Virtual Reality – not a trend but a safe way to improve Global CSR and sustainability
The story about augmented and virtual realities started as fun and entertainment. Almost all of us, at least once, tried to catch some Pokémon. However, the story of AR/VR goes far beyond fun and gaming… Recently, we had an opportunity to meet in Belgrade Mr. Frederic Bavastro, a visionary and entrepreneur, who conducted a research on how AR/VR affect and contribute to development of global CSR and sustainability.
A growing number of enterprises, even those outside of gaming and other consumer entertainment subsectors, are testing and adopting AR and VR technologies. Last year, the time finally arrived for enterprises to begin experimenting with these technologies. Many companies have since begun to discover, test and deploy these technologies, and many CEOs and strategists have expressed a strong interest in AR/VR. What is AR/VR according to you – hype or serious business?
— I would like to start with interesting statistical data that will give you a straightforward answer – 8 out of 10 top tech companies have already invested billions in AR and VR research and development. These companies include Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Samsung, Sony, IBM and many others. Industries have been incorporating AR and VR into their regular products and services to enhance customer experience, simulated learning, and other forms of demonstration. However, the use and extent of industry-ready applications vary across industries and/or sectors. AR or VR is already applied in education, healthcare, aerospace, automobile industry, real estate, tourism, gaming, sports, media, entertainment, etc. Moreover, these technologies are endlessly emerging in various fields and industries. For example, VR has been in use in healthcare for years. Recently, a doctor in Miami used VR platform to plan for a surgery on a baby who was born with half a heart and only one lung. It helped him see the 3D images of the baby’s heart. Let me give you some other examples. Companies such as furniture retailer Ikea are testing AR solutions so customers can determine whether a desired piece of furniture will fit in their own living room, thus alleviating the need to manually measure the dimensions of the sofa and showcasing the ‘look and feel’ of the new interior design. Logistics company DHL is also testing AR glasses in its warehouses in a bid to reduce errors and increase productivity. Coca-Cola is also using AR in its production sites in the USA for onboarding education of new employees. Both, AR and VR have a definite future in the enterprise, but AR is currently widespread as technologies are continuously developing.
This looks very promising, but it is only one side of the story. What is the data on users and revenues worldwide?
— Let me refer to the Pokémon phenomena you mentioned at the beginning of our conversation. It all started as a light game and fun, but the explosion of Pokémon Go is a game changer for AR, with 100 million downloads to date, 20 million daily active users and an average of 26 minutes gameplay per day. AR is now in the hands of the masses. If we take into account the fact that global population now counts approximately 7.6 bln people out of which more than half are Internet users, 2/5 are on social media and 3/5 are mobile users – we came to an enormous target group for AR/VR. And the population is growing. The predictions are that global population would grow until 2020 by more than 3% while, at the same time, AR/VR revenues would reach up to 150bln $ with significant percentage of VR applications in use!
You conducted an interesting research recently. Could you please elaborate?
— Yes, it was an amazing and interesting research inspired by challenges for further development of global sustainable development, CSR and charity. In an environment that combines two worlds – the real one, still based on old school
If you want to visit Serbia, did you consider learning about it through VR before you travel, and then shift up your experience through AR platforms when you actually arrive there? You have endless possibilities on how to discover the whole world; either by travel or from the comfort of your chair.