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Remember watching movies about virtual reality and thinking how cool it would be if it was actually like that in real life? Well, it’s about to be. Although VR has been around since the 1950s, until recently the technology wasn’t able to deliver the fully immersive digital experience users have been craving. That’s about to change with recent improvements to both hardware and programming, and the effects are going to be felt across almost every industry from retail to education.

How it’s affecting industries: Virtual reality has been a popular component of video games for several years and this trend is continuing to expand. In addition to video games, VR is likely to affect companies across the board as they adopt the technology to help them engage customers more effectively and optimize their sales and marketing efforts. It’s also a potentially useful tool for learning and is increasingly being adopted by educational organizations.