Is XR ready for the enterprise mainstream?

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A new survey from XRA demonstrates that the pandemic has brought XR to the attention of enterprise users, but is it ready to become mainstream?

Quick read

➨ Seventy-five percent of respondents to XRA’s survey looking enterprise use said they are familiar with the term ‘XR technology’, while almost two-fifths are already using or are currently investing in virtual, augmented or mixed reality
➨ Respondents in the healthcare, education, and public safety industry sectors were particularly enthusiastic about XR’s immediate potential to help them recover from the effects of Covid-19, by delivering immersive training and learning
➨ They were also clear in what they deemed to be the barriers standing in XR’s way. Cost was king, with 26% indicating that the level of investment required, particularly during a pandemic, could hinder its expansion among enterprise users

The story

The XR Association’s (XRA) inaugural survey of enterprise users across six key industry segments at the vanguard of immersive technology adoption has revealed an awareness of and willingness to spend on virtual, augmented and mixed reality as their businesses navigate the ongoing impact of Covid-19.

XRA chief executive officer Elizabeth Hyman told VRWorldTech that the global pandemic had brought home the fact to many of the survey’s 750 respondents—75% of whom are familiar with the term ‘XR technology’, while almost two-fifths are already using or are currently investing in virtual, augmented or mixed reality—that immersive technology is capable of helping them deal with social distancing requirements. This was particularly the case among educators as it relates to distance learning.

“This was a primary finding of the survey,” Hyman says. “Every industry sector felt that immersive technology has a key advantage in the current environment.”

Hyman continues: “There is no doubt in my mind that the pandemic has brought bigger attention to XR. The next question is whether XR is ready to become mainstream.”

Respondents in the healthcare, education, and public safety industry sectors were particularly enthusiastic about XR’s immediate potential to help them recover from the effects of Covid-19, by delivering immersive training and learning.

Hyman says the next step for XR is proving its potential beyond these proven use cases.


XRA’s survey, which is the first of an annual series that will benchmark the growth and adoption of XR technology among enterprise users across healthcare, education, public safety, manufacturing, workforce training, and retail, revealed:

➨ Seventy-five percent of survey respondents had heard of the term ‘XR technology’, indicating more individuals are familiar with the technology.

➨ Eighty percent of respondents in manufacturing, 75% in healthcare, 74% in education and 70% in public safety predicted that their organisations will increase spending on XR technology over the next five years.

➨ The healthcare, education, and public safety industry sectors stated that XR’s ability to provide immersive training and learning outcomes represented the primary way the technologies could help their industry sectors recover from the effects of Covid-19.

➨ Despite the excitement about XR, top barriers to wide-scale adoption included lack of knowledge about effectively implementing the technologies to their industry sector, in addition to product cost.

➨ Over 90 percent of leaders believe the government should play some role in the development and adoption of XR technologies. Forty-nine percent said one way the government could help was in funding research and development.


Respondents to XRA’s survey were clear in what they deemed to be the barriers standing in XR’s way. Cost was king, with 26% indicating that the level of investment required, particularly during a pandemic, could hinder its expansion among enterprise users.

Here, public safety and education leaders cited pandemic-stretched budgets as a reason that their organisations’ investments in XR may be limited.

Hyman says: “XR hardware remains expensive, but prices are coming down, as you can see from the new virtual reality headsets coming out this year. A price point at the hundreds of dollars is still going to be a barrier to enterprise user adoption, particularly in education where budgets are really stretched.”

XRA represents leading headset manufacturers Facebook, Google, Microsoft, HTC and Sony, so the trade association is well placed to comment on their commitment to tackling cost as a barrier to adoption. Hyman says: “Manufacturers are working hard to get to the point where the product is affordable and can be scaled up in terms of use.”

For Hyman, another important barrier is the availability of meaningful content. She hopes that this survey serves as a signal to content developers that enterprise is a growing and willing market, as three in four leaders predict that organisations will spend more on XR in the next five years.

XRA has also run an annual survey of professionals representing startups, enterprise technology firms and investors, in partnership with law firm Perkins Coie and venture capital firm Boost VC, to gauge how immersive technology developers see the markets for their products and services.

Respondents to the most recent survey were excited about XR’s enterprise potential, including being able to spatially visualise data, prepare and practice for real-world scenarios, and conduct remote, real-time training and collaborations.

Hyman continues: “I hope our new survey acts as an incentive to content developers to keep innovating and coming up with good applications for all of these different industry sectors, not to mention use cases such as collaboration and communication, during this time of remote working.”

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Main image: Canva

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