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UK hesitant over immersive technologies despite positivity abroad, survey finds

UK businesses are lagging behind their counterparts in the US, France and China for AR and VR implementation, due to concerns over security and complexity

Augment Reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are making a positive impression on companies worldwide, although UK firms are still hesitant over using immersive technologies, research finds.  

Capgemini quizzed 709 executives from manufacturing, utilities and automotive firms about their applications of the technologies.

AR enables businesses to overlay information on top of the real world, while VR can provide an immersive, fictional experience.

Out of the survey participants who indicated they use these technologies, 82% said it had met or exceeded expectations.

However, from the six surveyed regions – which include the Nordics, US, China, Germany and France – the UK is second lowest for implementing AR beyond the experimentation phase (36%). Additionally, it is third lowest for VR at 33%.

The slower adoption could be because 75% of the UK respondents are worried about the complexity of immersive technologies, and 74% are concerned about security- compared to the global averages of 60% and 57% respectively.

The UK is set to trail behind for the foreseeable future, with 42% expecting AR to be mainstream in the next three to five years and 45% for VR. In comparison, 46% of the global respondents expect the technologies to become commonplace in the next three years.

The US is the furthest ahead in the current incorporation of AR, with 59% beyond the experimentation stage. Meanwhile, China leads for VR, with 51% already implementing the technology. 

Capgemini’s chief innovation officer, Lanny Cohen, said: “Immersive technology has come a long way in a short time and will continue to evolve. Faced with stiff competition from aggressive investors in the US and China, businesses need to streamline investment to seize the long-term growth potential this technology offers.”

The global respondents have used immersive technology predominantly for repair and maintenance and design and assembly. Use cases in these categories include watching tutorial videos (31%) and viewing an object from different angles (28%). 

However, the majority of the businesses (66%) said AR is more relevant for their operations than VR.

Capgemini also categorised 16% of the survey’s respondents as early achievers, which are organisations reaping the benefits of the technology. It found these firms are investing more in personnel and assigning more facilities to AR and VR than their slower counterparts.

Additionally, 75% of organisations with the biggest AR and VR projects are seeing a 10% improvement in their operations.

“To drive the highest business value from AR and VR, companies need a centralised governance structure, proofs of concept that are aligned with business strategy, and to be able to drive innovation and employee change management,” Cohen added.

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