stage of establishing the technology as a real deal. 

Security & Privacy Issues with Augmented Reality

Privacy & Security also pose significant challenges that the AR industry. Due to inconsistencies in augmented reality programming, oversight, and negligence, there is a legitimate chance of getting into trouble without meaning to do so.

The biggest issue is that no actual regulation designates what is allowed and what is not in the augmented reality environment. This means the technology can be used with malicious intent just as it can be used for entertainment.

For example, the “try before you buy” option for clothing, but instead of overlaying the cloth on your body someone may overlay another nude body and spread to damage your reputation or blackmail. Or AR can be used to hijack accounts via surveillance and mining data output by slightly manipulating and overlaying AR content (just as in ad stacking fraud schemes).

Part of the problem is a lack of awareness about these problems. People don’t understand how sensitive the subject is. The other part of the problem is the reluctance of the developers to take action before there is any heat on the corner.

The Possibility of Physical Harm

While long-term effects of using Augmented reality are much better documented than ones for Virtual Reality (uh-hm), there is still a significant possibility of harming yourself and the surroundings due to the nature of the application and lack of attention.

The thing is – Augmented Reality operates in the real world and adds a little bit of digital into it. These elements are driving attention away from reality which may cause a potentially dangerous situation.

For example, remember all the news about people hurting themselves while playing Pokemon Go? Well, it is just the tip of an iceberg.

Augmented Reality, while being a worthwhile addition to the proceedings, can also serve as a significant distracting factor. This is why automobile manufacturers are so reluctant with implementing AR displays – it is more of a liability than the actual advantage for the driving process.  

As such, there is a need to develop a certain kind of AR interface that will be useful and yet not distracting from the process.

Poor Quality of Content & Use Cases

While AR technology is rapidly developing and gradually expanding its scope – the problem with its use cases and the content remains. It is currently leading the top of unsolved problems in augmented reality in terms of being threatening to derail an industry.

The majority of AR-related content available at App Stores is mostly a showcase of simple tricks and not much else. Its goal is to present some brands as forward-looking and cunning. It is designed to be a one-off affair.

Sure, AR technology is still in its infancy, but if you look at what things augmented reality development companies are trying to pull off with more or less the same tools (all HoloLens or Google Cardboard projects related to Healthcare or Education) – the solutions above seem a bit lacking.

Part of the reason for this problem is because of a lack of expertise in the field. There are not enough developers who have a firm grasp on technology and can deliver an accessible and useful experience.

The other big problem looming over the AR industry is the lack of credible use cases for AR technology. At the moment, the majority of AR apps are one-trick ponies that can do one thing which can be done without their assistance with the same level of effectiveness.

Augmented Reality is an additional element to other activities by design – it must significantly contribute to the process either by providing additional information more conveniently or providing assistance in performing specific actions.

Part of the reason why it is so is that of the very nature of AR – it is an addition, augmentation of the other thing, and the only way for it to be successful is to be a natural extension that makes the overall activity easier and more effective, which comes with tries and fails.

AR displays for cars seems like a good idea on paper, but not a useful solution in practice. On the other hand, AR in medical or engineering training can be very helpful. The same goes for infrastructure planning and on-set simulations.

Social Issues of Augmented Reality: Public Acceptance & Retention

While Augmented Reality seems to be a relatively popular topic in the media and frequently mentioned as one of the most exciting emerging technology – its overall public reception is, for the lack of a better word, mild.

Part of the reason for that is that the quality of the majority of AR content is mostly hit and miss. Out of this comes the notion that AR applications are nothing more than an unnecessary addition. However, the situation will probably revert with a couple of “killer apps” that will prove the worth of technology in one swift sweep.

The other part of the problem is that the public, for the most part, is not aware of the benefits of augmented reality in various fields. It is still perceived as zany science fiction by a significant portion of potential users.

Then there is a retention problem. Despite the popularity of the Augmented Reality technology steadily growing over the past few years, there is still a significant problem in keeping an audience using Augmented Reality applications in a long-term perspective.

The current state of affairs with AR apps looks like this: users download the app because they saw an advert that excited them uses it a couple of times until the goal is realized or interest is satisfied and then abandon the app due to lack of long-term use cases.

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Augmented Reality Technology Problems & Limitations

Another big problem with implementing AR solutions is the technological gap between AR devices. It is one thing to design an app for a fully-fledged AR gear, and it is a completely different thing to do it for a smartphone. The latter case got many limitations that make the whole experience not really user-friendly and somewhat redundant to the activity it augments.

Considering that the majority of the target audience will not likely purchase AR gear due to its impractical and high prices – smartphones remain a preferred function and since they have certain augmented reality app design limitations – it neuters the whole point of implementing AR solution to the mix.

What’s the solution to this problem? It is a question of time when the price for AR gear will drop to a mass consumer acceptable level. The thing is – Augmented Reality Technology is in its early stages, and it is too soon to expect that its gear will be available for a regular Joe from the get-go.

Ethical and Legal Issues with Augmented Reality

With high power comes great responsibility and AR is such a power. While it is fantastic that you can easily navigate through the streets using your augmented reality app, public spaces become a sort of “hijacked.” Remember the Pokemon Go and the rather sensitive story about people going to the Holocaust Museum to catch “that one pokemon” they need for the collection?

It is also important to remember that when people are using augmented reality apps, they are sort of “located” in two worlds – one real and another virtual. Therefore, as we mentioned above, you should beware of where you’re located in the physical world, making sure you’re not about to cross a busy road with your nose in the cell phone or wander into someone’s private land (and get a fine, in the best-case scenario.) 

