Virtual reality provides a third dimension to the business. Which opportunities for Switzerland?
The gurus, the start-ups, the investors, the geeks and the amateurs: the 2016 edition of the World Virtual Reality Forum (World VR Forum 2016) has brought all together. Between the 6 and the 8 May, all the actors involved in or interested by the virtual reality and augmented reality met at the Congress Center of Crans-Montana, in the Swiss Alps. We attended this unique event and had the opportunity to test with our eyes (and a VR headset) various virtual contents and scenarios. The desire to discover their passions in 3D and to live immersive experiences were the main link between the public of video games, the explorers of exotic countries and the fans of art and cinema.
The expectations of a few months ago are finally proven. As we saw during the “Summits of the Digital” of La Clusaz (France) last February, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are not only on the major online newspapers and specialized magazines, they also animate the debates between entrepreneurs. Today, the concept of digital transformation finds its concrete applications in several economic sectors. Changing consumption habits and the desire to experiment products and services in an innovative way before you put them in the basket seduces “consumer-actors“, wishing to obtain guarantees in the name of the intelligent purchase.
Consequently, the most enterprising economic actors have seen the wind shift and are preparing for action, before it is too late. Hence, Club Med Travel Store in Geneva has put aside the paper catalogs to inform its potential customers directly “on the spot”: two VR headsets equipped with 360° videos bring clients straight to the French Alps, to the Maldives and the Dominican Republic. First in the world, this travel store takes an important step forward in the digital transformation with the integration of the digital and the physical points of sale.
A rehabilitation program for victims of stroke through video games in augmented reality is available at the Hospital of Lausanne since last year. Using the technology developed by the Swiss company MindMaze, patients may reacquire their motor and functional skills. This application of the AR is in addition to the experience of the Spanish start-up Psious, which provides an innovative therapy based on virtual reality to individuals suffering from anxiety attacks. Patients are immersed in specific test situations and their behaviors are analyzed by the psychologist in real time.
Largely untapped, the possibilities offered by the VR and the RA to Swiss companies of several fields are proliferating with the production of content of any kind and thanks to the development of specialized start-ups. According to the estimates of the Goldman Sachs Research published in January, most of the markets of the world economy will be disrupted by 2025. Virtual reality and augmented reality will represent a turnover of 11.6 billions of dollars in the market of video games, $5.1bn in the healthcare sector, $4.7bn in the engineering and $3.2bn in video entertainment. Beyond these expectations, some companies in Switzerland have understood the need for a far-reaching digital innovation.
When will it happen to the others?
Photo credit : Volvo