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Virtual Reality Apps are Gaining Momentum in B2B

Expect to see more announcements about business video applications for new emerging technologies, throughout the remainder of 2017 and beyond. This growth will span across numerous industries.

Virtual Reality (VR) is often viewed through the lens of consumer-driven gaming, but in a recent B2B technology survey of 455 U.S.-based companies across nine vertical markets, ABI Research finds that while only 4 percent of respondents have VR in operation, 85 percent are at least in the stages of early investigation.

In fact, of the thirteen technologies highlighted in the survey, VR fell roughly in the middle of the pack, ahead of other innovative technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and indoor location.

Virtual Reality Market Development

"Despite VR being a new technology, with some setbacks already evident, the survey yielded some surprisingly positive results for VR in enterprise and commercials spaces," said Michael Inouye, principal analyst at ABI Research.

According to the ABI Research assessment, the B2B market will take longer to develop than the consumer space, but its expansion -- at least in the U.S. market -- could occur at a faster rate than had been previously estimated.

The findings show that the verticals with the most VR activity or interest, are healthcare, retail, automotive or transportation, and consumer packaged goods.

Training, testing, and marketing are all early target functions for VR along with vertical specific applications like treatments or therapies for anxiety conditions in medicine or virtual showrooms in retail.

Sam Rosen, managing director at ABI Research, concluded "For any application that benefits from deeply immersive experiences, VR is often a natural fit. We're starting to see some early experimentation where VR will expand its horizons."

Outlook for VR Headset Applications

The combination of a VR headset with a camera pass-through for merged reality experience in particular, will open it up to a much wider range of applications.

ABI still expects the consumer segment of the VR market to hold the largest revenue share over the next five years, but eventually the B2B opportunity will overtake the consumer space -- especially if VR and related technologies do become the next compute platform.

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