* * *

We developed our own AR Navigation app – AR Places Map. It is designed specifically to simplify movement in the city and navigate in the different leisure opportunities

Features include:

  • Locations of interest (restaurants, cafes, and other points of interest) on the map and in Augmented Reality mode
  • Information about restaurants, art galleries, parks, and more
  • Navigation and direction to the points of interest

Download AR Places Map on Apple App Store

* * *

In Conclusion

While the list of aforementioned AR-related challenges may seem intimidating and off-putting – there is nothing to worry to about for the Augmented Reality technology. It has proven its capabilities of expanding user experience and making it more convenient.

The solution of these challenges is more of a question of time than anything else, and it is certain that AR technology will find its footing and establish itself on its terms very soon.

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The Best Ways to Utilize AR/VR Technology for Event Planners

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are amongst the most exciting technologies that are coming into its own in this very moment. For quite a long time both of them were considered to be nothing more than a flight of the science fiction author’s fantasy (excluding gaming industry), but the persistence of the dreamers made an idea more and more tangible with the passage of time.

In this article, we are going to tell about the ways VR / AR technologies can improve and diversify the experience of various events.

How AR / VR Event Apps Can Improve Event Planning?

One of the reasons why AR / VR is so attractive for the event planners of various conferences and meetups is because of its universality and seemingly limitless potential. If you think about it, virtual and augmented realities can serve almost any purpose and neatly fit into every organizational aspect.

The implementation of augmented or virtual reality solutions in the event planning & management is more of a logistical issue than technological. In other words, all it takes to effectively implement AR/VR into the mix is to have an idea of what exact features do you need for a particular event.

Granted, if your event takes place on a single stage and there are no additional panels elsewhere, there’s no point in creating a full-blown virtual reality conference navigation feature. But at the same time, perhaps there are exhibits around that one stage, where you can provide additional information by using augmented reality. 

Let’s take a look at the most potent uses of VR & AR in event planning.

List of Feature Examples for AR & VR Conferences, Events, and Meetups

Routing & Navigation Augmented Reality Examples

At the moment, one of the two most common uses of augmented reality during such events as conferences and summits is visitor/participant routing and navigation assistance. Given the fact, that some of the bigger events are usually taking parts in the pavilions with labyrinthine sprawls of panels – it is easy to get disoriented and get lost even if you have a map. Enter AR.

Augmented reality makes that a non-issue without much of a fuss. Such application is basically an extension for an event app and usually work within a framework of the other map service (for example, Google Maps). As such, it is both simple and convenient solution for a dubious issue.

(We do not advise to use Virtual Reality for such navigation since you might run into things that are present in the physical reality and not in the virtual.)

* * *

We developed our own AR Navigation app – AR Places Map. It is designed specifically to simplify movement in the city and navigate in the different leisure opportunities. You can read about it here.

Features include:

  • Locations of interest (restaurants, cafes, and other points of interest) on the map and in Augmented Reality mode
  • Information about restaurants, art galleries, parks, and more
  • Navigation and direction to the points of interest

Download AR Places Map on Apple App Store

* * *

Contact Sharing

Another great way of implementing augmented reality into event planning is adding it to the most basic element of communication – business cards. Gathering information at the large-scale events can be messy and at times rather a laborious process with too much to surf through afterward. However, the main challenge is remembering the people you’ve talked to and connecting a face to the name. 

An AR solution can make it easier and much more streamlined. Here’s how: augmented reality video scenarios can be activated via tokens and you can see the person the card belongs to (and sometimes even hear). These tokens can be loaded with all sorts of information – contact information, stats, videos, photos, etc.

For example, it can be a simple introduction to a person, the company he represents, the projects he is involved in, and some contact information with links and so on. A token can also contain something more sophisticated – a short self-presentation or a project pitch. Sure, it doesn’t mean that traditional communication is going anywhere, but it sure streamlines its more processual elements.

Another option for event planners – consider adding a token to the people’s badges that would activate a video of them they can upload beforehand. This can be a great way to simplify your event participants’ life and bring added value (for example, if this token is available only for conference partners.)

In case there is more than one AR event to activate, it is important to visually distinct token so that there would be no overlap.

Stage Presentation & Pitches

Presentations often seem like the most natural thing to include Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality solutions, especially when it comes to presenting some kind of project that requires proofs of concept and practical demonstration of the project in action.

It is also one the more exciting way of implementing the technologies into the event planning.

The reason for that is simple – presentations are always the hardest parts of the event both for presenters and those to whom it is aimed at. There is always a chance of letting something very crucial to slip away in the sea of words and the whirls of slides.

As such, Virtual Reality / Augmented reality presentation can be effective at showing hows, whats, and whys of the project. Such projects are easier to do because of a limited extent of interactivity.

Implementation of VR & AR solution also makes the whole presentation process much more convincing, especially in cases when the project had already taken some shape.

For example, if it is an architectural project – one can make a tour through the 3D model and demonstrate how the building is going to be constructed. The same thing can be used to explain in an exquisite detail the inner workings of the mechanism or an infrastructure scheme.

On the other hand, virtual or augmented reality technology adds more weight to the plays a simple psychological presentation on its own is a fine sign that you really care about that particular idea and want to show as fully as possible. It is an exciting technology as it is and every time it is used drives more attention than just another presentation (except for when the whole event is dedicated to AR/VR and everyone uses it).

