As discussed in the latest Shackcast episode, VR is not dead. There's hardware diversity underway with Windows MR, large entities like the NFL are getting involved, and more. There's another space you may not think to look that's tapping the potential of VR as well and its telling of the technology's staying power. Local governments in New York, Arkansas, and more are investing in virtual reality to spark economic growth.
The news comes from a StateTech Magazine report that shares how various localities are capitalizing on VR. New York, for instance, has embraced VR and AR to bolster tech employment. The city's mayor has a plan to create 100,000 good-paying tech jobs over the next decade and a VR/AR lab that's functioning as part of the New York University Tandon School of Engineer's MakerSpace is a crucial part of this plan.
In Arkansas, VR tech is being integrated into public schools across the state as a means to sharpen science skills and explore STEM careers, Louisiana's office of tourism is giving visitors virtual tours of the full state, and universities like North Carolina State are beginning to introduce the tech as well.
“VR is one of those areas that has rich uses in disciplines like psychology and education, but it also has very technical pieces that fit more closely with computer science or design,” David Woodbury, head of learning spaces and services at NCSU Libraries, told American Libraries. “The library is a nice intersection of these disciplines, sort of a DMZ, a neutral area for people to come together and learn how new immersive technology might fit their field, how different disciplines can work together to solve a problem. It continues our tradition of democratizing access to technology, like we do with databases and books.”
With initiatives like those above, the growth of social spaces like the one Microsoft recently purchased, and a steady stream of quality games, VR is here to stay for a long time.
Charles Singletary posted a new article, Local Governments Find Economic Growth In Virtual Reality Tech
I think there's a danger to think that VR/AR/MR is a magic bullet for tech jobs. It sounds like there's a lot of applied research going on for this sector, but not a lot of linkage between the research outcomes and commercialization.
I feel like that is what is happening here in Alberta, with the exception of a few firms like Serious Labs, who have a pretty decent product offering.