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Is VR Working for Marketers Today UK Expert Weighs InThe viability and efficacy of virtual reality technology for marketing purposes is a big topic these days.

That’s clear from a recent interview conducted by eMarketer with Dr. Wendy Powell, senior member of the IEEE (a technical professional association) and reader in virtual reality at the University of Portsmouth. Powell is one of the UK’s leading experts in virtual reality (VR).

eMarketer: How would you characterize the current state of virtual reality development and deployment?

Powell notes that there are two technologies to consider — augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Of the two, AR is less developed.

“If you’re familiar with the Gartner Hype Cycle, AR is just past the hype phase,” Powell contends. “It’s not yet delivering “in the wild,” so to speak. By contrast, VR is already heading for steady growth. I’d say that within five to 10 years, both will reach full maturity.”

As to the question of whether the UK is currently an advanced VR market, Powell says there is much innovation going on in the country.

“About 20 percent of the world’s AR and VR companies are based in the UK,” Powell said. “There’s certainly a lot of innovation here, and a number of big players. The games industry is a major focus, so there are UK-based firms like nDreams, for example, which is using VR in new ways and has created VR titles for Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR, among other manufacturers.”

The marketing side is growing, too.

“We have (marketing) companies such as Virtual Umbrella—VR marketing specialists who are making themselves known across the industry. But we’re really just beginning to realize the full potential of VR, even in the UK,” according to Powell.

The UK expert believes health sectors are ripe for VR growth, as are museum and travel offerings.

“Health and medicine are other areas where VR is obviously having an impact, whether in training, diagnosis or treatment,” she said. “And in museums, VR is being used to improve access to collections, and to help visitors understand more about what they’re seeing. People can see a damaged or fragmentary physical artifact, for example, and then experience through VR what the original object would have looked like.”

You can read the whole eMarketer interview with Dr. Powell here.

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