Example of Virtual Reality

Presentation Commentary / Additional Content

Virtual and Augmented Reality can also be used to expand traditional presentations and supplement an additional layer of information that gives more context and uncovers various interesting details regarding various aspects of the project. Such augmented reality event presentations can contain all sorts of contents – from simple footnotes to alternative versions of the presented concept.

For example, let’s take an exhibition catalog. There are lots of information regarding different projects. Usually, it is really condensed and streamlined to the bare bones due to limited space. AR can make it easier. Every entry can be turned into the fully animated presentation of an idea, leaving only the basic information on paper and channeling the rest into the ether.

Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality Conferencing

One of the major advantages of virtual reality technology is that it provides an interactive experience that can be used as a showcase of an idea in much fuller capacity than in the real world.

However, it can also be used to enable more direct communication between the participants scattered around the globe in a form of a virtual reality meetup environment – let’s call it disembodied conferencing. Virtual Reality live events have a potential to break distance barriers and bring people together for a conversation in a more comfortable and immersive form.

The reason for applying such solution is simple – event planning involves dealing with such chores as paying for an event venue, travel expenses, lodging, food, and beverages.

VR & AR allows to skip these issues altogether and concentrate on the event itself albeit in a slightly transformed form. A sort of elaboration on a Second Life space where users have a rudimentary interface and basic tools to communicate and share information. And all it takes to make it work is to get your event headsets on.

The potential of this concept is truly astounding as it will allow producing huge scale events completely or partially in a digital realm – just imagine Virtual Reality Trade Shows.

While it may sound complicated and expensive, in reality, such an environment is slightly less complex VR video game with the basic mechanics. The main challenge comes with retaining a high level of privacy and data security and not the environment itself.

In the case of AR – the whole thing is simpler on the development side of things as it will only require an interface and clear transmission in order to maintain adequate presentation. The challenge comes with the presentation itself as it will require more gear to transmit an image.

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What’s next for VR Events?

Over the course of 50 years, VR and AR went from being considered “a thing of distant future” to an actual industry with rather diverse prospects. At the moment both VR and AR are lucrative technologies full of potential and brimming with opportunities – there are many startups eager to make their mark.

At this point of time, the use of AR & VR in event organization is perceived more like an icing on the cake than a real deal, but the acceptance and understanding of the possibilities of the technologies slowly grow and that opens up many new and exciting opportunities.

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Augmented and Virtual Reality in Education

Whether you admit it or not, education is one of the foundational elements of our society. As such, it is all about sharing and expanding knowledge in the most efficient ways (not necessarily the traditional school-college-university path), and we can take advantage of the new technologies to reach the goals. This makes education a perfect case for testing Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality solutions.

While education is treated with utmost seriousness, it is not without its issues, namely the limited availability of educational services and lack of trained personnel. Besides, there is a huge problem with people who have limited physical abilities or who live in places that are hard to reach. Due to all these reasons, implementing AR/VR tech into the education system makes so much sense for us at the APP Solutions. (IMHO.) Let’s talk about it.

How does VR/AR fit in the Education System?

The easiest way to describe the potential impact implementation of VR & AR can make in the education system is to condense it into four words: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.

The education system needs new technologies in order to stay relevant in the ever-changing world and be effective at realizing its mission. Virtual & Augmented Reality is the next logical step in the evolution of the Education System.

From a business standpoint, VR & AR solutions for education have easily applicable business models, which is always a great selling point.

On one hand, there is no need for figuring out a sustainable business model that will turn into profit in short term. This is completely out of the question because education is a public service and things are regulated rather differently there.

Since figuring out the business model is one of the major problems with AR and especially VR industries, taking it out of the equation leaves much more time to figure out the best possible content. However, that’s where the stakes get extremely high.

There is a lot of responsibility to be assumed in terms of developing quality AR / VR education content that will effectively serve its cause. Making educational content is much longer and it’s a much more intricate process that requires tight collaboration and flexibility, especially when you deal with kids. Not only there is a need to create accurate content, but it also must be appropriate to a target audience.

It takes more than composing a fine recreation of a body function to make an immersive VR education process – students and their abilities must be taken into consideration and the content must be adapted to that.

VR/AR Industry and Education

When AR / VR technology meets education, it has the potential to be a win-win situation.

The main challenge in the development of a custom VR education application is that you have to create many of the elements from scratch. However, it is possible to create apps that give teachers the ability to construct AR / VR applications for educational purposes from building blocks, using accessible toolboxes and templates.

As a side project, it might also push the wider adoption of VR and AR technologies among people (since people who are using the latest tech for education usually continue using that tech later in life.)

Virtual Reality Education Statistics

  • 97% of students would like to study a VR course.
  • Education is expected to be the 4th biggest sector for VR investments.
  • VR in education is predicted to be a $200 million industry by 2020 and $700 million by 2025.
  • Almost 80% of teachers have access to virtual reality devices, but only 6.87% use them regularly in the educational process
  • 93% of teachers said that their students would be excited to use virtual reality
  • 7 out of 10 teachers want to use VR to simulate experiences that are relevant to the material covered in class

According to Statista research, 92% of respondents in the USA know the term Virtual Reality: 

When asked, how much people, in general, would be willing to pay for VR gear:

When asked, how much people are willing to spend on a VR game:

Education is #4 top result where people see VR gear implemented:

Benefits of VR in Education and AR in the Learning Process

Expanded Teaching Possibilities

One of the issues of the modern education system is the limited ability to describe and exemplify complicated concepts and explain them in a more practical and accessible manner. The current way of explaining things is often a hit and miss affair where some students get the point while others are unable to do that due. While this is a lesser challenge in humanitarian sciences, it becomes critical when it comes to physics, chemistry, and biology.

