Immersive technologies trade group Immerse UK and advanced digital technology innovation centre Digital Catapult have published the second Immersive Economy in the UK report, providing evidence of the growth of the sector and its key drivers and barriers. It explores the geographical and industrial spread of companies working with immersive technologies such as high-end visualisation, virtual, mixed, and augmented reality, haptics and other sensory interfaces with data, and across a wide spread of industry sectors.
The UK is currently Europe’s largest market for virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), tapping into what is predicted to become a $160 billion (€144bn) immersive technologies market. There are currently around 1,250 active immersive specialist companies in the UK and there are growth opportunities for immersive technologies across Architecture, Construction Engineering, Manufacturing and Defence, Entertainment, Healthcare Training and Transport Sections.
Almost 200 organisations were surveyed for the report, including distributors, technology developers, manufacturers, R&D organisations, service providers, trade bodies, associations, industry networks and public funders. 87 per cent of respondents said that immersive technologies have helped them to improve their organisation. Over 500 immersive technology projects were identified (either ongoing, open, or completed since 2018), worth over £220 million.
“We continue to see creative energy, technical innovation and business expertise grow across the sectors covered by this report,” noted Fiona Kilkelly from Immerse UK. “The UK’s VR industry is set to grow faster in entertainment than in any other media sector; and across construction, planning, transport and engineering, immersive technologies are improving efficiency, streamlining collaboration and boosting project confidence. Immerse UK helps support thousands of UK businesses in developing new innovations and they champion the UK’s immersive tech sector on a vast international stage.”
“The opportunities offered by an entirely new medium of virtual, augmented and mixed reality have excited UK creatives and business people alike,” added Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult. “With all the struggles and challenges involved, these folks are building the foundations of a world-leading immersive industry. This report shows the contributions these talented individuals and exceptional companies are making to the UK’s cultural digital economy as well as showing just how diverse the opportunities are for companies working with immersive tech as well as the investment opportunities on offer.”