Immersive technologiesin Catalonia, a rapidly growing market.
Immersive technologies are taking off in Catalonia, with 153 companies dedicated to the metaverse, augmented, and virtual reality.
Immersive technologies could be defined as those allowing us to build environments that merge physical and virtual worlds. Thus, a digital or simulated reality is created where users can interact and explore a new dimension. The leading immersive technologies are virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, holography, and the metaverse, among others.
Immersive Tech in Catalonia
Catalan companies specializing in immersive technologies have an aggregate turnover of 136.6 million euros and employ nearly 900 workers. This is a growing sector, as 58.2% of all companies are under ten years of age, and a third (32.7%) are startups. In addition, 19% are exporters.
Depending on their specialization, the majority of companies are dedicated to virtual reality (66%), followed by augmented reality (48.4%) and the metaverse (16.3%). In terms of applications, 39.2% of Catalan companies in these technologies work in the field of entertainment, followed by commerce and marketing (37.3%), industry 4.0 (17%), training (11.8%), and health (10.5%).
Catalonia has a support ecosystem that includes agents beyond the business world, such as technology centers and research institutes; universities and training centers; associations and facilities; clusters, institutions, and public administration, as well as world-renowned fairs and congresses such as MWC, ISE, IoT Solutions World Congress or Advanced Factories.
In fact, in Catalonia, there are various initiatives in this field. For example, Catvers, the reference metaverse promoted by CBCat, the Blockchain Center of Catalonia, with the support of the Catalan Government and Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce. Other initiatives, such as the Catalunya Media City in the Tres Xemeneies site, will be added, the future Catalan audiovisual and digital hub.
“Catalonia is already an attractive territory for immersive technologies: Barcelona is the 4th city in the EU in rounds closed for startups, with 15 showing a value of 19 million dollars (2018-2022)”
Catalonia is already an attractive territory for immersive technologies: Barcelona is the 4th city in the EU in rounds closed for startups, with 15 showing a value of 19 million dollars (2018-2022).
It is also the 7th most talented European city working in immersive technologies, ahead of Stockholm or Madrid. Furthermore, 100 Catalan entities have attracted more than 55 million euros in European projects related to immersive technologies.
Uses of immersive technology
Immersive technologies have applications in many economic sectors, thus transforming the way companies interact with their consumers and allowing new businesses to be generated.
Some applications that are already being worked on are entertainment (and, especially, video games, but also cinema or music), health (for the treatment of psychological disorders or rehabilitation, for example), industry 4.0 (facilitating the phases of product design and prototyping), education (they enable training and learning skills that could be risky in real life), commerce (establishments can offer experiences to their customers without leaving home) or tourism (virtual tours can be made to explore destinations).
It should be noted that these technologies are still in an incipient phase and that research and innovation will be necessary, but also standardization and interoperability to bring out their potential for transformation and impact. Additionally, deploying these technologies requires the participation of other technological fields, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, photonics, sensors, or screens, as well as the design of environments and avatars, new machinery and software, or 3D models.
Furthermore, it should be borne in mind that the emergence of these technologies will lead to significant changes but also challenges when it comes to integrating them into society, such as things like cost, supply, and demand, which is just beginning, not to mention doubts in the legal and ethical field.
Globally, immersive technologies will reach a market value of 650,000 million dollars in aggregate by 2028, with an annual growth rate of 38%.
On the European continent, where different EU initiatives have already been deployed in this field, forecasts are for annual growth of 36%. The sector will reach 71,000 million dollars by 2026, with applications, especially in the video game environment. Among the leading countries driving these technologies, we find the United States, Germany, France, China, and Japan.
Immersive Technologies in Catalonia
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