Augmented and Virtual Reality education apps can make the process of explaining complicated concepts less challenging by adding an interactive audio-visual factor.

Projects like Augment Education are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in this realm. This tool is made for presentations, modeling, and basic 3D design. It is relatively easy to use and can be considered something of a swiss army knife of current AR tools. Augment Education helps teachers and students to try their hand at constructing various objects and animating them via extensive libraries of shapes, objects, and actions.

Inclusivity: A Salvation for Special People

Another thing that can be greatly improved by the implementation of VR & AR is the inclusivity of the students with various disabilities into the educational process.

For example, solutions like Near Sighted VR Augmented Aid can help students with visual impairments. Among other things, such applications can manipulate the contrasts, text sizes, add audio commentary – which greatly contributes to the integration of the students with disabilities into the community.

On the other hand, VR can be a perfect adaptive environment for students with impairments. Not only it can give them a chance to experience out-of-reach situations but it can be also very practical in the everyday education process.

For example, SignAloud gloves allow to communicate via sign language in a VR environment and translate into a human speech.

Fewer Distractions at VR School

One of the toughest elements of teaching is keeping the attention of the classroom intact and dealing with a variety of distractions. Sadly, the emergence of various technologies such as smartphones, despite their indisputable advantages, made it a lot more difficult. However, there is no particular need to fight with technologies when there is a possibility to embrace them.

Well-orchestrated VR experience can completely shut off the student’s attention from any distracting factors and amp up his concentration on the subject considerably.

Things get better due to immersion and the ability to interact with the environment. Because of that – development of a VR School environment is a solid probability in the near future.

Increased Engagement / Immersion via Interactivity

Let’s be honest, many students consider education a chore, and teachers are facing a lack of student engagement. It is an evergreen problem that probably will not be fully solved. However, VR & AR can help to deal with this issue by adding a bit of interactivity to the mix.

Here’s how it can work. Immersive VR education is by default a much more exciting affair than just sitting in a classroom listening to some mildly interesting dude spelling things. There is some action going on. In addition to that, the student can be more active in the process. On one hand, it helps to keep the student focused on the subject while on the other hand, it makes him much more interested in the subject itself because the student can do something with it.

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Interactivity is the key reason why VR and AR are so attractive for education purposes.

Today’s typical lessons consist of a lot of listening, lots of taking notes, and some looking at something while filling the gaps with critical thinking and imagination. This is not exactly the most endearing experience as well as kinda boring, especially if you don’t really care about the subject. Enter VR.

Virtual Reality gives an opportunity to experience the subject up and front. As such, this kind of experience is much more compelling and effective in delivering knowledge than a traditional lecture.

For example, you can experience first-hand the life of an Egyptian farmer or participate in the Battle of Waterloo alongside Napoleon. You can also virtually travel to various countries instead of just looking at the map and finding the small dot that is Fiji. Granted, it would be a re-created story, but hey, it’s much more interesting than just looking in the books.

Finally, when we’re comparing virtual and augmented realities, VR can deliver a wholesome experience, AR can take a more supplementary role in the educational process, so both can be very useful.

See also: AR benefits for business

* * *

We developed our own AR Navigation app – AR Places Map. It is designed specifically to simplify movement in the city and navigate the different leisure opportunities. You can read about it here.

Features include:

  • Locations of interest (restaurants, cafes, and other points of interest) on the map and in Augmented Reality mode
  • Information about restaurants, art galleries, parks, and more
  • Navigation and direction to the points of interest

Download AR Places Map on Apple App Store

* * *

VR/AR Challenges

The Question of Cost-Effectiveness

Considering that education is usually a government-funded affair, the cost-effectiveness of implementing AR/VR technologies is the question that arises most often. (Granted, we’re not just talking about school education, but also professional training – for example, for surgeons.)

While a virtual reality education platform can be a great help in the learning process, here are the things that you should take into account when calculating the costs:

  1. You will need to invest in gear to make the VR solution available (helmet or glasses + controllers). Thankfully, there are budget options available that are quite good (for example, Google Cardboard). A business analyst can help you figure out what things the gear should be able to do and then it’s up to you and your investors.
  2. You will need to invest in the actual AR/VR content development. While there are solutions that come with building blocks (that you can assemble in whatever way you need), some special training might require starting the development from scratch.
  3. You will need to invest time (and possibly money) into training your teachers on how to operate the gear properly so that they are fully prepared to teach the students.

Compared to Virtual Reality, AR solutions are cheaper because you don’t need specific gear. All your student needs is a smartphone. However, you still need to develop the content for the app.

In the long run, if implemented properly, VR/AR solutions can pay off greatly in a form of highly trained professionals ready for action and other benefits of AR / VR in education are obvious. It can have an incredible impact both on the system itself and on the technology as both of them adapt to the new status quo and develop new models of operations.

The Question of Content Development

One of the biggest roadblocks for the wide implementation of VR and AR solutions in the educational process is purely practical – it takes a lot of effort (both on developers’ and educators’ sides) to create quality AR/VR content that will cover the needs of the educational programs.

