Top 5 VR and AR Trends in 2020
As we are about to say goodbye to the first decade of the 21st Century, it is only fitting that we discuss some of the most important technological developments of our time. Many people, machine learning and artificial intelligence are huge. For others, the Internet of Things or IoT is even bigger. For us, the biggest technological feat of this decade is AR and VR. If you don’t believe us, read on for some of the biggest trends featuring Virtual and Augmented Reality.
5 Important VR and AR Trends in 2019-20
Back when AR and VR first hit the commercial scene, they were novelties. Of course, the technology was revolutionary. But people couldn’t seem to move beyond Snapchat filters and basic VR games. However, the market soon began to evolve and improve on existing AR and VR technology. In a world where net neutrality is under siege, tech leaders have invested efforts to create better ways for people to interact with technology and each other.
AR and VR technologies became immensely popular during the last half of the decade. Popular games like Pokemon Go gave a whole new meaning to augmented reality as entertainment. At the same time, technology like Oculus Rift (now owned by Facebook) and PlayStation VR emerged, kickstarting serious development in VR gaming. Since then, the technology has continued to evolve with each passing year. Today there are several real-world use cases for AR and VR, with more on the way. So without further ado, let’s take a close look at the 5 biggest and most important trends in virtual reality and augmented reality technology:
- Training in Risk-Free Environments
- Remote Assistance and Collaboration
- New Directions in Gaming
- An E-Commerce Revolution in the Making
- VR, AR, and the Internet of Things
Read on to find out more.
1. Training in Risk-Free Environments
One of the most important and effective uses of virtual reality and augmented reality is in training. Consider high-risk jobs like being a surgeon, or an airline pilot, or manning sophisticated military equipment. In all of these jobs and many others like them, the margin for error is extremely low. That means any error could potentially have disastrous outcomes, even leading to loss of lives. The problem is, unless these people get the right experience, they won’t be able to become effective professionals.
AR and VR technologies offer a unique alternative solution. Instead of having your medical interns operate on actual patients, you can first train them in VR or AR. That way, even if they do make an error, nobody dies, and they still get to learn and gain experience. The same applies to train fighter pilots or commercial pilots in VR or AR environments. An inexperienced pilot could easily crash an aircraft, potentially killing passengers and causing property damage. But if a pilot can learn how to fly specific aircraft using AR and VR, the risk of pilot error goes down. The United States Air Force is leading the VR training charge.
2. Remote Assistance and Collaboration
Another major trend we’re seeing is a shift towards using AR and VR technology to offer remote assistance. This is potentially a gamechanger. Take this for example. You break down during a road trip in the middle of nowhere, without access to AAA. Normally, you’d have to hike miles to the nearest gas station or mechanic and get your car towed and fixed. But with software like TeamViewer, you don’t have to go anywhere for assistance.
Software such as this makes use of your smartphone’s camera as an eye. That way, the person on the other end offering remote assistance can see what you’re seeing. But what’s really exciting is that the person can place AR markers for you on your car, say in the engine bay. These markers point out areas you need to pay attention to, helping you get your car running without needing to find a mechanic.
3. New Directions in Gaming
Of course, something as novel as VR and AR was always going to make its way into gaming. Pokemon Go is perhaps the biggest example of early AR games. But that was just the beginning. With sophisticated VR technology and better, more powerful processors, there are more serious gaming applications than a smartphone game.
— Full Dive Gamer VR (@fulldivegamerVR) December 26, 2019
VR gaming has already started to make waves within the industry. Popular platforms like Steam, Sony PlayStation, and even Oculus Rift have come out with much more advanced VR games. While the primary purpose is still entertainment, VR gaming is much more immersive than PC, console, or even smartphone games. With gaming studios working on even more sophisticated VR technology, the gaming industry is preparing itself for a transition.
4. An E-Commerce Revolution in the Making
One of the industries that VR has had the biggest impact on is the retail industry. The largest e-commerce stores like Amazon and Alibaba are already working on leveraging VR to generate more traffic, more sales, and better customer experience.
Consider Buy+, Alibaba’s VR store. The Chinese e-commerce giant unveiled the world’s largest VR mall in October 2016. The app got over 8 million downloads just in its first week. Amazon soon followed in Alibaba’s footsteps and opened “Experience Kiosks” all over India on Prime Day. While VR shopping remains a niche market, it is obvious that the biggest e-commerce players have it under consideration.
5. VR, AR, and the Internet of Things
We have all heard about IoT or the Internet of Things. IoT devices are smart sensors, switches, and other equipment that can communicate with each other over the same network. Most of AR and VR technologies today have use cases in industrial maintenance workflows. IoT devices can detect and even predict maintenance issues in industrial equipment. They can then send alerts to maintenance personnel, and remotely assist them in repairs or maintenance with AR or VR.
IoT devices may still be a novel concept, as is the concept of the smart home. But in industrial settings, IoT devices and immersive technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality have very real applications.