Which region will be the next VR hub? | Crain's St. Louis

Which region will be the next VR hub?

VR Arcade produces location-based pop-up and permanent VR experiences in partnership with Vegas hotels and casinos, nightclubs, restaurants and events. | Photo courtesy of VR Arcade

Can you learn customer service skills through virtual reality?

If you ask Best Western, the answer is yes. The hotel chain has worked with a University of Central Florida program called TeachLivE to train roughly 15,000 front-desk staff members—and Best Western reports a 32 percent improvement in customer satisfaction.

That's just one of countless applications for virtual reality and augmented reality, a sector that experts predict is about to take off.

In a February 2017 report, the market research firm iGate Research forecast that virtual reality would become a $40 billion market by 2020, while Goldman Sachs expects that figure to double again in just five years, to $80 billion by 2025.

“The way we see virtual reality is like the internet back in 1995,” says Jason Cooper, director of multimedia for Durham, N.C.-based Horizon Productions. “It is this transformative technology that’s going to change so many industries, but it’s still in its infancy."

While video gaming applications have taken the lead when it comes to VR applications, the range of possibilities is just being tapped—whether it's walking inside a simulated jet engine to learn how it works or taking homebuyers on virtual property tours. Now, it's just a question of which industries will buy into VR—and which regions of the country are poised to take the lead. Though Florida and California are known for their strength in VR, many cities are making a play.

As Brian Moyer, president and CEO of the Nashville Technology Council puts it, "The virtual sky’s the limit."

From the East Coast...

North Carolina businesses blazing the virtual reality trail

Virtual reality is the next big thing for Nashville businesses

Raleigh-Durham firms take VR power to Duke, UNC, Amsterdam

Florida’s tech sector turning virtual dreams into successful reality

VR company TRICK 3D wants to make Atlanta an industry hub

In Connecticut, VR is all about specialized applications

Baltimore, Washington startups seizing VR revival

to the Midwest

Genesys to bring augmented reality to contact centers as part of 'tech disruption'

Schell: VR faces 'serious obstacles to growth'

State’s universities envision VR resurgence

including Texas

VR is big business for several North Texas companies

VR tech thriving in surprising ways in Texas

and the Western U.S.

Denver startup sees VR disrupting the real estate world

Made for each other: Vegas already an early VR adopter

From arcades to immersive worlds, Phoenix firms on VR's cutting edge

IdeaSuite blends VR capabilities with real-world research

Bay Area firm focuses on social side of VR

From healthcare to family fun, virtual reality is a hot commodity in Sacramento

June 27, 2017 - 10:39am