Virtual Reality: Hype or the Future?

Virtual Reality (VR) technology has been around for at least a decade and you could say it’s clearly gone from sci-fi to sci-fact. However, it’s still seen as a new technology and has not hit mass adoption; so what has gone wrong?

Experts believed that virtual and augmented reality in 2016 would deliver $4.4billion in revenue, however, it actually only achieved $1.8billion and a 6% adoption rate in the US. In comparison, the smartphone only took 10 years for at least 40% adoption in the US.

It’s not all doom and gloom, as many venture capital and technology companies are investing large sums into this industry and in 2016 we saw $2.3billion invested.

At Ipsos, we’re exploring this technology to identify how we can make research better, faster, cost effective or even more engaging for participants and clients. The aim is to get closer to consumers’ real behaviour and emotion, as well as a new level of insight.

It’s only the beginning of our journey, but we know from initial studies that ground-breaking opportunities are on the horizon. From understanding audience usage and engagement with the BBC, Healthcare (VR surgeries), ethnographic immersions, airport journeys, testing automotive prototypes to leading FMCG brands integrating behaviour science principles to validate sub-conscious consumer behaviours.

Key takeouts

  • We’re only at the beginning of this journey and as the technology develops there should be further cost savings as the software/computer generated imagery (CGI) will become more cost efficient and better.
  • It’s providing the foundation for other technology developments such as Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and even 3D modelling.
  • Opportunities already exist within the research industry from shopper immersions to testing VR content for broadcasting.
  • Multi-sensory testing is going to be an integral part of VR and AR and the researcher’s goal of getting closer to the ultimate consumer understanding.