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For over two decades, Virtual Reality (VR) has lingered on the fringes of technology and consumer experience, often seen as a futuristic concept rather than an accessible tool. Initially, its adoption faced numerous barriers, including high costs, limited content, and bulky hardware. However, recent years have marked a significant shift in this landscape. The once-prohibitive barriers have dramatically decreased, releases like the Meta Quest 3 and Meta Quest Pro, alongside the debut of Apple’s flagship VR device show off more versatile, powerful, and lighter devices at better price points.

Organizations like NASA, the military, banks, retail giants like Walmart, hospitals, and automobile companies, have already inducted VR into their operations for simulations and training. 

This increased rate of adoption has influenced the global Virtual Reality (VR) market, projections indicate an expansion from under $12 billion in 2022 to over $22 billion by 2025. In this article, we explore how VR will affect businesses and their consumer experiences, and how you as a startup founder can make the most of the opportunities that come with it.

Unleashing the Immersive Potential of VR: 3 Futuristic VR Trends That Are Already Here

VR integration into daily life and business operations continues to reshape industries in ways that were once imagined only in science fiction. Here are 3 of the latest VR business trends that promise to level up the meaning of immersive experiences in 2024:

  1. Social VR

The evolution of Virtual Reality (VR) is – ironically- increasingly emphasizing social interaction, and social VR platforms are at the forefront of this solution, offering shared environments where users can interact in real time. These platforms allow you to host a variety of group activities, including parties, concerts, multiplayer gaming, and even meetings. Platforms like Microsoft Mesh offer advanced 3D environments that simulate in-person workshops, meetings, and conferences.

Source: Microsoft Mesh

User’s virtual embodiments can participate with true eye contact and spatialized sound for natural communication cues. Team members can even jointly view and alter 3D models, brainstorm on virtual whiteboards, and deliver presentations & pitches as their customized avatars.

2. Multi-Sensory VR

While headset-mounted screens and speakers offer visual and auditory immersion, the development of haptic gloves is a game-changer for tactile interaction in VR. These gloves can simulate sensations of weight and pressure, creating a convincing experience of handling real objects. Haptx is one of many companies manufacturing gloves for the enterprise metaverse.


Additionally, innovations are also being made in olfactory technology, where devices could emit scented vapours to propel realism in virtual environments. Full-body suits have been added to the mix as well, with companies like TeslaSuit already shipping out physical suits that provide haptic feedback and capture motion and biometrics.

3. Immersive Shopping

Virtual stores and virtual product trials will continue to make their way to retail as we move into 2024. We can expect more sophisticated mixed-reality retail experiences, integrating the convenience of online shopping with the tangible feel of in-store experiences. Lowe’s Home Improvement allowed its customers to virtually design their dream spaces using a Marxent-powered app and an Oculus Rift headset.

Source: Forbes

Companies like Obsess are already busy creating virtual stores with immersive e-commerce experiences for brands, using 3D technology. Corona, Coach, Fendi, Charlotte Tilbury, Crocs, Dyson, and more have already successfully launched virtual stores.

Beyond Entertainment: VR for Education and Training

VR has largely been connected to gaming and entertainment up till now, but based on the 2024 trends, it is clear that VR has greatly proved its mettle in applications across training and education as well. A 2022 survey by PWC revealed that VR training enhances learning efficiency and confidence among trainees. Specifically, individuals training through VR absorbed knowledge 4 times faster than traditional classroom learners and showed a 275% increase in confidence in applying their learned skills in real-world scenarios.

VR technology is also breaking down traditional barriers in learning by transporting classrooms to different eras or planets, thereby making subjects like history, geography, and science more engaging and comprehensible.

There’s an anticipated growth in platforms that will enable smaller organizations to adopt this trend. Here are some real-world, extremely impressive examples of how VR has been embraced for education and training purposes:


Building Trust and Authentic Connections Using VR

As technology continues its journey towards ‘virtual,’ the importance of building trust and authentic connections with customers has become even more urgent for businesses. VR can in fact be leveraged to foster communication, collaboration, and empathy in various settings. Here are some examples of how businesses can make the most of VR to establish better relationships with their stakeholders:

Emerging Startup Opportunities in VR

Industries across the board, such as automobile, education, medicine, military, and more, are in need of VR solutions. The applications of VR are as far as the mind can imagine, making the opportunities that much more vast. From hardware to software, content, to user experience design, the scope for innovation is immense.

Want to Start a VR Business in Canada?

TBDC is the bridge you’re looking for! We are Canada’s premier startup incubator. Successful companies like Ibentos and Ayottaz have graduated from our programs and scaled through North America and the world. Are you ready to do the same and make your mark? To learn more, click here

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