In the United States, only 9.6 million people use virtual reality (VR) at least once a month, and by 2019, VR will penetrate 5.2 percent of the population, according to eMarketer. And yet, the VR industry has already become a complex ecosystem. As the VR Fund’s VR Industry Landscape illustrates, the ecosystem encompasses a multitude of companies spanning applications/content, tools/platforms, and infrastructure:
When I recently did a Google search for VR, my top 20 search results revealed diverse uses of VR spanning architecture, entertainment, healthcare, pornography, retail, sports, and travel/hospitality. Why has VR spawned such a complex ecosystem touching many industries when so few consumers actually use it? A few reasons stand out:
- A wide range of corporations are adopting VR. Businesses such as John Deere, KFC, UPS, and Walmart are using VR for training workers. Brands ranging from Alibaba to Audi have launched VR experiences that reimagine retail. Do a Google search of your own, and I suspect you’ll have similar results as I did, uncovering articles such as “Virtual Reality Walkthroughs Are Transforming Architecture” and “Virtual Reality is Reshaping Medical Training and Treatment.”
- Venture capitalists have been generous in their funding of VR start-ups. Meanwhile, content specialists for VR have emerged in fields such as healthcare.