At the start of every year, businesses and industries alike strive to predict what the coming months will bring, and 2019 is no exception. For virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), 2019 looks to be a pivotal year.
Since it hit the mainstream in 2016, Virtual (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology have grown from strength to strength.
Over the years, augmented reality and virtual reality projects continued to be refined. Software Development Kits (SDKs), new hardware, and plenty of consumer-facing apps increased the adoption rate of VR and AR.
The technological progression over the years has seen remarkable changes in the VR and AR front. The close of 2018 saw major hardware news and billions in investments towards the furthering the commercialization of VR and AR.
So what continued developments could we expect from AR and VR technologies in 2019 and beyond?
One of the leading virtual reality companies in Dubai reveals the top five trends and predictions for these transformational, immersive platforms.
1. Increased commercialization
In 2019, expect to see AR and VR increasingly become standard tools across many industries. From retail to the training sector and education, AR and VR technologies offer a boon not provided by any other type of digital technology.
In the retail environment, AR represents new opportunities for retailers to push the boundaries of in-store engagement.
R can simulate scenarios that mimic dangers and hazards in real-life situations.
This allows companies to train their employees in immersive experiences minus the risks.
The two examples above show how companies and industries are experimenting with AR and VR technologies in different ways to transform the way both consumers and employees engage with their physical environments.
2. Introduction of new hardware
The year 2019 will be a big one for new hardware.
The entertainment and gaming spheres are powering the future of AR and VR with new products, such as stand-alone headsets. Oculus Quest, a 2018 mid-year release, is the first of its kind — a stand-alone, all-in-one VR gaming system.
Microsoft is expected to follow suit with its release of the HoloLens 2, a next-gen VR reality system that provides an augmented reality experience. Pundits expect the HoloLens 2 to be released by end of Q1 2019.
Augmented reality is also expected to have a big year.
New consumer-facing apps like Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will expand the real-world use of AR technology. Google Chrome and Apple also recently announced their support for web AR, making AR more and more available to the masses.
3. AI enhancements
Much like AR and VR, artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to make a big splash in 2019. These technologies are colluding to merge and evolve the opportunities of immersive design. AR and VR are finding creative uses for AI that furthers their applications.
Image enhancement functionalities like those found in Instagram and Snapchat filters can already see this. It’s expected that this creative use for AI machine learning and AR will continue well into 2019 and beyond.
The maturity of these technologies will lead to increased sophistication and capability, improving the cognitive functionality of such features.
4. Advancement of mobile-web AR
As previously mentioned, Google expects 2019 to be the future of immersive web. Google’s new API, the WebXR, is expected to weave AR technology into the fabric of the web browsers with no required apps.
Thanks to new software tools developed by the likes of Google and Amazon, experimentations of mobile-web AR are already underway. For example, the end of 2018 saw Sony test out mobile-web AR for their promotional release of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Rather than downloading a third-party app, consumers could interact with the titular web-slinging hero through a unique, immersive experience right through their web browser. Fans could take pictures and share the web AR experience with friends.
The Spider-Verse web AR experience showed how brands could use mobile-web AR to enrich the engagement experience and make content more immersive and interactive.
The example of the Spider-Verse web AR experience above showcases how AR and VR environments are increasingly becoming social. The shared online environment (read: social media) is becoming a vital space for everyone to interact and engage with others.
But the social landscape isn’t the only space where the shared online environment is predicted to have an impact in 2019. The predicted increase in sales for VR headsets in 2019 could mean that virtual “conference calls” become the standard tool in the boardroom and offices.
Beyond 2019, consumers could expect opportunities to interact with colleagues, friends, and family in a virtual landscape.
Other key predictions for 2019
While the five trends above are the main predictions for 2019, there are many more AR and VR opportunities waiting to take off in the years to come.
Once fully autonomous vehicles become realized, AR platforms are expected to play a major role in how dashboard-mounted displays present information. Overlaid graphics presented by AR data can project navigation prompts and hazard detection, improving road safety.
In the recent Google I/O conference, a new Google Maps app was introduced. This new map displays augmented reality directions via the smartphone camera. The augmented reality Street View mode also identifies nearby places personally recommended to the user.
The advent of 5G technology will also have a meaningful impact on the AR and VR landscapes, as will more immersive location-based entertainment and live VR broadcasts.
These trends and predictions are all leading to a future where augmented and virtual realities are more accessible to more people. As the technology matures and adoption rates increase, AR and VR will further penetrate aspects of daily life not yet realized.
Hololens is Mixed Reality
Oculus “rivals” with HTC VIVE. The expectation is that HTC VIVE will follow suit with a fully untethered, stand-alone headset (no need for sensors) that’s suitable for room-scale and connected experiences.