The future of Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer-generated environment with scenes and objects that appear to be real, making the user feel they are immersed in their surroundings. This environment is perceived through a device known as a Virtual Reality headset or helmet.
VR allows us to immerse ourselves in video games as if we were one of the characters, learn how to perform heart surgery or improve the quality of sports training to maximise performance.
The concept of real humans interacting and communicating in a virtual scenario was always part of the fiction world with movies and books depicting this through visual effects and graphics.
Now, it has become part of the real world with many companies using the same graphics and visual effects showcasing a virtual avatar of a real person.
In simpler terms, Metaverse is an online/virtual world wherein human avatars connect either by way of playing games, buying and selling things, participating in similar interest events, or just being an audience for an event of their choice.
Many consider the Metaverse an extension of the internet wherein people can now communicate with each other not just through texts or images or videos but also through their virtual avatars.
The main difference between the two is that VR builds the world in which we immerse ourselves through a specific headset. It is fully immersive and everything we see is part of an environment artificially constructed through images, sounds, etc. On the other hand, in augmented reality (AR), our own world becomes the framework within which objects, images or similar are placed. Everything we see is in a real environment and it may not be strictly necessary to wear a headset.
Virtual Reality is one of the technologies with the highest projected potential for growth. According to the latest forecasts from IDC Research (2018), investment in VR and AR will multiply 21-fold over the next four years, reaching 15.5 billion euros by 2022. In addition, both technologies will be key to companies' digital transformation plans and their spending in this area will exceed that of the consumer sector by 2019. It is, therefore expected that by 2020 over half of the larger European companies will have a VR and RA strategy.
Nowadays, the market is demanding applications that go beyond leisure, tourism or marketing and are more affordable for users. Virtual interfaces also need to be improved to avoid defects such as clipping, which makes certain solid objects appear as though they can be passed through. Or to minimise the effects that VR produces in people, among them motion sickness, which consists of a dizziness induced by the mismatch between the movement of our body and what is being seen in the virtual world.
The big technology companies are already working to develop headsets that do not need cables and that allow images to be seen in HD. They are developing Virtual Reality headsets in 8K and with much more powerful processors. There is even talk that in the next few years they could integrate Artificial Intelligence.
The latest 5G standard can also provide very interesting scenarios for the evolution of VR. This standard will allow more devices and large user communities to be connected. In addition, its almost imperceptible latency will make it possible for consumers to receive images in real time, almost as if they were seeing them with their own eyes.