Virtual reality and mixed reality are transforming how we work, how we live, and how we play.
The disruption of physical proximity activities is well underway, with virtual reality and mixed reality transforming how we work, how we live, and how we play.
“The way we connect with each other is evolving in real-time,” comments Niall Carroll, Chairman of CG Tech. “Virtuworx is our answer to a new reality, where virtual meetings and conferences, and our interactions together as digital avatars, will become an increasingly normal part of business.”
Virtuworx is an avatar-based hybrid of virtual reality and mixed reality environments that turn remote work into a meaningful and productive experience by offering a fully customisable solution for virtual training, offices, events, trade shows and conferences. The platform is the latest venture from The Virtulab, a subsidiary of the CG Tech group. With interest from enterprise and government clients long before the pandemic, recent demand has mirrored the rise of the global virtual reality and remote meetings markets.
The business macro trends are telling. In 2020 the global virtual reality market size was valued at USD 16 billion and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18 percent over the next eight years. The global mixed reality market was valued at USD 553 million in 2020 and is expected to reach almost USD 6 billion by 2026, a CAGR of 48%. The market for e-learning is expected to grow from USD 101 billion in 2019 to USD 370 billion in 2026. And remote meetings and remote work are now mainstream, with a Gartner survey of company leaders finding that 80% plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time after the pandemic and 47% will allow employees to work from home full-time.
These trends are creating a buzz among investors looking at the technologies of the future, pointing to a drastic revamp in the future of meetings, conferences and other live events.
The path to digital isn’t easy, and a number of barriers to mass adoption still remain. But the ‘90s-style video call services we all use today simply lack the nuance of human contact and communication, forcing a human interaction without any imagination. It’s no surprise that people are getting “Zoom fatigue”, feeling stressed, unengaged, and uninspired.
Company culture is difficult to maintain and keeping people on target and on-brand becomes more challenging. Even before the lockdowns and the global shift to work-from-home, the world of events and conferences was already suffering from a lack of innovation. Presenting the same experience to delegates, year in and year out, left little to the imagination.
Virtuworx Flips The Remote Model
“Instead of trying to compete with Microsoft or Zoom, we are focused on helping people reconnect in new contexts,” said Jason English, Chief Ecosystem Officer of the CG Tech group.
Virtuworx allows you to create any kind of environment you can imagine and connect people through avatars. Instead of staring at a screen all day, participants get to explore and engage in a number of ways. Initial use cases of the platform focused on recreating the physical spaces they were replacing. Over time, however, creative concepts powered by gamification and data from the initial use cases has led to the creation of environments that are richer and more complex, and the platform can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection.
In late 2020, the world’s first virtual TEDx event, TEDxLytteltonWomen, took place powered by Virtuworx. The team at Virtuworx is also developing a virtual campus for the Green Building Council South Africa that will allow members to virtually connect throughout the year, after successfully hosting a conference in Virtuworx at the back end of 2020. Another partnership with Idna Africa, a leading South African conference agency, promises to bring immersive virtual experiences to help power online event solutions.
“The scale and number of virtual experiences and virtual spaces have significantly increased during the pandemic,” explains CG Tech Chairman, Niall Carroll. “Virtuworx enables people to gather together in a setting that’s only as limited as the organizer’s imagination.”
Connecting Physical and Virtual Reality
The next area of innovation is the connection between physical and virtual participants. Meaningful interactions that increase engagement and are able to be captured, will be key to this process. Crafting gamified experiences that utilize analytics will arm users with instant access to data points, including a social ladder of attendee interactions. And just like in the real world, the digital realm is ripe for branding. Here, sponsors will have the ability to reach more people from their virtual stands, without the need for printing, an eco-friendly point many businesses will appreciate.
“In this new paradigm, the benefits are endless,” comments CG Tech Chief Ecosystem Officer, Jason English. “Companies can extend their global reach while ensuring meaningful encounters between delegates. Virtual hybrid events also spell good news for event organisers, saving them time, money and reducing their carbon footprint.”
The Importance of Technology
Each of the key features mentioned above could not be possible without the technologies needed to operate a virtual reality platform. The Virtulab has been at the forefront of exploring the innovations necessary to power the events of the future, and it’s got investors talking.
Created with a specific vision in mind, Virtuworx imagines a future where virtual and augmented reality environments can happily co-exist with the physical world. While some users might be concerned about their personal data being exposed on a digital platform, The Virtulab team apply a privacy-first approach to software design, insisting data is anonymised and aggregated before being analysed to ensure private conversations and interactions stay that way.
“Security is paramount in our platforms,” explains Niall Carroll, adding, “The entire Virtuworx platform is built from the ground on a privacy-first perspective.”
Excitement is building around the events of the future, where technology and imagination can bring new opportunities for businesses, employees and attendees. Virtual technology looks set to be the key factor in maintaining engagement and connections, regardless of geography.
“As with any technology, many people don’t see the value initially”, notes Jason English. “This has been seen with Crypto, Autonomous Vehicles, Solar, etc., but as people are realising that remote operations are going to remain part of our future, we are super excited by Virtuworx’s position in the market. Watch this space!”
With the future-leading technologies on offer by companies such as The Virtulab, businesses can depend on innovation and superior design technologies to ensure their companies thrive in a remote-led future.
The collection of business within the CG Tech group allows us to share learnings and ideas with each other, sparking collective investments into research and development of new products and services which would not normally have been created.
The technology arm of the CG Tech group, The Virtulab, has allowed me to grow the reputation of Prommac as a digital business in a traditional industry, and we have been able to transform at a fraction of the cost of outsourcing these services.
As the youngest leader in the group, the collective knowledge of leadership has helped me grow personally by engaging with great business leaders who have been there, done that and have shared their experiences with me.
The CG Tech team has helped us raise capital and fund growth using the know how and experience of the collective group. The spread of skill sets between Accountants, M&A Experts, Operational Specialists, Metallurgy Specialists has helped me shape my business for the future.