2017 will be an Epic Year for Virtual and Augmented Reality

“Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything.”

So began Steve Jobs with this inspirational quote during his keynote speech when Apple launched the first iPhone, ten years ago, this month, on January 9, 2007.

The iPhone changed the entire landscape for mobile as a platform for consuming information.

Even a decade later, the impact that the smartphone has had on our lives is undeniable as it was the device that put the internet in our pockets. It was at that very moment that we became a mobile-first world.

In 2017, virtual reality and augmented reality hold the same potential for entirely new ways of consuming and experiencing information. Last year was a watershed year for VR and AR with all the big tech companies, including Facebook, Google and Microsoft, making huge investments in AR/VR platforms and products.

Apple is expected to enter the foray soon and it would be perfect timing to bring in another revolutionary product in 2017, it being the 10th anniversary year of the iPhone.

AR/VR Technology Will Become Consumer-friendly

In 2017, companies are just starting to make AR/VR more accessible to consumers. According to Jacob Mullins, CEO at Exitround, Facebook will begin to introduce VR experiences to its 1.79 billion monthly active users this year.

ZapBox: “Mixed Reality”, a tool that creates fun mixed reality environments, represents an early attempt to establish VR as an everyday tool for consumers. ZapBox has already received more than $84,000 in funding thanks to Zappar’s Kickstarter campaign. The product developers’ goals are to make AR accessible, affordable, and enjoyable for everyone.

American home improvement giant, Lowe’s, has launched “Holorooms” in several stores. At these locations, customers can test appliance layouts by creating virtual rooms with specified dimensions. Lowe’s is also developing an AR experience that would let customers shop without leaving their homes, by superimposing new products over their existing rooms. Just imagine how this changes the online shopping landscape!

AR/VR Industry to Hit $120 Billion by 2020

VR and AR don’t only have applications in consumer markets. Digi-Capital, a research and management consulting firm, recently forecasted that AR/VR revenue will hit $120 billion by 2020. Although the VR industry is currently driven by entertainment apps, non-entertainment VR apps are expected to become at least a portion of revenue by 2020.

For the AR industry, Digi-Capital forecasts that AR hardware revenue will initially drive the market, with augmented commerce, data, voice, video, enterprise, theme park, advertising, apps and games revenues following suit over the long term.

2017: What lies ahead

VR and AR will change and even enhance the way in which we experience information, tell stories, demo products and businesses. Given all the advancements and predictions that are being made about the AR/VR industries, 2017 could very well be the turning point for their mainstream growth.

Key industries to look out for that will experience exponential growth on VR/AR platforms are Healthcare, Automobile, Car Dealerships, Tourism and Education.

To learn more about what is Virtual and Augmented Reality and how it is already disrupting the Real Estate industry, check out our blog here.

If you are only just starting out and would love to experience immersion in VR apps on existing iOS and Android phones, then Google Cardboard is an excellent and affordable headset option for under AU$ 25.

Steve Jobs ended that same inspiring keynote at the launch of iPhone quoting

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.

We believe Virtual and Augmented Reality platforms will well and truly reach mass adoption in 2017.