What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality is a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment that enables the user to undergo vicarious real-life experience by simulating as many senses as possible, such as vision, hearing, touch, even smell. That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment and whilst there, is able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions. The virtual world is generated by a laptop or computer or smartphones using both software and hardware technology to make it more real.

If someone puts on a headset with a screen or gloves fitted with sensors, his vision gets blocked and is substituted with the digital world that is designed to control his senses. For example, VR enables users to take virtual tours and explore places as if they were there.

Virtual Reality Market Overview

Virtual reality market is expected to grow from USD 7.9 Billion in 2018 to USD 44.7 Billion by 2024, at expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.47% by 2024, as per the Markets and Market research report.

The nascent Indian AR/VR market is projected to grow at a (CAGR) of 76 percent over the next five years fuelled by demand from business and consumer sectors, as per The Hindu.

Future of Virtual Reality in India

In the future, applications of VR are expected to help different industries like healthcare, training and development programs, military, scientific visualization, and education. It may help these industries to grow rapidly as they incorporate this technology into their business.

VR also provides more options to capture and diversify knowledge for working professionals. Several industry-specific units are looking forward to a better tomorrow enabled by using VR technology.

Impact of VR:

•    In India, there is a huge scope for jobs that involve creativity such as VR Game Developer, 3D Artists, Unity 3D Engineer, VR SME, and Back-end Developer for VR.

•    New Courses are being introduced like 3D animation, modeling, object-oriented programming, and Software Development Kits (SDKs) helps to learn and develop skills in the VR industry.

•    In the retail and manufacturing industry, customers want to experience the product before buying it and this has become possible with VR technology. The sales executives can demonstrate the product easily to the customer or train them in installation easily.

•    The tourism industry can give a 360-degree virtual tour for all the properties to the customers via VR.

Indian Start-ups for Virtual Reality Industry

• Rizort: Rizort creates a platform to provide a panoramic tour and 360-degree view also.

• Kalpnik: Kalpink creates a platform for people to experience remote places and event and this is operated through mobile phones only.

• SmartVizX: SmartVizs Private Limited (“SmartVizX”) aims to transform traditional, passive and static design visualization, communication and collaboration methodologies in the building industry.

• Scapic: Scapic enables users to create an experience without any requirement of code and has features like collaboration, sharing and work on any device.

• Virtual Spaces: Virtual spaces provide VR enabled interior designing services developed on the Oculus platform for commercial and residential properties.

• DreamVu Labs: DreamVu Labs claims to use unique optical hardware technology in their camera to capture the light rays corresponding to both eye views through a coffee filter shaped mirror for more accurate stereo perception effects.

• Grey Kernal: Grey Kernal helps to create gaming VR content for host platforms including IOS, Android, Oculus, HTC Vive, and Windows.

• Meraki Studios: Meraki is the first VR studios that produce content for consumer and enterprise. It creates 360-degree VR films for experiential marketing for news, sports, real estate and many more.

Government and other initiatives for Virtual Reality sector

The Government is actively promoting VR start-ups by providing them incubation, mentoring and idea validation by experts. The Government is also providing opportunities to deploy pilots with various departments and funds to support eligible start-ups. 

Intending to promote Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) technology to drive economic growth, job creation, and skill development in the country, The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has formed a new industry expert committee, under its Emerging Technology Council, focused on AR/VR.

The Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) has joined hands with the United States (US)-based Unity Technologies to launch a Centre of Excellence for augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) and gaming. The partnership is said to give an impetus to develop an augmented reality AR/VR ecosystem in Kerala. The Centre of Excellence will come up in the newly-inaugurated Integrated Startup Complex at Kalamassery. Through this Centre, Unity Technologies will extend support to startups developing products, services, and games on platforms including mobile, Personal Computer (PC), and AR/VR hardware. This Centre of Excellence will also emphasize on providing different levels of training on AR/VR developer tools to students and professionals in the state.

Social media giant Facebook has also initiated two new programs for startups and engineering students in India, aimed at promoting new-age technologies like virtual reality (VR). The two programs- India Innovation Hub (in partnership with T-hub) and School of Innovation (with Startup Village Collective)- will run parallel to other startup-focused initiatives like FbStart that are run by the US-based company.