Vertical-focused resellers are the best placed to cash in on the booming shipments of virtual reality (VR) headsets, according to analyst Canalys.
The analyst predicts shipments will exceed two million units globally in 2016, a figure set to rocket to 20 million by 2020.
Vendors have so far made a play with the technology in the business space - for example, Microsoft HoloLens has been demoed to partners at the vendor's global partner gig for the last two years as it talks up the opportunity for them.
Canalys analyst Joe Kempton said there is an "excellent opportunity" for the channel to sell and profit from the technology.
"The main priority for business will be targeting resellers with an explicit vertical focus," Kempton said. "Some less well-known brands are explicitly attempting to target the enterprise VR space as a differentiator.
"Many resellers will have experience with VR devices, but will not be familiar with reselling them to the enterprise space. Companies focused on businesses will need to engage IT channels and encourage distributors and resellers to take up their products," he noted. "That said, for some business verticals, volumes will remain low."
The analyst said there are lots of business use cases for the technology that the channel can exploit.
"It can be used in the advertising and events industry, with product demonstrations and for brand marketing," he said. "Similarly, in the tourism and hospitality sector, VR can be used for venue previews and virtual tours. In education, VR can be used for remote learning and video experiences to engage children and adults alike. It is well suited for modeling and visualization across a range of industries, and is excellent for prototyping and production, for example being used in conjunction with 3D printing.
Kempton also said that VR can have "considerable impact" on the healthcare industry. He noted that the technology offers medical professionals the ability to practice complex procedures safely, assist with patient recovery and can be used to treat phantom pain associated with lost limbs.
However, the analyst said the biggest challenge for companies will be finding partners willing to create bespoke content in these areas that solve real business needs.
"The enterprise space will really take off when smart VR headsets - which can function independently - become as powerful as tethered, basic VR headsets - which rely on other devices," Kempton said. "This will offer those using the smart VR headsets full and unconstricted movement, while still delivering a powerful and immersive VR experience."