Latest Trends in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality – How AR/VR/MR are Impacting Different Businesses?

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Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, through their ground-breaking and interactive computer simulation, have been welcomed with open arms by the populace and has taken over the digital world by storm. Based on the intensive analysis of global business trend and consumer behaviour stats, by 2022, the minimum market value of AR and VR technology can be projected as an astounding $200 billion. From the 1968 Wireframe Drawings to Microsoft HoloLens in 2016, and now with top guns like ARCore by Google and Apple’s ARKit in this arena, Augmented Reality, that once was considered as an overambitious idea, has now been embedded even in our individual portable devices making this impracticality – a science-based reality.

Latest AR/VR Technology

Up until 2018, Virtual and Augmented Reality mostly benefitted limited business sectors such as Gaming, eCommerce, and Marketing. However, witnessing the success of this technology, multi-national organizations and even start-ups are following the suit of expanding their horizons with R&D in Augmented Reality. A Tokyo-based company, Vaqso, bagged around $600,000 by investors in a seed round by their odour-emitting Head-mounted Device (HMD) attachment. Furthermore, FeelReal VR masks and Nirvana helmets are empowering the user with a multisensory virtual experience by stimulating vibrations, wind, heat, and more. This broadens the applicability of VR to further horizons including ‘food and beverages’, therapeutic, and entertainment industries.

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Winners of Best of Innovation Awards in VR in Consumers Electronics Show (CES) 2018, LooxidVR’s 2 eye-tracking cameras and 6 EEG (electroencephalogram or brain-wave) sensors provide unprecedented interaction and control to the user through emotion recognition. What the future holds in VR is unparalleled in every sense. Making our beloved Sci-fi movies come true, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are evolving at an exceptional rate to become the next phase of technological advancement of the early 21st century.

What is in it for Businesses?

AR/VR developers now have unparalleled access to create highly sophisticated Augmented Reality apps for individuals as well as businesses all across the world. The latest AR/VR trends and innovations have not only impressed the critics but it has encouraged the recorded sales of 11 million VR headsets in 2016, followed by 13 million in the next year, and in 2018, there are an estimated 171 million VR users across the globe. Following the same trend, we can estimate the access rate of VR/AR content to reach almost 1 billion per day in the next 2-3 years.

At the same time, opting for a 3-D display in an organization may not fall under the affordable category. Still, more than 500 startups have instilled Augmented Reality in their office spaces due to the return of investment that AR, VR, and MR bring to the table for different commercial sectors. The virtual environment, as per your business requirement, boosts up your business’ productivity and to achieve this target, your organization can opt for Augmented Reality Office spaces where employees can recreate their own working spaces. This way, if you or your employees need to virtually gaze at the horizon, maybe a beach, or just a quiet place to work, whatever it is, AR/VR can help those wishes become your personal Virtual Reality.

How AR/VR/MR Trends Are Impacting the Businesses?

Being an integral part of Business Development, AR/VR has revolutionized multiple small and large scale businesses catering to dating apps, sports apps, marketing, tourism and more. Brands across the globe have recognized the advantages of Augmented Reality depending on their respective business genres, and on the basis of compelling data points, let us analyze how a specific business can utilize the collaboration of these AR/VR tools.

1. Leading the Virtual Reality Gaming

In the entire AR/VR segment, the gaming industry currently holds the top position with an approximate Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 152.7% from 2017 to 2023. This estimates the Augmented Reality Gaming Market to be worth $284.93 billion by the end of 2023. One of the visible AR trends in gaming was observed by the overwhelming reaction received by Pokémon Go. Downloaded 750 million times, Nintendo’s Augmented Reality game generated a revenue of $1.8 billion in a short period of 2 years. Also, other VR Gaming platforms like Sega, Sony, Commodore, and Atari receive enormous backing by publishers and developers.

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The technology has evolved this sector as an addiction to their target audience including professional gamers as well as gaming aspirants, making it a bankable investment for the stakeholders. By 2020, the leading VR consoles and PC-tethered VR headsets by HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, providing larger-than-life experience in adventure, action, stealth, and arcade games, are estimated to ship 5.4 million AR glass units. This number along with other Augmented Reality devices could even cross a total of 64.8 million AR units.

2. Ease of Servicing in Field Service Organizations (FSOs)

Field Technicians use Augmented Reality for troubleshooting and executing field repairs, consulting with their colleagues and other experts, as well as for reviewing servicing cases well in advance to any probable anomaly. Augmented Reality HMD worn like eyeglasses enable the user’s interaction with accurate digital information without impeding their physical view. Presently, Augmented Reality developers are also taking important aspects into consideration while developing such technology including the complexity and physical condition of a specific item being serviced as well as the location where the service is being carried out.

B2B Buyer behavior analysis by Aberdeen Group, a global market intelligence company, suggests that 72% of the best field service industries opt for Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality or Mixed Reality. Consequently, a business can either opt for either traditional smart glasses or even the latest mobile apps to access this technology depending upon the need of the task. While the former provides a 3-D view at all time and offers high bandwidth connectivity for uninterrupted service, mobile devices, on the other hand, provide an unobstructed field of view, have a longer lifespan, and are easily replaceable.

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Furthermore, customers are getting introduced and accustomed to such services, and they favour the company that embraces technology to enhance its quality. Consequently, the percentage of FSOs opting for AR/VR is expected to experience a steep increment to compete in the user and tech-driven market.

