Immerse yourself in the future
Immersive technology is a massive growth industry in the UK, with 1,000 specialist companies right across the UK, employing 4,500 people and generating some £660 million in sales, according to the Immersive Economy in the UK Report.
The UK is said to represent as much as 9% of the global market share, and if the UK market keeps pace with global growth forecasts, turnover should exceed £1 billion by the end of this year.
What is immersive technology?
Immersive specialist companies have established roots in the creative industries and in gaming, but many are now applying their innovative technologies to sectors such as education and training, architecture, advanced manufacturing, and energy. This is the epitome of “cool technology”.
Seventy percent of UK-based immersive technology businesses are already exporting immersive-related products and services, with a particular focus on US markets. Source: Immersive Economy in the UK Report
Definition: Immersive Technology
Immersive technology refers to technology that blurs the line between the physical world and the digital or simulated world, creating a sense of immersion. Immersive technology also enables mixed reality.
Applications include augmented and virtual reality, gaming, tourism, architecture, estate agency, training and education, to name just a few areas where UK businesses are currently innovating.
While there is strong immersive activity in London, there are also growing clusters in a number of UK cities such as Brighton, Bristol, Newcastle, Liverpool, and Belfast.
Immersive media gives businesses the ability to create new experiences for users, through the use of augmented or enhanced environments. From flight simulations, innovation displays in shops to new forms of surgical training techniques, the possibilities are endless.
According to Digital and the Creative Industries Minister Margot James, “The UK is home to world-leading tech sector and creative industries, and in recent years we have seen them come together to develop innovative technology of tomorrow, but we cannot be complacent. This is why we are investing £33 million in immersive technology products, services and experiences as part of the Creative Industries Sector Deal as we build a Britain fit for the future.”
This £33 million funding injection will support new uses of virtual reality in areas such as video games, interactive art shows, and augmented reality experiences in tourism, that aim to double Britain’s share of the global creative immersive content market by 2025.
Immerse UK – the UK’s industry body that looks after immersive technology businesses – recently conducted research into the immersive market. You can read more about the trends in immersive, and why it’s so important to the future of the UK, by downloading the report here.
Putting the UK at the forefront of the AI revolution
The creative industries and artificial intelligence are focal points of the government’s Artificial Intelligence Grand Challenge, a key part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, which sets out a long-term plan to boost productivity and the earning power of people right across the UK.
The AI Grand Challenge aims to ensure that the social and economic benefits of this emerging technology are felt right across Britain. You can find all the current live Grand Challenges listed on the UKRI website, and many have links to Immersive Technology.
The Audience of the Future challenge is part of the AI Grand Challenge, and its first competition – the £16 million Audience of the Future Demonstrators programme – was open for entries from May 21st through to August 1st 2018 – with further competitions set to follow.
Here’s the main information you need to know about the Audience of the Future challenge:
- It brings together creative businesses, researchers, and technologists to create amazing new experiences.
- Included in the first wave was the launch of a £1 million early-stage Audience of the Future Design Foundations competition, focused on understanding the future user, and delivering vital insight into audience perceptions and behaviours.
- Further information – including the recipients of funding from the first wave when this is announced, and resources for those seeking funding – can be found here: Audience of the Future Challenges
An exciting future for creative businesses
It’s not only immersive businesses that can benefit from additional funding – in March 2018, the government and the creative industries sector, through the Creative Industries Council (CIC), announced a Sector Deal to invest more than £150 million across the lifecycle of creative businesses.
This includes the £33 million injection into immersive technology, but also includes:
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