The future is bright for immersive technology, with the development of virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR), adding an estimated £62.5 billion to the UK economy by 2030, according to new report from PwC.

This growth would boost the UK’s GDP by 2.4% – a significant contribution that will also impact the UK workplace with 400,000 people utilising the technologies within the next ten years.

Significant contributions

It’s estimated that AR will provide the most noticeable benefits to global GDP throughout the next decade, accounting for £985bn of the £1.4 trillion total.

With Brexit uncertainty continuing, organisations across the UK face a race against the clock to increase their use of technology and streamline processes to compensate for potential disruption.

VR and AR are offering new ways to improve efficiency, productivity and engagement of employees, accounting for a £248bn boost to global GDP, while the use of the technologies in development and training will offer an additional £265.2bn.

Meanwhile, the retail and consumer sectors are expected to provide another £183.9bn boost by 2030, as the technologies allow retailers to better understand buyer behaviour, with eye-tracking solutions helping improve the design of real-world shopping environments.

Productivity and training benefits

From our experience, the potential productivity and training benefits that can be delivered with immersive technologies have been well-documented by our clients.

With health and safety an ongoing priority across a range of sectors, we have created immersive virtual worlds that give employers the opportunity to train their wider team in a safe, risk-free environment.

For training purposes, the use of Multi Person Mixed Reality Immersions allows the trainee and trainer to share the same training scene and equipment, despite being in two separate locations.

During a period of uncertainty, this can help deliver significant cost savings to businesses, removing the need for employees to travel to dedicated training facilities, with all the associated costs that brings.

Accurate training environments

Meanwhile, participants can be trained in dealing with risky situations without being exposed to the risks, as visual, physical and auditory methods are blended to create virtual representations of dangerous environments.

One of the biggest challenges with recreating health and safety scenarios is designing the environment perfectly for each participant, as it can be difficult to achieve consistency throughout each trial. This technology gives organisations the power to recreate identical scenarios for each participant.

Instead of following a ‘one size fits all’ approach with regards to the creation of environments, the technology facilitates the creation of bespoke immersive worlds that are specific to that organisation, their working methods and even the layout of their facility.

Capitalising on new opportunities

With a strong future predicted for VR/AR technologies, it’s crucial that businesses explore the opportunities presented and begin implementing productivity-enhancing solutions.

The question now becomes less about the cost of implementation and more about the cost and reputational damage of not taking advantage of modern solutions delivered with immersive technology.

Over the last two decades, there have been significant technological advancements that have dramatically improved processes, while opening the door for new and improved customer experiences.

Immersive technology is not the future; it is the here and now. You need to grasp the opportunities presented before your competitors steal a march in the virtual world and achieve a competitive advantage in the real world.