There are several reasons for content being a challenge:

  • Basic VR & AR tools available on the wide market aren’t sufficient enough to produce engaging content. They can be used as a supplement but not as a substitute;
  • Teachers can’t do immersive experiences on their own which means there is a need for hiring outsourced developers.
  • Finally, there is still the need to adjust the content to the target audience’s feedback.

There are ready-made AR solutions like Human Anatomy Atlas and Sky Map on the market and you need to define what goals you want to reach using the technology. Perhaps, the ready-made solutions will be more than enough, or you will understand what is the feature that you’re lacking and develop additional apps. Everything is up to you (and your board of investors.)

The Question of Health

Virtual Reality’s impact on mental and physical health hasn’t been widely studied. On one hand, it’s due to the fact that the technology is comparatively new; on the other hand, it’s not as widespread yet so there’s not enough data for research.

The question that gets asked by many: “How can you rely on a certain technology if you have only a vague idea of how it can affect physical and mental health?” This is a serious issue with adults and matters double down when it comes to children.

Granted, we’ve seen the mass “epidemic” of Pokemon hunters and they seemed to be fine unless the players got so engrossed in the game they forgot that there is a real-world besides their virtual or augmented one, with cars, roads, trees, and other dangers. Case in point, Johnny English demonstrates this issue perfectly:

Read the complete review of AR challenges here.

In Conclusion

Both Virtual and Augmented reality technologies offer numerous exciting opportunities for an education system that can be instrumental in solving its key challenges and bringing to a new level of quality.

With the technologies rapidly developing and expanding their availability – it is more of a question of time when they will be considered as a viable option with their own distinct value.

Read also:

AR / VR in Healthcare

Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality in Retail Applications 

How to Develop Spotify-like Application

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Augmented and Virtual Reality in Medicine and Health Care

Healthcare is an industry where the stakes don’t get any higher – it is human life itself. The effectiveness of the health care system is highly dependent on its use of the most advanced cutting-edge solutions. Considering the public interest and involvement as well as funding, health care (more so than other industries) is more open to the new technologies. 

Even on a surface thought, VR & AR and Healthcare seems to be a natural fit. These technologies offer feasible solutions to the many challenges of the health care system and as such offer numerous diverse opportunities for its implementations in various areas – such as general diagnostics and medical training.

Trials and Issues of the Healthcare System

It is a well-known fact that health care systems in every country are tangled with numerous challenges. These challenges come from multiple directions, and they are especially prominent on the ground level, as the situation seems to be in a permanent state of demand greatly exceeding the supply.

On the one hand, there are purely logistical issues, for example when the patient is located in a difficult-to-access place (for example, the side of a mountain.) Then there is an issue with limited access and availability of equipment which is often outdated not even nearly as effective as it should be.

On the other hand, there is a permanent problem with the lack of available personnel in many local institutions. The reality of a situation is that many local hospitals are often struggling to handle intense workflow not to mention emergencies.

The list can go on. All these challenges can be eased with the implementation of VR/AR. However, there is also another reason why the union of Healthcare and VR/AR has so much potential.

AR/VR and the Healthcare System

How can VR/AR help the health care system to handle these challenges? First of all, it will make many things more comfortable to carry out. Next comes increased accessibility of the services and finally Augmented and Virtual Reality in Medicine can critically affect the effectiveness of the medical services themselves and drastically improve their overall efficiency.

Virtual Reality in medicine statistics:


What is important to note is that unlike other industries, where the implementation of AR/VR seems to be more of the icing on a cake (most notably in Entertainment) – in the case of Virtual and Augmented reality and Virtual Reality in Healthcare – it is the opposite. VR/AR solutions can put the existing health care system status quo upside down and make it more useful than it ever was.

In other words, the implementation of AR/VR use in healthcare can be game-changing.

But that is just a part of the story. On the other hand – VR/AR needs Healthcare solutions to evolve. Here’s why.

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Uses of Virtual Reality in Healthcare

Improved Patient Experience

Patient experience is one of those elusive things that barely gets mentioned when it comes to talking about how VR & AR can make the Healthcare system better. However, in reality, patient experience is the one field that gets the most out of the implementation of VR & AR to the operation.

Immersion and engagement matter a lot for successful treatment, and it is often the one thing that gets limited attention due to its relatively inconsequential influence in the grand scheme of things. I mean – when it comes to matters of life and death, customer experience is not the thing that comes to mind first.

Augmented Reality solutions can significantly improve the overall patient experience and make it less problematic by adding pop-up information and navigating features among other things.

The other way, AR & VR healthcare applications can improve Patient Experience is via an extension. As you know, chronic patients often experience the discomfort of being partially left to their own devices in-between the procedures. VR & AR can make their experience a little bit less uncomfortable and probably more exciting.

For example, AR & VR can be used to maintain better communication with their relatives. Also, Virtual reality physical therapy can be used to spend time in places outside the hospital in an elaborate variation of the “try before you buy” scenario (you can read more about this in our article about VR & AR tourism). On the other hand, AR can help the patient to keep track of their vital stats and stay tuned with their therapy progress in a more engaging manner.

Psychological Relief and Treatment

The immersion factor also opens up a gateway toward new ways of therapy. For example, an elaborate virtual reality environment can be used for pain reduction and improvement of sleep habits. Also, VR can be used to help amputees to get accustomed to their state and experience once again their missing limbs.

On the other hand, specific environments can be used to treat mental conditions, such as anxiety, various kinds of phobias, and addictions. VR Healthcare Simulation of events can help better understand the patterns of disorders and develop more effective treatment strategies.

