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VR will be a reality in the enterprise, but businesses should be wary of the hype

Matthew Finnegan | March 21, 2016
Some use cases can be made for VR use by big businesses, however.

Forrester VP and principal analyst J. P. Gownder says that many of its clients believe VR needs to be addressed urgently this year. However, he argues that this would be "premature".

"The vast majority of consumers aren't there yet, don't know or care about VR, and won't know or care in 2016 unless they are hardcore gamers. And only a few forward-looking enterprises - digital predators - are experimenting with VR in effective ways today," Gownder writes in his blog.

He points out a variety of barriers that must be overcome before there is widespread adoption.

The vast majority of PC owners will need to upgrade their hardware to run VR properly, while free, low-quality products like Google Cardboard could turn off consumers as much as it piques their interest. Lastly, there's a need for education in the market.

"Most consumers don't have a deep understanding of VR, nor is there an easy venue for them to learn about it," writes Gownder.

While consumer uptake is in its early stages, businesses shouldn't ignore VR. It makes sense to trial the technology and see where it could work in future.

The situation is similar to the buzz around wearables last year. Early adopters of the technology - such as Nationwide, the first British bank with a smartwatch app - tended to move slowly, launching pilot projects rather than making major investments.

This can give businesses an idea of how VR can fit into wider digital strategies, and allow developer teams the time to become familiar with the technology.

Gownder advises businesses to take the same approach with VR.

"VR experiments can be conducted on the cheap, starting with B2B2C scenarios in which you provide the device to your customer in a retail setting," he writes.

"But for most of you, please don't panic and overinvest. You've got a few years before VR becomes a top-tier priority."

 

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