In a 2016 study from Parks Associate, 63% of U.S households say they are not familiar with or know nothing about virtual reality.
And perhaps the reason why VR isn’t gaining the mainstream recognition it truly deserves is that of its supposed lack of relevance to our generation.
Think about it — what technologies do you have that you constantly use? And why do you use it?
For me personally, it’s all about making my life easier.
My smartphone allows me to check my emails, calendar, and messages simultaneously. To think that’s as easy as it can get— my smartwatch allows me to do all of this at just a single glance, avoiding the extra step of taking my phone out of my pocket. I even bought myself overpriced wireless earphones to avoid the hassle of tangled wires (don’t get me wrong though — I love them).
For Virtual Reality, that’s a whole other story. In the past, you’d have to take your expensive VR headset, connect it to a monitor, install a few programs, and finally put on that five-pound brick to start using it.
How will we streamline the process, and when will we start seeing tangible benefits from them? Who knows, but what we do know is the many obstacles VR faces that prevent them from succeeding.
Here are some of the biggest obstacles of Virtual Reality.
If you can’t afford it, you can’t own it
That goes for anything, really. But for virtual reality, you’re looking at investing in a couple hundred dollars to own a headset. Even with the entry-level Google Cardboard available for much less, if you wanted to really immerse yourself in VR, you’d have to invest. And an HTC Vive goes for roughly $500, not to mention you’ll probably need a powerful computer (which isn’t cheap).
Although companies like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are investing billions into the VR industry, consumers are still not quite ready for it.
Further compounding the already steep entry cost is the technical hurdle you’ll need to overcome in order to run VR software on your home computer.
Though, this soon will no longer be a problem. Technical advances like the Oculus Go is a much more affordable and accessible VR headset that released earlier this year. For just $199, you can take your virtual reality experience literally anywhere.
There’s a lack of content in Virtual Reality
Let’s face it — consumers don’t recognize the powerful impact VR has yet. If you turn to the closest person you see and ask them what they think Virtual Reality is used for, most likely the answer would be for gaming.
But there’s much more to it than that.
The key to VR mainstream adoption is not hardware, but quality, immersive experiences.
Why buy a Virtual Reality system when there’s no powerful, useful content available? Sure, there are a lot of amazing VR games out there, but why limit VR to entertainment?
That’s why companies are beginning to realize that Virtual Reality is capable of so much more.
For instance, VR can simulate a professional training platform that may have been impossible due to physical inaccessibility. Or, on another hand (and our personal favorite), help companies visualize their big data sets that may have taken them weeks to analyze and interpret.
Even so — VR’s lack of content is temporary, and we’ll soon be seeing more enterprise and consumer use-cases for this in the coming years.
AI and 5G are still in their early stages
Although the tech industry claims that further enhancements in both AI and 5G will guide Virtual Reality to its true potential, we’re looking at waiting until 2020 for it to be fully mature.
Cellular communication is simply not adequate enough for the demands of Virtual/Augmented reality. Once we expand the spectrum to much higher bands, then we’ll be able to launch powerful, faster, and more reliable wireless communications.
With 5G’s high-speed, low latency connection, image quality will inevitably be boosted and streaming VR can be operated through the cloud than the cord. In addition, AI will help build more enhanced VR experiences by identifying user input and context in real time.
What does this mean? Do we just wait until 2020 to start utilizing it? Well… not exactly.
Companies are beginning to already adopt 5G and AI into Virtual (and Augmented) Reality, and it’ll only grow from here. Don’t wait, or else you’ll fall behind. :-)
Even with the obstacles that Virtual Reality faces, there are still many VR use cases in the enterprise that are growing rapidly. In fact, Virtual Reality is expected to grow twentyfold to becoming a $30+ billion industry by 2020.
Whether you’re training your new employees or visualizing big data, you’ll no longer have to be confined to a 2D and rectangular screen.
Soon, you’ll be able to interact with technology in the same manner in which you interact with the real world.
To learn more about BadVR, visit us at https://badvr.com/