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VR has proved to be extremely useful in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders of a different kind. VR PTSD treatments have two modes:

  • aimed at relaxation and stabilization of the patient
  • aimed at teaching the patient to overcome the PTSD bouts. 

However, in this case, it is too early to claim that this approach is useful in the long run.

Data Visualization / Body Mapping/ Interactive Patient Information

The easiest way in which Augmented reality can neatly fit into the healthcare system is through visualizing data. Case in point – visualized patient data with a possibility of live stats.

Relevant patient information is one of the crucial elements that enables effective treatment. However, even with the most advanced data management systems – the scope of gathered information might be impenetrable or confusing for the doctors. Usually, it is all placed on numerous monitors surrounding the patient and control rooms.

Augmented reality can show the stats directly on the patient’s body – pointing out the problematic points and showing relevant stats.

While it sounds complicated, the whole thing can fit into a pair of smart glasses and accessed through a smartphone.

Another important way to fit VR and AR into the examination process is via Body mapping. A full recreation of the patient’s body may come in handy when the case is complicated or when the doctor is physically unavailable to attend the examination.

In every case, the challenge comes with the accuracy of incoming data and the configuration of the hardware. Considering that the whole operation will require the connection and synchronization of multiple sensors, it seems that it will take some time before this approach will blossom.

Advanced Diagnostics / Risk Assessment

Diagnostics is one of the critical areas of healthcare that often relies on precise results and a close assessment of various symptoms. It is a dubious and often tedious task where every detail matters and can potentially break the diagnosis in a different direction (for an illustration, watch a random episode of House M.D.)

What Augmented reality can add to the table? Lots of stuff. AR can play a significant role in more efficient detecting, preventing, and treating many diseases. Starting from visualizing information coming from sensors into one cohesive interface to showing potential causes of a patient’s state via analysis.

With AR – a doctor can look through the layers of the patient – check veins, organs, lesions, and other things without actually penetrating. All this can increase the precision of diagnosis. And that is always a good thing.

Microsoft’s HoloLens is one of the premier examples of this. With its help, doctors can do all sorts of checks and simulations with live stats and extract more valuable data for further research.

VR Surgery Run-Throughs

Surgeries require intricacy and attention to detail to be effective. Surgery done right is something like a military operation. It goes in bouts of intense planning and consideration of various options results in a systematic realization of the plan step by step over short periods. Seems like a perfect place for Virtual & Augmented reality solutions.

AR & VR Surgery can provide models for planning an operation and playing out various scenarios to optimize the sequence and prepare a course of action for any circumstances. While there are doubts that the VR environment will be able to play out every detail of the proposed scenario any time soon, the prospect of the technology improving the process of preparation is exciting.

AR Surgery Assistance

Surgery is one of the most exciting areas where Augmented reality can be implemented. There can be several ways it can be done.

Let’s count them down:

  1. As a visual shorthand for operating procedures required in different scenarios (for example, with the assistance of Hologram monitors);
  2. As a reference board with various information emerging at request – such as patient care, patient’s vital stats, critical information on a disease and its treatment, etc.
  3. As remote assistance in complicated cases that require increased caution over possible consequences;  

With the help of VR, surgeons can work out the surgery beforehand and experience possible outcomes without actually having to deal with them in reality. Such “rehearsals” can help to make the whole operation more precise and controlled.

Virtual Reality can also solve the issue of availability in extreme scenarios. VR environment can be wired to the remote-controlled robot which will handle actual operation while the surgeon performed the routine elsewhere. While this approach is unlikely to replace surgeons completely, it can come in handy in some situations.

Medical Education/Training Simulation

One of the biggest global challenges of the health care system is an infinite lack of trained professionals. There is always too much disease going on, and there is nearly not enough time to prepare medical personnel to answer the call. However, the implementation of VR & AR solutions can seriously simplify the whole process of medical education and subsequent training.

For starters, VR Healthcare Training is a good way of studying human anatomy layer by layer and the mechanics of the human body. On the other hand, AR & VR provide interactivity which provides much more profound insight into nuances of the body functions.

Cutting edge technology is especially critical when it comes to the training stage as it is near-impossible to imitate near-real life conditions to prepare professionals, which is less of an issue with the implementation of VR.

With a little help of a headset and a wide array of various sensors – it is possible to recreate a scenario that will put to the test trainee’s skills in a much more engaging manner. A possibility to experience a surgery not as a passive spectator but in a simulated scenario is a valuable test of ability.

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Doctor Consultation

Doctor consultation is one of the integral elements of the healthcare system. It is what makes it the backbone and serves as early warning protection from potential threats.

However, doctor consultations are not always available in specific remote locations. Implementation of VR services for that is a logical solution to this problem. With its help, doctors will be able to provide consistent eye-to-eye contact and also deliver essential services like pulse examination and emotion reading (vital for psychological therapy consultations). and

For example, such a thing is practiced on American Antarctic Research Stations. On the other hand, such practice is tried out in India.

Emergency Navigation

Healthcare apps can also benefit from navigation and geolocation features as well. First and foremost, routing can be used in finding the closest hospital and guiding to it. While its practicality is still limited, it is an option that can potentially save someone’s life, and that is always important.

On the other hand, routing can be used by patients to navigate in large hospital structures to find where their doctors are situated or how to get to a place where their procedure will take place. It might seem unnecessary when you’re healthy, but when you’re sick and need the path of least resistance, an app like this might be a lifesaver (especially when you’re at a large hospital.)

