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Coming soon: AR-enabled surgery, VR-powered education
Augmented reality and virtual realitywill be adopted across industries in the region by 2025, according to Frost & Sullivan.
Organisations in the GCC are leveraging the new technology to enhance end-user experiences.


Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology developments over the next 10 years are set to redefine the future of both business and consumer processes and interactions in the region, a new research predicts.

Organisations in the GCC are leveraging the new technology to enhance end-user experiences, according to research conducted by Frost & Sullivan in collaboration with Gitex Technology Week 2016.

"From AR-enabled surgery to VR-powered education, experts from across industries will take the stage at Gitex Technology Week this year to share their innovative use cases of AR/VR technologies and provide a glimpse into the future of this game-changing technology," it said.

Augmented reality, which provides contextual information on mobile devices, projections, or wearables - and virtual reality, which provides a fully immersive digital environment, will be adopted across industries in the region by 2025, according to the report.

Research reports corroborate predictions that the AR and VR market is booming, with IDC reporting that AR and VR hardware revenue is topping $2 billion globally for the first time this year. Frost & Sullivan further predicts that device shipments are set to grow 11-fold to 110 million by 2020.

"AR and VR will be a giant step in transforming and democratising education and businesses, especially in medicine, where immersive technology can facilitate education and access-at-a-distance for medical care," said Dr Rafael Grossmann, who will be headlining Gitex's Healthcare Monday - an industry vertical conference dedicated to healthcare technology.

"From all around the world, they gained an exclusive point-of-view demonstration and interacted in real-time with the surgical event. Imagine how this level of interaction can deliver next-generation education for students worldwide, especially in developing countries," added Dr Grossmann.

In the GCC, organisations no longer need to imagine the impact of AR and VR - they are already deploying the technology in new ways.

Programmes across industries in the GCC are eager to adopt AR and VR technologies to streamline processes and support the lives of employees, students and the general population, said the report.

Public agencies have been quick in the uptake of AR and VR technology in the GCC. Shaikh Zayed Housing Programme, the agency that provides Emirati housing, has launched the My Virtual Home app, which uses AR to allow users to virtually tour readymade 3D housing models. The Dubai Road and Transport Authority has launched Wojhati, a trip planning mobile app with GPS to help users plan, track and share their mass transit routes. The RTA is also partnering with the Dubai Future Foundation for 25 per cent of Dubai's road trips by driverless vehicles by 2030.

Education in the region is also being augmented with new technology, the report outlines. Providing students with VR experience, Abu Dhabi's Masdar Institute has partnered with the Georgian start-up InGlove to develop an interactive VR glove for construction, medical, military and psychology simulations.

"The potential for AR and VR can be reached now that the attention of SMEs and other stakeholders is focused on the different application areas. This is the reason why EuroVR gathers industrials, SMEs and research institutes to stimulate research and practical uses for business competitiveness," said Marco Sacco, president of the European Association for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.

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