The Growth of Immersive Technology
In the last decade, different types of immersive technology have become very popular. At the moment, most AR and VR hardware is used in the gaming industry. Large companies and corporations such as Valve and Sony are investing millions of dollars to provide gamers with a more immersive experience.
But it all goes beyond gaming. AR and VR technologies are finding their place in the adult entertainment industry, military application, medicine, alternative art and, of course, education. In fact, if we invest in educational immersive technology, we can dramatically change the way we teach our students.
Where and How Can We Use It?
When it comes to immersive technology in education, we focus on two major groups of students. The first includes elementary and high school students. The other group includes college students and researchers.
Students of either group can use VR and AR hardware to interact more closely with the 3D environment. That way they’ll get a more “hands-on” approach to learning. For example, elementary school students can see how a plant grows or how the planets of our solar system move. Researchers and college students can get detailed plans or interact with 3D replicas. In other words, immersive technology has the potential to be far more effective than images in textbooks.
Potential User Base of AR/VR Tech
If we only look at the USA, there are over 50 million K-12 students and 20 million college students. That would make the US market alone very profitable for educational immersive technology. But let’s not forget that other countries want to invest in this tech. The number of elementary and high school students alone in these countries goes over 200 million.
Of course, these numbers don’t include researchers and post-graduates. In addition, they don’t include teachers who would also be using AR/VR headsets.
The Immersive Tech Price Tag
Back in 2015, the educational software market worldwide was worth $12 billion. We should mention that this market focuses only on current software developments. It doesn’t take immersive technology into account.
So how many units could we expect to sell in the next ten years and how much profit would it generate? The answer is roughly $300 million for 8 million AR/VR units in the first five years and $700 million by 2025. That’s assuming we sell the headsets at $50 per unit.
Only eight million units in five years might sound small. However, we do have to think about the market. Schools don’t get enough funding to acquire immersive technology to teach the students. In fact, the budget is tight even for certain basic educational equipment. To put it simply, we have to be smart about how much we want or can sell.
Of course, K–12 students are the primary market. But let’s not forget researchers and college students. AR/VR technology can greatly help with complex research. We would most likely give these users some incentive. In other words, we’d offer initial AR/VR products for free. Once the experts in fields such as medicine or architecture test the products, they’d continue to support the manufacturer with their money and free word-of-mouth publicity.
What Do We Avoid?
Immersive technology is a tool that many people can use. Our ultimate goal isn’t to use students and researchers as guinea pigs. After all, there’s a lot more to AR and VR than an opportunity to get a lot of money. The ultimate goal is to improve and expand education for both students and teachers.