AR and VR are likely to increase from $9.3 billion in 2018 to $19.6 billion in 2023 on the global education sector, research shows.
Venture capital investors are also looking to allocate capital to start-ups that are developing markets around immersive technologies, after ploughing nearly $1.7 billion this year on edtech alone.
Investments by Edtech in India made a fourfold leap in 2020 from $409 million in the previous year as the pandemic moved people to online education, as per data from Venture Intelligence.
Experts agree that immersive technology that digitally recreates the real universe have an immense opportunity in edtech. By placing users in a simulated environment or increasing a virtual topic in the physical world, technology like Augmented Reality (AR ) and Virtual Reality (VR) make learning more enjoyable, engaging and lucid.
In the absence of access to real science laboratories, as schools remain closed, VR and AR can be used for practical courses. Items such as Jio Glass, a wearable, can be used to provide VR classroom experience with particular subjects and research requirements.
“Online learning is no longer merely a replacement or a complement to classroom instruction. Startups need to spend more in immersive technology such as VR that can enhance learning experiences and reduce learning disabilities, “said Siddharth Pai, founder and managing partner of Siana Capital Management.
In the USA and China, edtech platforms offering classes in VR and AR have become popular with businesses and customers. Palo Alto-based Strivr, which received $30 million in Series B funding in March, provides VR-based immersive educational services for the workforce. The company’s customers include Walmart, Verizon, BMW and Visa.
Shanghai-based Neo Bear, which creates AR-based toys and smartphone applications to help children learn words and languages, has raised more than $56 million.
Indian startups providing immersive technology solutions have also seen demand increase in global markets due to the outbreak of the virus.
Bengaluru-based PlayShifu, which offers a variety of AR-based immersive and educational toys for children aged 4-12 years, saw the demand for its educational toys triple in the US in March-April. PlayShifu raised $4.4 million in July, Inc42.com reported.
According to analyst Marketsandmarkets, AR and VR are forecast to rise from $9.3 billion in 2018 to $19.6 billion in 2023.
FotonVR based in Gujarat produces VR content from science subjects for classes 5 to 10.
However, barring a couple, start-ups still concentrate on a video or immersive whiteboard-based learning model. The price is one explanation for this. “It’s hard to develop and scale experience-based edtech companies. Think about the cost of producing such content in a country where basic problems such as keeping education accessible to everyone are still being discussed, “said Manish Kheterpal, Managing Partner, WaterBridge Ventures.