Virtual reality (“VR”) is often associated with thoughts of avid gamers frantically screaming as they immerse themselves in an virtually generated world. It may be a surprise (as it was to me) to learn that the use of VR in the gaming only accounted for c.40% of the Global VR industry in 2018. Although VR has been used in various industries for a number of years, its use is limited by the infancy of the technology.
At present, the technology is available in a non-immersive or semi-immersive stage and, as VR gathers further investment and the technology improves, applications in other sectors where “real” situations can be modelled offer vast potential. Currently, the global virtual reality market is estimated to be worth c.$7.3 billion and is projected to reach c.$120.5 billion by 2026, a CAGR of c.42.2% over the period.
A key driver supporting this exponential growth is its application in training and staff development, especially for occupations which are more practical in nature such as Healthcare, Construction and Aerospace. In these industries there is often a lack of adequate opportunities to develop the necessary skills in advance or reinforce knowledge already gained; the thought of a surgeon performing an operation they have limited real-life experience of is quite frightening. According to the Harvard Business Review, 30% of surgeons couldn’t operate independently after residency. That, I dare say, is quite an alarming statistic.
VR offers an excellent solution to these challenges. Creating an environment where (in this case) surgeons can “operate” in a fabricated real-life situation can improve the quality of care across the board. According to the Harvard Business Review article, an experiment was conducted between two groups of surgeons, one traditionally trained while the other trained using VR. Overall, the VR-trained participants outperformed their counterparts by finishing the procedure on average 20% faster and completing 38% of the procedure steps more effectively. The significant merits of VR-based training are quite remarkable. Undoubtedly as the technology develops its use in skill development and training will evolve substantially. Personally, I find it extremely exciting to see technologies (such as VR) expand from its first intended use. It is innovation at its finest.
At Polestar, we work with a number of companies providing innovate solutions that often challenge traditional approaches. With technology improving at a substantial rate, the number of disruptive models is growing year on year. Businesses often require significant volumes of cash to develop their technology or grow their channels to market. External advice can be key to extracting the best value for shareholders while achieving the aims of the business.
How Virtual Reality Can Help Train Surgeons