Virtual reality, a sustainable, growing, competitive technology

Unai Extremo, CEO and founder of Virtualware, reflects on the possibilities that virtual reality offers to the business sector.

In five years it will be hard to find a sustainable, growing, competitive organization that does not use virtual reality (VR) in any of its processes. For decades, VR has been part of the collective imagination. We have read books, watched movies and listened to futurologists talk about this technology, as well as create expectations that, in the majority of cases, have not been fulfilled.

In 1984, Jaron Lanier co-founded the company VPL Research and, for the first time, presented several devices to the world that allowed people to be immersed with a computer-generated alternate reality and interact with this environment.

During the 80s and 90s, the principles that we now know as virtual reality were created. But it was not the right moment. The technology that existed at the time did not allow, in terms of quality and cost, for VR to arrive and expand in the terms that it has done in recent years.

However, 2015 changed everything. The state of technology, driven by systems such as mobile devices and graphic computing, led large technology companies to pick up VR where visionaries left off.

The technology industry, propelled by Facebook’s purchase of a small company called Oculus for a whopping $2B, understood that virtual reality would play a decisive role in the organizations of the future and society, and began the race to develop this innovative technology.

This past decade has been marked not only by the appearance of high-quality, affordable VR technology devices and systems but also by the creation of such technology by software companies and integrators.

In recent years, we have witnessed the inception of a multitude of experiences in industrial companies, healthcare organizations and educational institutions, which have highlighted the vast potential of VR technology and, above all, the added value that it brings to different processes.

2020, marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, has only reinforced the latent potential of virtual reality and, in many cases, has turned an opportunity into a necessity. This year, we are seeing how what initially began as an opportunity for some organizations to become more competitive, has now become a necessity to thrive and compete in the market.

This change, brought about by the circumstantial element that was introduced into our society through the COVID-19 pandemic, is causing profound transformations that have come to stay.

We are beginning a new decade, and I am sure it will be a decade of change for the future of virtual reality. It is time to “take the next leap” (a concept that I heard Guy Kawasaki say in one of his lectures). This next decade will be marked by the acceleration in the adoption of this technology by both organizations and institutions.

This acceleration will occur thanks to the creation of products and services by the technology sector that will facilitate the emergence of VR in an industry that will increasingly need to introduce it into its processes to remain competitive, sustainable and relevant in today’s market.

I would even venture to say that it will be difficult to find a competitive and sustainable organization in five years that is not using virtual reality in any of its processes.

Virtualware will continue working as we have been doing for more than sixteen years to fulfil this objective. We firmly believe that promoting virtual reality technology and expanding its use will lead organizations to become more sustainable and encourage society to move towards a better world.

Unai Extremo, CEO and Founder of Virtualware