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How close is virtual reality?

A new report suggests that virtual reality may be on the way to business more quickly than we think – although in the consumer world it’s going to be a while before people allow it into their homes.

That said, video games and entertainment will see the biggest impact, according to the report from Bristol and Bath, entitled “Work, Rest and Play: How ill Virtual Reality Impact Daily Lives?” Three quarters of people think VR will have a positive impact on the way we live.

Liz Falconer, Professor of Technology Enhanced Learning at the University of the West of England in Bristol, who wrote the foreword for the report, sids that while there are undoubtedly some negatives surrounding VR, there were plenty of positives too.

“The opportunities to learn safely from simulations in virtual environments before trying things out in the physical world; opportunities for people with disabilities to take part in activities and social events that would be restricted in the physical world; opportunities for people from different countries, religions and cultures to meet regularly and share experiences and understanding without having to travel to do so – all this, and more, makes me confident and excited about the future of VR.”

Rick Chapman, high tech sector specialist at Invest Bristol and Bath – the inward investment agency for the region which commissioned the report – said: “Without doubt, some of the more intriguing and leading edge applications of VR are to be found in industry. Training simulations in particular will drive interest across business sectors. The use of VR in fixed rather than mobile environments, where you’re not reliant on carrying a VR headset around with you, present exciting opportunities – from enhanced learning and training experiences through to informed buying decisions and immersive entertainment.

“Bristol and Bath is emerging as a one of the UK’s major centres for VR development with our mix of skills in programming, engineering, education, design, art, television, animation. Throw in the leading-edge work being done in the Bristol and Bath universities and it’s easy to see why there is a pool of talent here.”

It’s going to be a while before VR becomes a core technology for the enterprise –but it’s worth bearing in mind it may be coming.