AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) together had a promising start a few years ago. However, after a bit of a dip in the popularity, both these technologies are again predicted to have exponential growth in 2018. The increased utilization could be the result of the acceptance they have gained in the industries that had previously been reluctant to use them.
As these technologies become more measurable in their utility, which can be tracked by new and improved metrics, they could become indispensable tools for engagement as well as conversion, and brands wouldn’t be able to ignore them. Discussed below are some of the trends and upgrades that could pave the future of these immersive technologies in 2018.
Innovative VR Hardware
Some of the basic VR hardware requires screen-based consoles or laptops to play the virtual visuals, while most of them require a smartphone. These visuals can then be viewed using a VR headset. However, we could soon witness VR equipment with self-contained headsets. These headsets could be powered by the mobile processors of their own, and have a specialized VR display. These VR gear could be used instantly and would not require a support display in the form of a PC or a phone.
Yet another version could have a camera-like positional tracking built into it. This could enable users to go about making simple movements as if they were present at the site of action. It would allow them a more immersive experience through dedicated and specialized apps. Thus, we could have a stand-alone app-driven mobile VR headset, which could add a whole new dimension to the way we currently enjoy the VR experience.
Some of the major players in the industry have realized people may not be comfortable with basic headsets that come along with their smartphones. Hence, we could see more high-end accessories that include sharper-resolution displays to be fitted into it. Also, there could be an enhancement leading to comfier fit and allowing for the extra range of movement. Moreover, a wireless handset could enable the users to do away with the cabled tethering with a PC, and go about roaming freely, without being held in one place.
The ever-improving AR capabilities could find more acceptance across many industries and be used extensively for training, communication and even e-commerce in the near future. For instance, advanced AR tools being developed for healthcare industry are transporting the virtual elements into real-world operating rooms. The advanced AR elements would give much more clarity on patience’s condition, helping the surgical experts with better directions for performing the complex medical procedures.
Training materials driven by VR and AR also helping organizations deliver a more immersive experience for their trainees, while educational institutions are using them to create visually optimized study material that is much more comprehensible for the students.
Established retail brands are also coming up with their VR app, which enables the consumers to navigate the 3D virtual store and view the products using their smartphones or tablets. Such a simulated experience, which can be highly immersive, adds a whole new meaning to the context of user engagement.
This is the reason that most brands focusing on online shopping are looking to take advantage of the new trend of integrating the VR and AR with their e-commerce platform. While this has transformed the commercial perception of both AR and VR, the year 2018 see most companies going by the trend to utilize the revenue generation opportunity.
Similar to the experience in e-commerce, engineers are testing out the application of VR/AR in heavy-duty industries such as real estate and construction machinery. The low-cost virtual prototypes of usually expensive final products such as a multistory building or huge excavators with hydraulic motors can have various advantages. These virtual models would be highly convenient during the design iterations and would also help in reducing the development cost, which could otherwise go beyond the budget with physical models. The ease to make frequent improvements in a VR/AR prototype can also help in optimizing the overall design cycle.
These virtual models can also be quite useful for sales personnel while making product presentations, and we could see more of them being used by enterprises in the next few years. These prototypes enable the sales team to provide the prospective buyers with a first-hand visual experience of the product while allowing the desired changes almost instantaneously to finalize the real-life end-product. Thus, the experience can be highly satisfying for the buyer as well as ensuring the sales pitch is much more effective, which can also help in boosting the conversion rate.
Looking at the advances being made by the key players in the field of VR and AR, the year 2018 could well be the turning point when these technologies could go main-stream. Within few years, we could very well spot VR devices, or AR augmented smartphones with even those we least expected. Also, there is little doubt that the trend would be steered by leading brands and organizations prompting the audience to engage in an interactive 360-degree experience.
- AR and VR are predicted to have exponential growth in 2018.
- The VR headsets could get more sophisticated, powered by the mobile processors of their own.
- Training materials driven by VR and AR could help deliver a more immersive experience.
- VR/AR prototypes can help in optimizing the design cycle and also reduce cost.