Potential users are holding back on adopting virtual reality until standards are established, according to Jean Leston, lead author of the new report, Virtual Reality: Business, Applications, Markets and Opportunities, from industry watchers Ovum Lt d. The Unix market will probably adopt the VRML 2.0 standard due to be put forward by Silicon Graphics Inc […]
Potential users are holding back on adopting virtual reality until standards are established, according to Jean Leston, lead author of the new report, Virtual Reality: Business, Applications, Markets and Opportunities, from industry watchers Ovum Lt d. The Unix market will probably adopt the VRML 2.0 standard due to be put forward by Silicon Graphics Inc later this year, but the de facto standard on the desktop will be Active VRML being developed by Microsoft, who is not supporting VRML 2.0, sa id Katy Ring, co-author of the report. The wild card in this scenario is the Network Computer Internet access device which may become the key network interface and balance out these these two competing sectors. The worldwide business virtual reality market will be worth $1bn by the year 2001, the report states. It focuses on the business market to the exclusion of the entertainment sector. The business market is worth 65% of total virtual reality vendor revenue, Leston said. The business mar ket for virtual reality is more important than the entertainment market. It is a myth that VR has no proven benefits, but there are preconditions for its successful use. These include the need to understand complex three dimensional data; the need to train staff in how to work in hazardous conditions they may face, without having to subject themselves to that danger and the need to test products from a user’s point of view without having to develop a physical prototype model. Networked VR over the Internet is a long way off, although VR features on Web sites will be a key factor in the VR market to make comparatively dull Web sites more appealing to the surfer. This will particularly boost virtual reality in the sales and marketing sector, as 3D Web sites get used for marketing purposes. At the moment, training is the key VR application, but this will change as the market evolves. Early next century, these applications will include virtual model interfaces for databases. Electrolu x is one company researching to see if a VR interface is a viable option for its product database. VR is not just about headsets, Leston said. Headsets do have their uses but that is a niche market that is going to get smaller all the time. It w ill still be used for applications where the users needs a total sense of presence in a virtual environment, but it is not suited to shared virtual experiences. The market is moving towards non-immersive PC-based virtual reality. Non-immersive VR is more suited for shared virtual environments as more than one user can view a virtual scene on screen. This is particularly important for design team environments.