3. Upgrading Military with Augmented Reality (AR) Technology

In the present defense sector, the efficiency of the military is defined by its technology instead of just the head counts. National security enforcers across the globe are being trained for Augmented Reality and its implementation in the warfare, disaster management, and for national security purposes. AR/VR training in flight and combat simulations by army, navy and air force helps the soldiers to experience virtual psychological conditions so as to train them to deal in challenging situations.

During regular flights, Augmented Reality systems can address emergencies and guide pilots. This significantly mitigates the risks of takeoffs and landings. Important information regarding the weather updates, terrain details, waypoints, and flight plans can also be provided to the pilots and ATC for improved accuracy and safety. In 2017, North America constituted 60% of the total military grade AR market, however, recently, India, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan among several other developing countries are redirecting a considerable amount of military and defense budget into research and development (R&D) of situational awareness AR technologies. With the available data and forecasting by defense gurus, military AR market can escalate by a whopping 17.4% from a previously recorded $511 million in 2017 to an estimated $1.79 billion by 2025.

4. Unlocking Manufacturing Potential in Engineering

Although manufacturing and engineering firms have been implementing Virtual Reality in the form of Powerwall systems and Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE), as compared to the new headsets, CAD and Open GL-based graphics formats are very different and also considerably expensive. HoloLens, with its mobility and affordability, has apparently paved the path for the engineering sector in the Mixed Reality. Although, concluding that the latest technology has completely replaced the CAVES and Powerwall would be too early to say but the new trend has certainly emerged as a pathbreaker and it’s in the making of its own distinct future.

Automotive manufacturing giants such as Airbus and General Motors have already implemented AR/VR/MR technologies for holographic applications. The real-time virtual-time environment thus created helps engineers and designers leverage the true potential of IT to view, assess and modify significant design variants for improved operations.

In the civil engineering and architectural sector, VR technology is implemented for 360-degree virtual walks through an entire construction site. While traveling virtually, the memory can be added to the cloud, which can, later on, be assessed by the managers to make minuscule alterations if required. Progress visualization tools such as Building Information Model (BIM) assists constructional managers to track real-world progress with that of the original designs in case of any deviations. Growing at 22.9% CAGR from 2016 to 2024, BIM that was once valued at $3.6 billion in 2016, is expected to reach $18.8 billion within the next 6 years.

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Floor planning technology by Augmented Reality helps the consumers including DIY individuals or groups to measure and draw a full floor plan merely from a few images. Moreover, apart from being extensively applicable in the engineering sector, this application targets a large audience including crime scene investigators, Airbnb hosts, realtors, and more.

5. Improving Quality of Education

Goldman Sachs has estimated that roughly $700 million will be invested in the AR/VR by educational sectors by 2025. More than 90% of educators believe that Virtual Reality consisting of Instructional content improves learning ability and practical implementation of the knowledge by multi-fold as compared to the textbooks and regular lectures. Virtual, augmented and mixed reality (VAMR) enhance the learning experience for students as well as helps them attain all-round development within a significantly less time.

Considering such overwhelming feedback from the students, teachers and schools all across the world, an education data company of the marketing division of Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) – Market Data Retrieval (MDR) – has emerged as one of the prominent global B2B leaders in connecting educators with the latest technology. With the emerging need for learning and gaining quality knowledge, AR/VR is bringing a progressive change in the education sector.

6. Revolutionizing the Medical Technology

Next, to only gaming, AR/VR in medicine is estimated to gain a market share of more than $100 Billion. Augmented Reality in medical treatments can significantly change the way that professionals carry out scans and help surgeons during the most complicated operations like brain surgeries. This technology can be used for medical training by providing each student their personal anatomy lab. For the rehabilitation patients, VR/AR games can help them distract from the discomfort and boredom during repetitive and long physiotherapy.

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The engaging and interactive VAMR Technology’s distraction therapy has shown promising results while treating burn patients as well as those with psychological issues including anxiety, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, dementia, and acrophobia. Although in the medical sphere, economically, AI or machine learning is giving a tough competition in Radiology/Pathology but just like all other technological equipment, medical VAMR possesses a very high potential to be universally adopted by the Med Tech industry.

7. Increasing Retail Sales with Augmented Reality

Enhancing the shopping experience of the consumers by removing the physical tests and trials, in a $5.2 billion retail VR/AR market, businesses are constantly developing and upgrading to more engaging and interactive virtual experience for their consumers. Furniture, clothes, foods and beverages, and footwear are the most popular AR retail sectors. Furniture company such as IKEA, Uniqlo in their clothing, Yihaodian in grocery shopping, Converse in their shoes, and many other organizations have extensively implemented AR in their business models.

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Be it designing custom goods or browsing a 360-degree virtual environment to merely creating a fancy AR/VR interface in the stores, retail is currently a $7 billion industry where 61% of shoppers choose AR stores above regular shops and 72% of the AR users end up buying a product just because of their AR experience. By 2020, Augmented Reality will constitute more than 75% share of the estimated $162 Billion AR/VR global retail market.

With limitless sales and marketing prospects, AR and VR provide businesses the ability to collaborate and comprehend the ideas and strategies of the best minds to come alive. With the vast advantages of AR/VR/MR, businesses have a fair chance to achieve their true potential by taking a major step towards a better tomorrow and emerging as a momentous part of the monumental technological history in the making called Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality.

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