* * *

We developed our own AR Navigation app – AR Places Map. It is designed specifically to simplify movement in the city and navigate in the different leisure opportunities. You can read about it here.

Features include:

  • Locations of interest (restaurants, cafes, and other points of interest) on the map and in Augmented Reality mode
  • Information about restaurants, art galleries, parks, and more
  • Navigation and direction to the points of interest

Download AR Places Map on Apple App Store

* * *

Future of Virtual Reality in Healthcare: Win-Win

One of the key aspects of a health care philosophy – the one stated in a Hippocratic Oath is “Do No Harm.” It is imperative to come up not only with practical solutions to the problem but also to keep them within reasonable boundaries that will prevent any possible direct or side effect harm.

Here’s an example: it is one thing to make an augmented reality application that will deal with some problem (for example, navigation routing) with the approximated result with a possibility for minor measurement errors. There is no irreversible aftermath if it fails (aside from minor annoyance). However, in the case of AR solutions for something like surgery – minor measurement errors might cost a life which is not something you can fix.

The stakes are much higher, and consequences matter more in health care and medical science. There is no room for excuses like making a simplified version of a human body with some details omitted for performance reasons instead of a precise recreation. It will be just useless this way. A tool must be as exact as possible, and this is a considerable and ultimately productive challenge for the developers of AR / VR applications.

It is something that can transform the very mindset with which the development of AR/VR in the healthcare industry is approached to a more responsible and responsive. In the case of Virtual Reality applications, it is also worth noting that every VR solution for health care also contributes to the research of the long-term effects of using Virtual Reality (therefore, win-win for all.)

Let’s hope that shortly we all will be dazzled by the technological breakthroughs made possible by the development of AR / VR in healthcare.

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Related readings:

Calmerry Telemedicine Platform Case Study 

The 8 Challenges of Virtual Reality App Development

It’s weird that Virtual Reality (VR) is still in the status of “barely there” “up and coming” technology. It’s been a part of the cultural conversation for decades and over the years there were many various daring conceptualizations of an idea — from mere extensions of everyday life to outlandish otherworldly experiences. What’re the virtual reality problems that stand in the industry’s way of skyrocketing?

Until recently it was all on paper or in early prototype stages — far away from the majority of consumers. Now things have changed, somewhat, but it is still hard to say whether it will actually stick in any lucrative manner. In other words — it is a rather perplexing moment for an industry. This is extremely problematic for anyone who is trying to do something substantial with it.

The good sign is that Augmented Reality has become a thing and there is more than one viable solution for applying AR for business. However, it doesn’t mean it makes the VR business easier to pull off.

Here’s a little bit breakdown of major challenges in developing high-quality virtual reality applications.

Read also: Challenges with AR App Development


The Price Tag

One of the major roadblocks regarding building a business in the Virtual Reality segment is the price tag of the whole affair. Development can cost you anywhere from $8,000 (for a very simple game) to $100,000 and that’s not the limit. A basic virtual or augmented reality e-commerce shop development would be around $15-25K, depending on the requirements you have.

The other part of the issue is headsets. Despite the fact that Google started selling cheap cardboard Virtual Reality headsets for $15, most consumers consider the gear very costly because they look at the Oculus Rift (that would cost around $599) or HTC Vive (quite expensive at $799).

Talking about the consumers, you need to analyze your target audience and ask yourself a question: would they invest their money into something the majority aren’t used to?

For example, if you are developing a custom VR e-commerce mobile app, would the people who use your app actually buy anything there? If your answer is yes, then great!

All in all, this is one of the things every new technology has to face. There are four major reasons for that:

  • Lack of competition on the market;
  • Investors concerns about the industry’s prospects;
  • Lack of widespread consumer acceptance (around 23% of consumers and businesses aren’t eager to accept the new tech);
  • Lack of excessive demand on the consumer’s side.


However, there is an upside. Despite the lack of commercial gain, developers of VR-content have time to get a better grasp on technique in order to deliver the goods when the demand will start to grow.

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Content is King – Where is Content?

Is there any future for the technology that can’t offer anything substantial? Despite seemingly limitless aspirations and boundless ambitions — there is still not much to bring on the table in terms of quality VR content (we’re not talking about games here, those guys have been using VR/AR for years now).

Engaging, truly innovating content is the biggest challenge the VR industry is now facing. There is already a killer feature — virtual reality, interaction with anything you can imagine.

Now it is time for a killer app that will do it justice. At the moment there is not much compelling content that uses VR to its full potential. It is still at the point of figuring out the ways it can be done.

The gaming industry is still the most lucrative market for VR at the moment but there is untapped potential in other fields — most notably in art, science, education, military, and eCommerce.

The most distinct vision for VR is in retail. There are already numerous AR applications for eCommerce (think Sephora or IKEA) and it seems like VR will be a natural evolution.

It can be a literal marketplace with full-on service and demonstration. On the other hand – it can turn into a carnival of offers.

VR in education opens up a whole new chapter, for example, teaching science. With its help, one can depict chemical reactions, physical processes — break them down into elements to explain visually in more excruciating detail. On the other hand — it also may greatly help to model experiments.

Things get even more ambitious upon going into art territory.

