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What’s Next for Virtual Reality?
January 30, 2020 Blog


Although virtual reality (VR) has been around since the 1960s, the technology went through a hibernation period for quite a while until it garnered substantial public attention when social media giant Facebook acquired Oculus VR back in 2014 for a whopping USD$2 billion.

At the time, though, the technology was not yet ready for the mainstream market. Now, as we start the year 2020, VR technology has become a major proposition for businesses in a wide range of industries, with a growing number of potential use cases, especially as a simulation or (close to) hands-on training and education tool.

How big will the technology become? At the moment, it’s still in its relative infancy and has not become mainstream (yet). But even so, one research firm stated that the VR market was valued at USD$11.52 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD$87.97 billion by 2025.

What’s interesting is that the APAC region is expected to become a major VR adopter due to the presence of large and several emerging economies, which will then encourage industry players to invest heavily in the region.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the advancements we could be seeing in VR technology that will drive it even closer towards mainstream adoption, both in the commercial and enterprise spaces.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI has pervaded almost every existing technology, affecting nearly every industry. VR is no different. Other than using AI to enhance the “intelligence” of virtual characters and dramatically improve the delivery of more immersive virtual environments, tech companies are also increasingly leveraging AI to reduce the occurrence of motion sickness among VR users.


Cloud is a technology that has reached maturity and its use cases have only continued to grow over time as people find new ways to benefit from it. For VR, cloud can provide scalability and flexibility, especially as VR-generated data increases in volume. With cloud, VR providers will be able to have better agility to deploy innovations at a hyper-scale capacity, while providing to users with cloud-native VR applications that can deliver much better, always up-to-date experiences with low-latency and without requiring a high-end, complex (or bulky) hardware.


5G is another technology that is set to take off in a few years, and for good reason. VR involves the transfer of large amounts of data and it has to be highly responsive to the actions of the user within the virtual environment. As we have mentioned above, cloud may promise to be the next stage in VR’s evolution, but it seems like it can only get there with the type of ultra high-bandwidth and low-latency wireless connection that 5G can potentially offer.

Untethered VR

During the early years, VR headsets were mainly tethered to a piece of equipment such as a PC or smartphone to function. But untethered VR headsets, ones that are equipped with their own built-in processors, GPUs, sensors, batteries, memory chips and displays are now becoming more common. Again, the combination of cloud and 5G technologies will accelerate the evolution of these standalone VR headsets to provide better performance and mobility.

Biometric Integration

Biometric technology is also finding its way into VR, with more applications and hardware being developed to ascertain the VR user’s behavioural and physical biometric characteristics and use the data in meaningful ways. For example, a VR startup called Virtuleap has developed biometric algorithms that can produce a detailed “cognitive health report” for users. Meanwhile, companies like Pupil Labs and Tobii are providing eye-tracking hardware add-ons and software to VR headsets to allow for capabilities such as foveated rendering and emotional measurement.

The third example would be Firsthand Technology, which provides innovative VR therapies and patient solutions by dynamically monitoring the user’s biometric state and incorporating the data with VR technology.

While some may argue that VR technology may be on the outs (again), the fact is that it is continuing to evolve and improve. Used in combination with the technologies we have mentioned, we’re certain that VR will prove to become a valuable tool for a slew of industries – not just digital entertainment, but also information and workspace, and even tourism and healthcare. The applications for VR are (pardon the pun) virtually limitless.