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Immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) experiences are finally becoming an integral part of our lives, with many Irish companies producing innovative solutions in several industries. These industries include education & training, manufacturing & industrial, and the original use case of AR/VR, gaming & entertainment.
Education and Training
The use of immersive technology for education and training is anticipated to be one of the largest areas of growth, with predictions stating that it has the potential to boost global GDP by $294 billion by 2030. Fortune 500 companies including UPS and Walmart have introduced immersive technologies for employee training and development with Walmart reporting an increase in user retention across their academies of between by 10-15%.
Irish technology companies have been responding to this trend, creating innovative and authentic training experiences to be consumed in an immersive environment. Irish VR production studio VRAI creates powerful VR training experiences with a focus on hazardous material training. Their platform Hazardous Environment Awareness Training (HEAT) uses both VR and artificial intelligence (AI) to make training more authentic and measurable, while reducing risk to the employee. HEAT allows employers to track and measure progress over time by using AI to generate reports and insights to track training effectiveness and identify predictive indicators of future performance
Branching out from their traditional broadcast and media focus, Digisoft is using digital twin technology to create training environments for life sciences labs. Their product CyberTwin creates a digital replicate of labs and facilities to ensure an efficient and safe working environment by eliminating unnecessary visitors. This allows for new recruits to be kept away from the production area until they are ready to enter, while also ensuring a deeper level of learning through interactive engagement.
Improving accuracy and efficiency
Immersive technologies are also being used across the manufacturing, energy and utilities sectors to improve efficiency and accuracy of workflows. For example, Boeing uses AR glasses to guide technicians as they wire aircraft, reducing production times by 25% and error rates to almost zero.
Irish company Utility AR creates AR solutions for sectors including manufacturing, pharmaceutical and utilities that allow the user to interact with the real world while accessing existing databases and software systems. Their Remote Advisor platform allows a more experienced technician use the forward-facing camera on a pair of AR smart glasses to see what the local technician is seeing. They can then provide feedback via audio or using onscreen markups. These technologies can prevent delays in getting crucial work completed while also helping to reduce the experience gap.
Immersive Gaming and Entertainment
AR/VR technologies originally had the most impact in the gaming industry, and this market still accounts for approximately 50% of total VR software sales. A well-known success in this space is Pokemon Go, an AR mobile app that garnered more than 500 million downloads and $470 million in revenue in its first 80 days.
Founded by Nikki Lannen in 2013, Irish game development studio War Ducks has released several best-selling VR games including Sneaky Bears and Rollercoaster Legends. The studio is now in the process of developing one of the industry’s most anticipated AR game for mobile, which will be released later this year.
In addition, holograms, 3D images created by photographic projections, have been steadily gaining momentum in the space. Volograms, a spin-out from Trinity College Dublin, has taken this technology to the next level. Their platform enables the capture of real people into volumetric holograms, volograms, which can be enjoyed within all kinds of AR & VR experiences, apps and social media.
Finally, not all immersive experiences need to be enjoyed in a headset or a through a screen, with immersive in-person events increasing in popularity as society demands more interactive experiences and brands work to create more engaging live content. Creative production studio Algorithm specialises in creating powerful immersive experiences using a variety of creative technologies including 3D mapping projections, LED arrays and holograms. Their focus on live experiences ensures the audience member watches the real world interact with the digital as part of artistic performances, festivals and events.
Immersive technologies are on their way to becoming significant parts of both our personal and professional lives. At Enterprise Ireland, we are committed to working closely with Irish companies that are becoming major global players in this exciting sector.