Emerging Technology

woman using VR headset

The adoption of virtual reality tech is projected to grow in important industries. Here’s a look at several Canadian virtual reality stocks.

Virtual reality (VR) technology may be but a whisper in Canada right now, but some say the volume is set to get turned up for VR stocks in a matter of just a few years.

While adoption of VR has been fairly slow so far, many industry watchers see this exciting technology as the next evolution of entertainment. Advancements in VR have so far largely come from the video game industry, although the technology is also making a splash in markets such as medicine, business, architecture and manufacturing.

“We think (virtual and augmented reality) has the potential to transform how we interact with almost every industry today, and we think it will be equally transformative both from a consumer and an enterprise perspective,” said Heather Bellini of Goldman Sachs Research in a report.

In terms of overall market size, estimates on the VR space are mixed. Grand View Research states that worldwide, the VR market is expected to reach US$69.6 billion in 2028. The research firm projects that the VR market will grow at a compound annual rate of growth of 18 percent between 2021 and 2028. According to its data, growth is expected to be driven by an influx of smartphone and mobile gaming activity.

In a more bullish estimate, Fortune Business Insights predicts that the global VR market may grow at a compound annual growth rate of 44.8 percent to reach US$84.09 billion by 2028.

In Canada, the VR sector still has yet to make a significant impact on a global scale, although the Washington Technology Industry Association recently partnered with Global Affairs Canada and Trade and Invest BC to launch the Canadian XR Startup Market Accelerator program, a move that could help propel the industry.

Given the relatively small market, how can investors get exposure to Canadian VR stocks? Only a handful are publicly traded, and four players are listed below for investor consideration. Data was gathered on February 17, 2022, and all companies had market caps under C$60 million at that time.

1. Spectra7 Microsystems (TSXV:SEV)

Market cap: C$59.14 million

Spectra7 Microsystems makes VR hardware such as head-mounted displays, as well as chips and ultra-thin screen technology. Its VR-9 DreamWeVR design is an industry first and has an integrated cable, connector and embedded chip product line. Spectra7’s chips allow VR and augmented reality devices to drive 4K UHD and 5K resolutions.

Spectra7’s products integrate unique data and information conduits. These solutions create lightweight and thinner products that can be used by VR headsets, for example. Additionally, the company says that its VR technology can remove as much as 90 percent of the metallic bulk that is used by VR applications to detect signals.

The company recently released its Q4 2021 financials, including preliminary fourth quarter revenue of C$2.6 million, up approximately 600 percent year-over-year. “Based on current order trends and C$9 million in total backlog, Spectra7 expects revenue for the first quarter of 2022 will be in the range of C$3.0 million to C$4.0 million, given current constraints in the semiconductor supply chain,” states a press release.

2. D-Box Technologies (TSX:DBO)

Market cap: C$25.33 million

Based in Quebec, Canada, haptic motion technology company D-Box Technologies designs and manufactures haptic motion systems for the immersive consumer entertainment, simulation and training industries. The company’s technology is employed to enhance movies, video games, music, relaxation, VR applications, metaverse experiences, themed entertainment and professional simulations.

D-BOX Technologies has a partnership with gaming technology company Razer to design the first concept Razer gaming chair featuring D-BOX’s high-fidelity haptic technology. The gaming chair will feature immersive touch-sensory feedback for lifelike sensations based on haptic cues from a variety of games. Embry-Riddle University, one of the largest universities in the aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical education sector, recently bought 12 VR trainer units from D-BOX's partner True Course Simulation.

3. Urbanimmersive (TSXV:UI)

Market cap: C$18.03 million

Urbanimmersive is a software-as-a-service company that provides solutions for visual content providers in the residential and commercial real estate, construction and local business markets.

The company’s platform allows for visual content creation through a website-building tool, along with artificial intelligence-backed image indexing, file transfer systems and interactive visual technologies. The core of this technology is a 3D emulator powered by a post-production visual content recognition algorithm for the cost-effective creation of immersive digital environments.

Urbanimmersive’s 3D Pocket Websites are a new generation of websites powered by the company's propriety 3D emulation technology in which backgrounds are replaced with high-quality 3D immersive experience. When applied in the real estate industry, the technology allows home buyers to visit properties in a more immersive way.

4. XR Immersive Tech (CSE:VRAR)

Market cap: C$13.69 million

Established in 2016, XR Immersive Tech has become a leader in developing social entertainment, as well as VR and augmented reality entertainment. The company claims it is building the world’s first location-based metaverse platform for the out-of-home entertainment industry. XR Immersive Tech’s proprietary Uncontained hardware and software platforms, combined with a growing network of more than 300 VR arcade operators, allow its customers to build immersive user experiences, such as escape rooms and exhibits. Its customers include some of the world's largest companies, such as Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) and Allegiant Air (NASDAQ:ALGT).

XR Immersive Tech’s early 2022 acquisition of Synthesis VR allowed the company to launch full support for all Android standalone/mobile head-mount display VR headsets and XR devices, including a first-to-market digital rights management solution for its network of over 300 global VR arcade operators.

This is an updated version of an article originally published by the Investing News Network in 2017.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.


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