photo-1478358161113-b0e11994a36bThe IT industry is a powerhouse in India. The sector is the country’s fifth largest and represents 8% of the total GDP alone. In 2017 this sector of the market generated $155 Billion for the people of India. Within this industry, Virtual Reality (VR) is growing at a respectable rate. The latest predictions are that this sub-sector will grow by 55.3% within the next three years. Whilst this growth is respectable, it pales compared to the predicted 90.7% increase globally. What can the country do to catch up and what does the future hold for VR here?

A growing market with huge scope

The VR headset market is growing very well with consumers in India but it is being held back by slow adoption in big corporations. Globally the Augmented Reality (AR) and VR industries are penetrating deeply into conventional industries such as manufacturing, automotive and electronics but this isn’t happening here yet. The potential applications for this hugely disruptive technology are almost limitless.

Advances in mapping technology (both at a ground level and via satellite) allow military forces across the globe to use VR in powerful ways. AR and VR training simulations can allow special forces to view their battlegrounds ahead of their infiltration. Generals can stand within the theatre of battle and command troops from thousands of miles away. Drone pilots can have a 360-degree view from their virtual bodies flying high above targets. In engineering, top companies can use AR and VR in ways only ever imagined by science fiction before. Designers can expand images and literally look inside their creations in three dimensions. There isn’t a part of society or industry that couldn’t be enhanced by either VR or AR.

The untapped potential of education

Education is hugely important and helps to produce the future citizens who will drive the Indian economy. The market around the education system is also massive and in the case of VR and AR, it still remains virtually untapped. Virtual reality was once limited to expensive headsets and specialist computing systems, now all that is needed to experience the more powerful AR is a mobile phone, laptop or tablet.

Whilst bibliophiles have always referred to books as gateways to other worlds AR can make this “virtually” true. Using Augmented Reality Markers (combined with software on a viewing device), simple photographs can explode from the page in three dimensions and come to life. Geography lessons can visit the place being discussed, science lessons can see reactions at a molecular level, and historical figures can tell you about their lives. Far from being an expensive pipedream AR and VR can replace a slew of other equipment and open young minds to limitless possibilities.

Tour the world without leaving your living room

It is already possible to take a virtual reality tour of some of the greatest wonders that India has to offer. With the cost of international travel increasing and global warming making most people less willing to fly too often, these tours may represent the future of that industry. It is already possible to use Google Street view to partially tour some cities but soon it will be possible to visit cities around the world in seconds, virtually. If you are lucky enough to be able to actually go there advances in AR and GPS technology will see us wearing headsets whilst on the go. The software will highlight points of interest for us and allow us to explore the history of culturally iconic places.

There is good news

TCL and Doel both announced their new virtual reality technologies alongside their new phone launches in India last year. Whilst conventional companies may be slow to react, technology companies are keen to innovate and educate on the potential within this sector. Doel is especially keen to point out that their new innovations should see changes to everything from real estate to defense. Predictions are not reality, not even virtually so. Whilst the country may still be catching up with regards to AR and VR at the moment, this just means that there is a gap in the market for local experts to explore and conquer.