29. Virtual & Augmented reality


Virtual Reality (VR) refers to simulation technology, popularised by the gaming sector, which immerses a person in a digitally created artificial world, either realistic or imaginary. Other implementations such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality have also emerged. The current barriers, particularly in terms of reproducing the physical interaction (touch, force feedback, etc.) between the individual and the digital environment in which they are evolving, and the cost, are set to be overcome in the coming years.


According to Statista, revenue in the Augmented and Virtual Reality market is projected to reach US$8.02bn in 2023 and US$13.61bn by 2027. Increasing use of VR in instructional training, such as for field workers, engineers, mechanics, pilots, defence personnel, and technicians in various industrial sectors, is propelling the market’s growth.

Challenges and opportunities for DSOs

  • Procedural training is the first application of virtual reality, making it possible to put people into situations without the associated risks.
  • VR tools also enable the remote provision of assistance by experts to field technicians during the operation of their tasks
  • Discovery in immersive mode also enables businesses to showcase their activities to a non-expert audience.
  • In the longer term, the technical advances expected will greatly extend the capacity for remote robot control and virtual collaborative work.
  • Cooperation with AR tech companies brings challenges in the usage of a device (e.g. Hololens 2) which is not prepared for a massive rollout for electrician field workers (helmet, difficult environment electromagnetic field, complicated structure of substations).

EDSO Considerations

  • DSOs must follow technological developments relating to Virtual Reality in order to make the most of these advances to improve their operational performance.
  • The intensive use of virtual reality can lead to visual fatigue, dizziness, and even isolation. Therefore, its use should be balanced.
  • Using AR in substations or in the field shows workers additional data (technical attributes, status, safety warnings etc.) which is very difficult regarding data quality and (near) online integration.

Last update: 28 September 2023