As of 2020, four of the top technology companies have entered the AR and VR markets. Microsoft has HoloLens and HoloLens 2, Facebook bought Oculus, Amazon has Sumerian, and Google has Cardboard. Apple will come out with their own headset in 2021.
According to Digi-Capital, an industry advisory company, AR technology will purportedly have 2.5 billion base users by 2023. By that same year, Digi-Capital states that VR technology will purportedly have over 30 million base users. As prices drop to meet rapid increases in AR and VR hardware, this technology advancement is poised to go mainstream.
With that said, the next five years will be an exciting time for immersive technology. Here are five evolving trends that in the next five years will create new players in the market.
1. The Advent of Standalone Mobile Virtual Devices
In the next five years, we can see that VR devices moving away from PCs. We will see an increased rise in standalone and mobile virtual reality.
Oculus Go, on the market now, only needs a mobile app to setup and users can use it anywhere.
There are other standalone products on the market. However, unlike Oculus Go, they need a tethered mobile device to get set up.
In regard to AR, Microsoft’s standalone HoloLens2 provides an untethered AR experience.
Disconnecting headsets from hardware will increase the interactivity of AR and VR. This freedom will also allow users to use this technology anywhere. As a result, seamless add-ons can be created anytime, anywhere.
By 2021, we will be able to carry weightless VR googles anywhere and use them on-demand.
2. AR Field-of-View Gets Widened
In these next five years, we will see AR screens get widened. The first AR device to have wider field-of-view (FOV) will Microsoft’s HoloLens 2.
Using laser technology and mirrors, HoloLens 2 is able to place waveguides in front of the eyes of its user. This technology advancement enlarges images by moving around the mirrors. Along with a 47 pixel per degree resolution, HoloLens 2 supersedes the FOV HoloLens 1.
There are devices in the market that have an equal FOV but at a lower resolution than HoloLens 2. Some have a 90º FOV. The downside, however, you have to tether it with a cable. There will be a big competition in the next five years to see who will create the 120º horizontal field-of-view.
3. Mapping the Real World Will Empower Tenacious AR ‘Mirror Worlds’
‘Mirror worlds’ are replicas of the real world in digital forms. These replicas can cover a physical space. For instance, you are seating on a train riding to work. While riding, the train floor can change into a small relaxing body of water. Also, cars outside your train window can turn into fishing boats and sailboats.
Pokémon Go introduced us to mirror worlds as well as its tremendous power to bring people together.
4. 5G Will Enable Seamless Interactivity and Change Modes of Communication
5G is here, and it is this technology advancement that will enhance interactivity. You will be able to speak with someone on your mobile and feels like you are talking to them face to face.
5G will provide standalone AR and VR devices seamless interaction anywhere. It will improve real-time AR and VR connections and change the way we communicate.
5. Built-in Eye-tracking and facial expressions create natural communication
Companies already provide eye tracking to add to AR and VR headsets. This technology advancement allows high resolution of an image’s focal point while peripheral points show in lower resolutions. All this while, no processing power is wasted.
HoloLens 2 make use of eye-tracking to ID users and personalize the width of the lens. As a result, they give the user an intimate and customized experience.
This technology advancement will help AR and VR enhance communication. Currently, AR and VR headsets are missing subtle eye movements and minute meaningful expressions. In other words, they miss the poetry of being human. With the ability to detect a person’s idiosyncrasies, AR and VR will understand a person’s emotions and desires.
Also, look for emotion-detecting AI software that will provide more fruitful interactions. With this software, AR and VR will be able to create synergies that transcend geo-boundaries and language barriers.
As these technology advancements start to revolutionize the market, AR and VR will change our lives. The virtual world can enrich the real world.
AR and VR will encourage learning through natural experiences, enhanced storytelling, and simulation.
In this next decade, AR and VR will open up to endless applications. These applications will foster innovation and the confluence of various industries. In addition, pairing immersive technology with other technological advancements will expand our current immersive experiences in scale and breadth.