The VR/AR continuum
How each industry informs and advances the other
Virtual and augmented reality, though having their own best use cases and applications, will propel each other forward. One encourages the adoption of a wider shared audience of the other. They contribute to each other through new technical developments and functionalities like multi-modal experiences.
Simply put, development in one inherently affects the other by proxy.
According to Goldman Sachs analyst, Heather Bellini, the combined AR and VR market could be pulling in $80 billion in revenue by 2025. This is a massive jump from the $14 billion seen in 2017 and indicates the technology is fast becoming more widely adopted and recognized as a viable means of experiencing digital entertainment or education.
As for AR? The current theory is that we will see a similar uptake in AR as we have seen in VR over the last few years. However, AR has the potential to grow exponentially more widespread and become the next global absolute must-have — even replacing cell phones.
But why are VA and AR touted to have such incredible potential? The answer is simple: versatility.
With AR technology, you can enhance productivity and access to information in the real world while also interacting in these semi-virtual situations. This will bring a lot of utility to enterprises, where an increase in output and accuracy has direct value for a business’s bottom line.
If enterprises can see the use of AR in industrial applications can drive ROI, then large buyers will come forward. Their investments will subsidize the acquisition of expensive AR-focused hardware and help push the technology faster.
Ultimately, this will lower overall AR costs and increase consumer availability. Enterprise adoption is how AR will surpass VR.
This rise in prominence of AR use in the workplace will likely produce a domino effect. As people engage with these technologies in their professional lives, they may be spurred to investigate the applications for their own home use.
Workers may not have the budget to afford the same gear as is supplied to them by the company. But access to AR hardware will definitely give birth to new hobbyists and spark interest for VR in a home setting, where complete immersion is more appropriate (though VR will likely have a role in certain workplace settings, as we’ve already seen).
One thing is clear; the widespread adoption of VR and AR for industrial and business purposes will help:
- Drive research and technological advancement,
- Help keep hardware manufacturers efficient and well funded.
- Spur technological advancements in VR through reapplication to make headsets cheaper, more efficient and more accurate.
Together, these actions will lower prices and increase availability for the average user.
Though AR, VR and other types of mixed reality are clearly different in terms of actual implementation — they feed off each other, forming a sort of symbiotic relationship which serves to encourage innovation, technological advancement and market adoption.
Ciaran Foley is CEO of Ukledo and Immersive Entertainment, Inc. a Southern California virtual reality software company developing a new virtual engagement platform called Virtual Universe (VU).
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