Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR) have the clear opportunity to enhance and disrupt the world as we experience it.
However, the ecosystem is stuttering and the inflection point is still to come. As the ecosystem of software, hardware and developers work towards creating more scalable and cost-effective methods to drive mass adoption.
We’ve seen some great implementations for both fun and serious applications over the years and it’s given us a peek into the sci-fi future we’ve all been reading about. So, what’s really around the corner in 2019?
2018, was a good year for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Wireless was a major buzzword and the move to cheaper, stand-alone HMDs was underway in VR. In AR, a new apps hit Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, allowing users to measure distances without a tape measure or simulate their new home interiors and designs.
But, my bet is on AR! As it promises us to overlay the world around us with insights and experiences, clearly enhancing the quality of life. It will be more deeply and smartly integrated into smartphones and will venture into the real world, far beyond gaming.
Web Based AR : Google Chrome for mobile will be the first official release browser supporting WebAR. Apple would also be announcing its support for GLTF in their QuickLook AR viewer. Hence no needs for downloading apps or the need for special software. Web based AR will work with existing websites, making it easily accessible and truly universal in it’s appeal and adoption.
AR Hardware? A new version of Microsoft Hololens should come out later this year, but adoption would possibly be more commercial/industrial, for training on complex subjects.AR smartglasses are being developed, but commercially viable price points with interesting software coming in, has still some distance to traverse.
VR Hardware : The new release of OculusQuest could make it to the mass market, if it gets it pricing and ‘appeal’ right. But that appears to be the only mass consumer product offering that the industry could be banking on. VR HMDs still remain the only options being developed, but the challenge remains that users will still not be able to see beyond the HMD. Apple could get into the race as well, but not with the current versions of iphone though. 5 G and the next generation of mobile platforms could be the calling cards for Apple and the other smartphone majors.
Design & Development : This has been akey challenge for even serious brands and organizations willing to invest and pitch in for the long haul. But the industry will increasingly move away from desktop development to more in-VR development.
Where would VR & AR be really exciting?
a. Industrial : For the coming few years, industrial applications around training, design, simulation would clearly be the way to go. The results are proven, the use cases / problems are clearly there to be addressed and the ability to deliver ROI is written on the wall.
b. Differently Abled : For the elderly and differently abled, both offer the bridge and lifeline to augment their lives and truly experience the world around them, in a smoother and more seamless way. Their right to an independent dignified life is made much stronger with both
c. Retail : This is the really exciting one, as retailers would simulate and enable commerce in interesting and refreshing methods. Be it suggesting new dresses or buying stuff from your kitchen, as you see the shopping aisle, it will allow for a new dimension of interactivity and conversation with consumers.
d. Gaming : This isn’t just about hard core gamersbut about brands engaging with their consumers via new age gaming experiences.
So, brace yourself.
Image source : ICTEvangelist