  • Let’s take the simple act of reading a book. Imagine reading a book in VR-gear. What can it be? It can be a glorified children’s book with pictures come to life, jumping out at or sucking you inside to participate or something else entirely — like a literal journey through words with comments, variations, and permutations.
  • Or imagine a museum or art gallery where you can walk around through historical reconstruction or even take part in them or simply look at the digital copies of art pieces.
  • We can it a step further and construct wholly original spaces free of physical limits and common sense. Something like a bigger, better version of Second Life. Or experiences akin to the space-time travel sequence from “2001: A Space Odyssey”.
  • There is also another thing – much-despised advertisements – imagine getting into a torrent of all sorts of ads – surreal collage pop-art experience.

We can go on like this all day long – there are literally endless possibilities.

Public Acceptance (Besides Games)

Despite being well-known and rather popular in tech circles — VR is not widely accepted as a legitimate thing by the public. It is seen more as a toy.

Part of the reason for that is that it is out of reach for the target audience. Most people simply don’t understand what VR is capable of. Some people can’t even tell the difference between Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).

Marketing can handle awareness, but true adoption can come only after consumers will be able to get a taste of it and form a habit. One of the ways of handling it is to let the public experience the thing on their own. It can be done in public places, expos, conferences.

In order to find a solution, we must look at how the situation was handled for touchscreen technology. It was a gradual exploration of the subject in baby steps — in a manner of “hey! Discover this? Great, huh?”.

READ ALSO: How to create a social media app

Lack of Tried-and-True Business Strategies

Let’s address elephant in the room — at this point, there are no viable cost-effective development plans for any VR-oriented company. There are two reasons for that:

  • the industry is too young (besides gaming);
  • the market segment is too small (but growing steadily).

VR suffers from the lack of vision thing that would tie it all together. There are simply not many examples of any business strategies not to mention a successful one.

While there are some really effective ways of applying AR for business — most of them are barely usable in VR. The technologies might be similar, but the approaches are vastly different.

The challenging part is that in order to come up with a successful strategy you need to do a rather uncomfortable “try — fail — try again — fail better” routine. This may be an option for a corporation but usually not something that a low-key development company can afford.

Lack of Viable Monetization Models

Next in line of the money-related challenges is rather a severe thing. One of the key factors in healthy growth and competition in the industry is a wide variety of ways to make money out of technology. If one can’t generate revenue out of his venture — then it is unlikely to go anywhere. That is the case in the current state of the VR industry.

However, that is more of a question of time than a real problem. VR technology is slowly but surely moving towards the mainstream. And judging from the growing amount of content — at this point, it is more of a marketing challenge than anything else. There is a need to explain the technology and its capabilities, overcome bad press, and trend fatigue.

What About Security?

We live in a strange moment of time. While users are at an all-time high of digital immersion, they are also at an all-time high in terms of exposure to incoming dangers. Cybersecurity and data privacy is a sensitive issue in every industry. Because of its novice state — it is especially critical for the VR industry to come up with an effective solution.

Stakes are high — a couple of high-profile hacks or cyber-attacks can derail the entire industry and throw it back a decade or so in terms of audience acceptance and investors’ trust.

And that is where the challenge comes. While there is a set of precautions regarding known dangers — there is also a vast realm of the unknown regarding security issues in VR. Even more so — to quote Mr. Rumsfeld there are too many unknown unknowns.

Will Virtual Reality Affect Our Health?

There are challenges and then there are industry-crushing challenges. The question of how VR-gear affects health is one of the most critical to the development of the entire industry. If there is even the slightest bit of danger — the industry will be slammed into oblivion by public opinion and then most likely by legislation.

To make matters worse — research on the subject is still too scarce, inconclusive and because of that rather insufficient.

VR’s long-term health effects are barely known. And what is known is not certain to be claimed as a fact. This problem is twofold. One is physical. The other is mental.

Regarding physical effects — there are some definite facts about temporary side effects. If you take Oculus Rift’s health and safety document — you will find a list of potential after-effects.

Basically: if you use a VR-gear for too much — you may experience a headache, queasiness, and blurred vision. But that is something that can be also said about reading a book.

It is far more complicated with the effect on mental state. There is evidence that there might be a transformation of behavior due to prolonged exposure to ultra-realistic virtual reality environments. Such bleedthrough may have a certain effect on everyday behavior and can seriously affect social interaction and even perception of reality.

The Batteries Have Their Limits…

The most obvious challenge for VR applications is a power-based limitation. While that might be not much of a problem for desktop-based gear — it is definitely something to reckon with in the mobile realm. Batteries simply can’t sustain prolonged immersive experience the way desktop-based gear can.

Batteries have their limitations and you need to remember that VR/AR (or any graphics-intense) apps have high energy consumption. That means these limitations must be taken into consideration during the design phase of developing an application.

The problem is multi-faceted and it directly affects the perception of the entire industry. The basic purpose of any content is to deliver some kind of experience. If the gear can’t handle it in full — it limits the experience and muddies the impression. That is bad for business.

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So, what’s the future of VR?

In many ways — VR is the new undiscovered country. There are still no rules, no code of conduct, and barely any strings attached. As Brion Gysin said, “Nothing is true, everything is permitted”.

The current position of VR is very much reminiscent of the Schrödinger Cat paradox — it is there but it is not there but it is definitely there but definitely not very much at all and so on and so forth.

The situation can be best described by a couple of lines from Leonard Cohen’s “Democracy” — “It’s coming’ from a feeling that is ain’t exactly real or it’s real but it’s ain’t exactly there”. Or if cutting the crap — just good old “it’s complicated”.

But simply thinking about all the possibilities is breathtaking.

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