The Conviction of AR and VR
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are two of today's most popular buzzwords. Based on the number of articles produced in context of these topics the past year or so, it can be safely alleged that AR and VR have aroused interest among an untold number of writers, but also, it appears that potential consumers have opened their eyes to these technologies. Consequently, conspicuous high expectations arise.
This blog will address AR and VR on a general basis and briefly discuss typical expectations and predictions for the technologies. Also, it will explain why you should prepare for an AR/VR breakthrough.
What is AR and VR?
Before trying to convince you that you should prepare for a future that includes AR and VR, let us start with first things first; i.e. brief explanations of the technologies.
AR is a technology that enables to combine the physical world and virtual data, resulting in the user achieving an enhanced perception of reality. VR, however, is a technology which separates the user from reality, as the user is presented a realistic sense of presence in a completely simulated world. Based on this, it is quite easy to understand that such technological trends create fascination, or what?
We are dealing with game-changing technological trends
As of now, I would claim that it is safe to say that the answer to every question regarding if AR and VR will be a part of our everyday life, is Yes – and that, preferably, with a big capital letter. I.e., AR and VR are definitely NOT two vaunted technologies which now, after having had their "fifteen minutes of fame", is, or will be, forgotten about.
Supporting this we have the related expectations, which, as I have barely mentioned, are neither low, nor few - among potential consumers as well as experts. Given that AR and VR have shown to have the potential to subvert sectors including e-commerce, entertainment, healthcare and education, experts´ opinions and accompanying conclusions have accelerated. I.e., experts' forecasts are innumerable and ambiguous, of which a few kill the assertion regarding AR and VR having an impact on our future everyday lives, while many, on the other hand, are convinced that these technologies are amongst technologies so revolutionary that they will become game-changers in the near future. But at what point can we expect these technologies to be a natural part of our society?
Are you ready to make use of such technology within just a few years?
In the sea of predictions, it is deemed natural to include Gartner´s Hype Cycle, of which the cycle of 2017 suggests that AR and VR will be mainstream within a short period of time, i.e. 5-10 and 2-5 years, respectively (Gartner, 2017). And although the name of the cycle may cause us to wonder whether or not these technologies will remain trends in a hype phase, it is worth mentioning that Gartner is far from alone in being confident that we sooner rather than later will implement more virtuality into the physical world.
Vast sums of money are flowing in the market, which experts predict is just the beginning
More specifically; most experts are coherent that virtuality will continue to be implemented into our society, of which it can be stated that the measures of which the substantial mass of market players lately have been initiating suggest that these technologies are here to stay, mildly put. I.e., genuine interest from well-known players cannot be considered a scarce within this extraordinary market. With pointy elbows and thick wallets, these players are fighting to hedge unique positions, which have allowed for these technologies´ commercial breakthrough.
Not surprisingly, Facebook, Google and Apple were among the companies investing the most significant values within AR and VR in 2016 (Digi-Capital, 2016). It can also be added that investments within these technologies are growing rapidly each year, supported by the fact that a non-modest sum of $4.35 billion was placed in the market between 2010 and 2016, of which as much as nearly
70 % (or $2.9 billion) represents investments occurring solely in 2015 and 2016 (Beringer Finance, 2016).
Technologies that will continue to turn mindsets
Still skeptical of a potential AR/VR breakthrough? Well, if these technologies have succeeded in overturning the pioneer organization Apple's way of thinking, I would guess that you are also likely to get bitten by the bug.
I.e., despite that design chief Jonathan Ive previously have explained that Apple will ignore smart glasses due to the face being "the wrong place" (Charara, 2015), it has lately become quite evident that they are experimenting with such technology. E.g., even though Apple tend to be particularly mysterious about what goes on behind their walls, strategic acquisitions, requests for patents, and training of employees within the field of virtual human interaction, reveal that they are putting effort into investigating this market. Hence, it can be speculated that Apple either have changed their mind as the above examples make it obvious that they have acknowledged that the face may not be such a bad idea after all.
Where will it, if ever, end?
As we are approaching the end of this blog series, it is considered essential to address what the future may look like when including AR and VR technology. Hence, a suitable inclusion is to mention what innovators now are dreaming about when it comes to these technologies; namely to look for ways to use technology to boost the human body to the extreme. E.g., Palmer Luckey, co-founder of the American technology company Oculus, now wants to develop nerve-stimulating implants to make virtual reality experiences more immersive (Futurism, 2017).
Regardless of whether or not you are convinced that AR and VR technology is here to stay, it can, without exaggeration, be ascertained that if these are found to be such important elements within future technology as assumed here, and if market players continue to pave the way in the same pace as they do today, that the near future will prove to be beyond thrilling.