Virtual Reality Technology: Architecture, Tools, Team, and Costs

Virtual Reality (VR) Technology: An Implementation Guide - ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft has 24 years of experience in 3D modeling and provides professional VR development services.

The Essence of Virtual Reality Technology

Virtual reality is a technology that allows to move multiple activities into the virtual realm and thus reduce the costs, the time, and – in some cases – even the corporeal risks related to performing these activities in biological reality.

Adoption of VR Technology

In 2020, the global VR market accounted for $6.1 billion, and it is projected to reach $20.9 billion by 2025. The market’s key driving force is the growing affordability of VR-enabled hardware.

61% of businesses believe that VR is beneficial. Out of them, 23% are already using VR in practice, 21% introduce VR right now, and 18% plan to introduce VR soon.

Virtual Reality Technology Application

VR in Healthcare

VR for Medical Education

VR for Medical Education

Immersive learning for medical students.

Use cases:
Anatomy learning
Medical social skills learning

VR for Medical Training

VR for Medical Training

Risk-free medical practice to gain required skills.

Use cases:
Emergency simulation
Medical manipulation simulation
Medical equipment use

VR for Surgery

VR for Surgery

Mock-surgeries without expensive mannequins.

Use cases:
Surgery simulation
Pre-surgical planning
Surgical device marketing

VR for Pain Management

VR for Pain Management

Patient distraction to avoid the use of painkillers.

Use cases:
Chronic pain
Acute pain
Mental pain and anxiety

VR for Rehabilitation

VR for Rehabilitation

Gamified exercises for cheaper individual rehabilitation.

Use cases:
Neurological rehabilitation
Physical therapy
Cognitive rehabilitation

VR for Stroke Rehab

VR for Stroke Rehab

Safe remote exercises for stroke rehabilitation.

Use cases:
Physical function restoration
Cognitive abilities improvement

Virtual Shopping

Virtual Shopping

Online-shopping that helps to reduce product return rate and simplify marketing activities.

Use cases:
Virtual showrooms
Brand promotion
Customer research
Get a VR Software Idea to Implement?
Rely on ScienceSoft’s 3D modeling and VR software development capabilities to create user-friendly and advanced virtual reality applications.

How Virtual Reality Works

Architecture

Below is a high-level VR technology architecture that applies to all VR solutions, regardless of their application field.

High-level VR technology architecture - ScienceSoft

The key module of the architecture is VR software, which is responsible for:

  • Processing of input data, generally received via motion controllers and haptic gloves.
  • Feedback generation (including visual rendering) for output devices like HMD and smart glasses and speakers.
  • Physics simulation to apply the laws of physics to the virtual world.
  • Data load (3D models, audio, video) from the database.

VR software has two-way communication with the cloud databases: software requests and receives from the cloud such key content as 3D models, textures, and audio. All this content can be uploaded to the database (as well as deleted from it) via a web administration panel.

Features

Depending on custom submodules in VR applications, the following features can be introduced:

AI-controlled virtual characters

for introducing virtual guides, assistants, patients, etc.

Motion- and eye-tracking sensor input processing

for rehabilitation VR and motion/gaze-controlled interfaces.

User performance analytics

for VR training or physical therapy software.

Voice recognition

to allow voice-based control and conversations with virtual characters.

Haptics device input processing and feedback generation

for realistic palpable experiences.

In-app video streaming

for media playback in the VR environment.

Virtual Reality Technology Elements

VR platform

Options: Unreal Engine, Unity, Amazon Sumerian, CRYENGINE.

Unreal Engine
Key Features
  • VR software development language: C++.
  • 2019 Technology & Engineering Emmy (3D Engine Software for the Production of Animation).
  • Supports 10+ VR platforms, including OpenVR, Windows Mixed Reality, Samsung Gear VR.
  • Asset store with photorealistic visuals.
Best for

Non-mobile VR projects; mobile VR that needs high rendering quality.

Pricing
  • Free: noncommercial projects or projects with up to $1 million lifetime gross revenue.
  • Paid: 5% of the gross revenue when a project’s lifetime revenue exceeds $1 million.
Unity
Key Features
  • VR software development language: C#.
  • Used for creating over 91% percent of Microsoft HoloLens VR content.
  • Partnerships with Apple, Google, Magic Leap, Microsoft, Oculus, Sony.
  • Supports over 20 VR platforms, including Google Cardboard Android and iOS, VR Linux, and Google Stadia.
  • Diverse visual asset store, rich in business-related content.
Best for

VR projects with no high-end rendering; mobile VR projects.

