What does the future of augmented reality and virtual reality look like?
When we mention augmented reality and virtual reality (AR and VR) most people think of games and gaming. In actuality AR and VR are different but related technologies that both reflect our growing capability to merge the physical world with a virtual world. Whether its a behind-the-scenes world of data and information or an immersive, manufactured world of simulated experiences, environments, and characters, augmented reality and virtual reality are here.
The global Pokémon Go craze two summers ago introduced people to augmented reality — the layering of a virtual world onto the physical world. We watched people — eyes glued to their smartphones — as they jumped out of cars, accidentally ran into washrooms and fountains, and assumed impossible poses trying to trap rare virtual Pokémon characters that had “spawned” close to real spaces in the physical world.
The game world is fun and it appeals to adults and kids, alike. Plus gaming is projected to lead 2025 AR/VR revenues worldwide, at a healthy $11.6 billion, according to Statista, a statistics portal that indexes 22,500 data sources. But AR and VR also have enormous potential in industrial, healthcare, and other enterprise applications, as well.
Picture healthcare. At the moment, medical students study from text books using 2-D illustrations, and then they move on to cadavers for their first 3-D experiences. But what if they could practice using augmented reality simulations, where they could examine the circulatory system layered onto the musculature layered onto the skeletal system? What if they could practice inserting an IV hundreds of times before confronting a real person? And what if that extra simulated practice could prevent them from missing a vein?
These real-life uses are coming soon. There are already pilot projects underway inside innovative partnerships among medical schools, platform developers, and the manufacturers of proprietary smart glasses, which detect the real world and display data, images, and content onto the user’s field of view. In fact, Statista predicts AR and VR applications in healthcare to reach $5.1 billion by 2025.
Industry is another area that will reap huge real-world advantages using AR and VR technology.
Picture a factory. Workers wearing smart glasses will be able to navigate a machine floor, avoiding danger zones by tracking a factory map overlay enhancing the real world. Or inspectors can view an actual piece of heavy industrial equipment through smart glasses and see its critical data superimposed in real time — when was the last time this machine was serviced, how efficiently is it running, what has been the average lifespan of similar equipment over history, how likely is it to break down in the next day, week, or month? This technology also incorporates IoT innovations, where devices are outfitted with sensors that detect and report on their internal state as well as the state of the environment.
All of this technology — taken alone or together in integrative ecosystems — can inspire massive transformation in all sectors of the economy, from manufacturing to construction, transportation, energy, and healthcare.
It sounds cliched to say it, but the truth is that at this point, the technology is there. The only limit is your imagination. We can build it. Come see for yourself.
At Valence we are working with our clients to develop groundbreaking AR and VR systems for real-world applications. We work with them on technology that opens markets, creates revenue streams, and saves money, all while enhancing customer satisfaction. Contact us, and we’ll start you off with a demo, to show you how remarkable this technology can be!