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A new research report titled The Irish Immersive Economy launched today shows that the Irish immersive technology sector is currently worth over €43 million, with significant potential for future growth as 63% of businesses in the sector expect to grow in the coming 12 months.

Commissioned by Immersive Technologies Skillnet, Animation Skillnet and Screen Skillnet, all promoted by Further (formerly known as Dublin Business Innovation Centre), the report outlines Ireland’s current immersive technology capacity and capabilities. It also makes recommendations that support business growth across a range of sectors and supports the attraction of foreign-direct investment within the sector.

Majority of organisations making a major investment or exploring new applications

The research finds that there is significant opportunity for Irish immersive tech businesses to excel on a global scale, with 80% of Irish immersive businesses are exporting to Europe and internationally. Investment in the sector is also robust with a majority of organisations surveyed certain they will either make a major investment (22.2%) or exploring new applications (40.5%), with a further 18.5% seeing a possibility of investing in the next 12 months.

Report highlights barriers to growth in the sector

The report also explores the most critical barriers to growth in the sector, and signalling that significant strategic support is required to capitalise on these new opportunities. Five main barriers to growth of the sector include shortages in talent (44.9%), funding (44.1%), knowledge (31.5%) and time (31.5%), as well as a lack of an ecosystem (29.9%).

Tracey Donnery, Executive Director, Skillnet Ireland said: “Immersive technologies have evolved rapidly in recent years. For Ireland to be a global leader in this space, we need to ensure the immersive technologies talent base reflects not just current business demands but the challenges of future growth in existing and new markets. Central to achieving our potential in this space will be developing a robust skills and talent pipeline, a world class research and development framework, and relevant business supports to start-ups and scaling up existing businesses.”

Susan Talbot, Network Manager, Immersive Technologies Skillnet, said: “This much needed body of work not only gives us a baseline for future research around the Irish immersive ecosystem, but will help align thinking and aid key decision makers moving forward. From a Network perspective, the recommendations will ensure a continued industry-led approach in building Ireland’s immersive talent pool.”

Camille Donegan, Director of Eirmersive and Creative Director of Solas VR, said: “This important report was commissioned to gain a better understanding of Ireland’s emerging immersive technology ecosystem and talent needs. It responds to a growing demand from industry itself to articulate Ireland’s unique voice and contribution to the national and global immersive technology marketplace. The report will also help inform how key government stakeholders can go further in supporting the needs of this emerging sector.”

The report also reveals sectors where immersive technologies are finding the widest application including education and research, software development, and training and skills. It also shows the real-life impact of immersive technologies and the benefits it can offer Irish businesses and people including:

  • BioPharmaChem Skillnet recently collaborated with TU Dublin to develop a VR programme called ‘Powder Handling for Pharma Manufacturing’. Using VR, it allows participants to learn powder handling essentials – a critical process in pharmaceutical manufacturing – in a low-risk environment – significantly reducing training costs as workers virtually perform activities in a simulated environment.
  • Immersive tech is also helping many organisations who are unlikely to go back to a full “office only” model. MeetingRoom has built a secure and scalable end to end VR enterprise solution to encourage collaboration where people cannot be in the same room together, proving especially useful for sessions that do not work well on standard video calls, such as workshops, brainstorming, site tours and audits.

The complete research report is available to read here.

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