Virtual reality is a big business, and it’s projected to reach $30 billion a year by 2020. Everyone is trying to get in on this trend now that it’s not relegated to video games and science fiction anymore. Meta is developing an AR headset that comes with 3-D software development software, aiding the race to develop uses for the technology now that it has become more readily available. Microsoft’s hololens was developed to entice businesses to get in on the virtual reality and augmented reality boom on the horizon.
Once businesses are convinced of the unique opportunities presented by virtual and augmented reality developers will be able to create an entire virtual world for users to experience. Facebook has begun testing social media capabilities with their AR glasses, which will overlay friends’ status updates on top of your current environment. You will be able to see their avatars in a different environment along with their status updates.
What even more far out than that is Sony and Samsung’s contact lenses that will be controlled by conscious blinking. That’s right, they will be able to distinguish between conscious and unconscious blinking and act accordingly. Videos and pictures will be projected directly into your eyes.
The big question now is whether virtual reality or augmented reality will be the bigger category. Virtual reality is currently much more accessible- anyone with a smartphone and a $15 Google Cardboard device can use virtual reality already. Augmented reality is considerably more complicated- it involves haptic feedback and binaural audio to make you feel immersed in the virtual environment.
Augmented reality may prove to have more usefulness than virtual reality where the rubber hits the road. While smartphones are growing in popularity worldwide, augmented reality may offer a better communication experience for users down the road. Why call someone when you can interact with them virtually and have a more realistic experience? Networking is another area that may benefit from augmented reality- imagine having someone’s social profiles hovering over their heads as you speak to them. Even acquaintances will seem like lifelong friends. Marketing could even get better- marketers will be able to target specific users with information they want to see instead of bombarding everyone with the same old thing.
The next computer you buy is probably going to be one that you wear. We’re already in a market where technology users are wearing fitness trackers and watches that answer the phone for them, so the idea of a wearable computer that allows you to interact with your friends when they are far away or see their social media updates right in your glasses isn’t that far-fetched. The future is going to look like Google glass on steroids, and the potential revenue to be made will be massive.
The possibilities are endless for virtual reality and augmented reality’s business and marketing marketplace potential. Learn more about the future of wearable technology from this infographic. You might be surprised just how close the future is getting!