Immersive lab aims to increase UK’s slice of VR pie

Immersive lab

Digital Catapult has opened an ‘immersive lab’ in Brighton, to provide access to the latest virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies to support the UK’s burgeoning immersive community.

The immersive lab is a place to showcase emerging content, meet potential investors, collaborate with researchers and trial new proof of concepts. It’s a meet-up point for companies of all sizes and individuals to collaborate and exchange ideas and expertise.

“Brighton is uniquely positioned to take advantage of immersive technologies”

Digital Catapult, which is funded by Innovate UK with a remit to “drive the UK economy through digital innovation” has previously opened an immersive lab in London earlier this year (pictured above, and see film below), which has hosted more than 80 events, meet-ups and demos, with 1,100+ attendees.

The Brighton and London immersive labs are part of Digital Catapult’s strategy to develop the best ecosystem for AR, VR and MR developers to create and experiment with the next generation of immersive content.

Growth in the immersive industry

The immersive industry is anticipated to be worth around £120bn by 2020. The US still hugely dominates the space, with 75% market share, while the UK’s share is just 5%. Digital Catapult says its immersive labs will aid UK businesses of any size to demonstrate, innovate, test and experience the latest immersive technology and content, and help bolster the UK’s share of the global immersive market.

A centre of excellence

Brighton joins London with an immersive lab as, Digital Catapult says, it has an existing cluster of VR, AR and MR companies and a strong background in gaming, film and software and hardware development.

“Brighton is uniquely positioned to take advantage of immersive technologies because it is home to many disruptive companies operating in the creative and digital sectors,” said Phil Jones, lead at Digital Catapult in Brighton.

“The opening of the immersive lab is part of the wider strategy to bring these organisations together and encourage their collaboration to accelerate the immersive industry’s growth both regionally and nationally,” he adds.

Nationwide network of hubs

Going forward, Digital Catapult is committed to opening a number of Immersive Labs across the country, creating network of hubs nationwide.

“The UK already has a rich heritage in sectors where immersive technologies are likely to have the largest and most immediate impact; the creative industries manufacturing and health,” said Aurelian Simon, Head of Immersive at Digital Catapult. “So, establishing immersive labs in key regions across the country like this one in Brighton, will further benefit the development of the industry.”


Broadcast’s publisher MBI is holding an event called ’The Virtual Reality Creative Summit’ on Tuesday 5 December at Picturehouse Central, London. The summit will look at the impact of immersive content within the film, broadcast and advertising industries. You can find out more by clicking here.