Pricing
  • Free: if revenue/funding <$100K in the last 12 months.
  • Plus: (access to collaboration tools) – $399/year per seat.
  • Pro: (source code access + analytics and diagnostics) – $1,800/year per seat.
  • Enterprise: (includes industry-specific toolkits) – $200/month per seat, min 20 seats.
Amazon Sumerian
Key Features
  • VR software development languages: HTML, JavaScript, CSS.
  • Cross-platform (written once, app code can run on different platforms).
  • Partnerships with Samsung and Sony.
  • Compatible with WebGL and WebVR, OpenVR, iOS ARKit, Android ARCore.
  • Storage is included in the subscription.
  • Use of Amazon Rekognition, Amazon Comprehend, and Amazon’s conversational interfaces – Polly (text-to-speech technology) and Amazon Lex (text + voice chatbot).
Best for

VR projects that heavily involve interaction with virtual characters.

Pricing
  • Free first 12 months of use: <50MB uploaded asset data, <100 views (5GB)/month, limited use of Polly and Lex.
  • Pay-as-you-go: $0.06/GB of 3D assets + $0.38/GB/month + $4.00/1 million characters for Polly + $0.004/voice request + and $0.00075/text request for Lex.

Cloud data storages

Options: Amazon S3, Azure Blob Storage.

Azure Blob Storage
Key Features
  • Access to Azure Mixed Reality and Azure Object Anchors (aligning 3D visuals to real coordinates).
  • Affordable storage.
  • Low latency by default.
  • Latency control is defined by the type of storage and plan chosen.
  • Built-in data security.
Best for

VR projects with strict compliance requirements; businesses with a tight budget or start-ups.

Pricing

Based on DTUs (DTU = CPU + Memory + I/O data).

  • Basic tiers: 5 DTUs, 2 GB max storage – ~$4.9/month.
  • Standard tiers: 10 - 3,000 DTUs, 250GB - 1TB data – ~$14.72-$4,415/month.
  • Premium tiers: 125 - 4,000 DTUs, 500GB-4TB data – ~$456-$15,698/month.
Amazon S3
Key Features
  • Access to Amazon’s deep learning and natural language processing algorithms.
  • Stores file objects from 1 byte to 5TB in size.
  • Ability to choose data storage regions to optimize latency.
  • Rich cloud monitoring pack.
  • Possibility to move infrequently used files to cheaper storage.
Best for

AI-driven VR projects; projects with strict compliance requirements.

Pricing
  • Free first 12 months of use: 5GB of standard storage; 15GB of data traffic.
  • Standard: general storage for all types of data – on average $0.022/GB.
  • Intelligent: automatic cost savings for data with changing access patterns – on average $0.022/GB.

Basic Virtual Reality Team Composition and Skills

  • VR software architect.
  • 3D model designer (options: Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3DS Max, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Substance Painter, Adobe Illustrator).
  • Simulation designer (NVIDIA FleX).
  • VR developer (options: C++; C#; HTML, JavaScript, CSS).
  • Back-end developers (options: .NET; PHP; Python; Java; Golang; Node.js).
  • Front-end developers (HTML, JavaScript, CSS).
Need to Assemble a Solid VR Development Team?
Over 31 years in C++ development of low-latency immersive applications, 24 years in 3D modeling, partnerships with Microsoft and Amazon – ScienceSoft has got all these and more competencies for helping you build high-end virtual reality software.

General cost factors

  • Method of acquiring/creating key visual assets (photoshoot, 3D CAD rendering, video shoot).
  • Number of user roles.
  • Platforms and device types targeted.

Additional costs

  • Hardware (Tethered VR: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index; Mobile VR: Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream View; Standalone VR: Lenovo Mirage Solo.)
  • Development of additional modules (AI, analytics, etc.)
  • Integration with third-party software and/or hardware.

Operational costs

Cloud services – costs depend on the volume of stored data, bandwidth, and a cloud services provider’s pricing policy.

VR Technology Consulting and Development with ScienceSoft

Thanks to 31 years in software development and 24 years in 3D modeling, ScienceSoft delivers top-class virtual reality software.

Virtual Reality consulting

  • VR app/module concept finalization.
  • Implementation road-mapping.
  • Planning of integration with various types of software.
  • Planning of integration with a wide range of hardware devices.

Virtual Reality development

  • Business analysis and research.
  • Software architecture design.
  • 3D modeling.
  • UX and UI design.
  • VR development and QA.
  • Integration with various types of hardware and software.
  • Support and evolution.

About ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft is a global IT consulting and software development vendor. We build virtual reality software tailored to our customers’ specific industries and for different use cases.