This topic was talk of the town this May at the third annual Market Research Summit. Central to the day was an Innovation Showcase. Four companies harnessing technology to provide new ways of deriving insight were given just five minutes to pitch their idea before a live vote.

The winner? Well the audience was so torn, we ended up with two! But in my eyes Third Eye Consumer Technologies stole the show with their innovation The Blue Room. This is an immersive reality product capable of replicating any environment — from a supermarket aisle to a busy city street — and transporting users there without the need for glasses or headsets.

Virtual reality technology such as the Blue Room has huge implications for market research: it has the potential to affect everything from the way we conduct ethnography through to the entire process for developing and testing products. But will virtual reality ever replace the need for in situ research? Only time and further innovation in the space will tell.