Not so long ago, we used to sit comfortably far from our desktop computer screens. Then we got laptops and moved closer to be able to read the smaller screens. Then we got smartphones which made us get even closer to read their even smaller screens.
The next logical step is to transcend the 2D interface altogether and enter the world of 3D interfaces and immersive computing as manifested by Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR).
This is the era of spatial computing which is already fundamentally changing the way we interact with digital information. And we’ve only just begun.
Be prepared to be immersed
Although the idea of overlaying virtual content on top of physical reality and entering fully-fledged virtual worlds where the laws of physics don’t apply may still sound futuristic, the future is already here. According to International Data Corp. (IDC), total spending on immersive products and services will soar from $9.1 billion in 2017 to nearly $160 billion in 2021, at a compound annual growth rate of 113.2 percent.
To get a sense of where immersive technology is today, it’s useful to remember that when the first commercially available handheld mobile phone, the DynaTAC 8000x, was released in 1983 by Motorola, it weighed 28 ounces, was 10 inches high, and cost nearly $10,000 in today’s dollars. Just as it’s almost impossible to compare the clunky bricks from the 80s with the sleek, all-screen smartphones that are now available on the market for less than $1,000, immersive products that will be available ten years from now will be incredibly evolved from products that are available today.
Already, we have come a long way from the first virtual reality headsets, such as the Sega VR headset for arcade games and the Mega Drive console or the infamous Virtual Boy video game console from Nintendo, which was capable of displaying stereoscopic 3D graphics and was known for causing terrible headaches. In comparison, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, and other modern virtual reality headsets provide a strong sense of presence and can already make virtual worlds feel truly alive. People are so convinced by the headsets on the market today they often forget they are in a simulation and mistake it for the real world, like stepping over virtual objects on the floor or ducking to avoid a virtual object overhead.
Vast opportunities for visionary companies and entrepreneurs
The young market with immersive products and services presents a tremendous opportunity for visionaries who are not afraid to be among the first to enter a turbulent market and design user experiences for immersive environments and improve the technology behind them.
IDC estimates that onsite assembly and safety ($339 million), retail showcasing ($250 million), and process manufacturing training ($248 million) will attract the largest investments, but it’s very likely that immersive technologies will disrupt virtually every industry.
Some of the companies that are already reaping the rewards from their first-mover advantage include BMW, which has incorporated virtual reality into its automobile design process, or Air France, with its immersive entertainment systems. Of course, all the major manufacturers of AR/VR headsets have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in R&D, expecting high returns in the future.
But it’s not just Fortune 500 companies who are using immersive technologies to develop a new generation of technological solutions. Real estate developers, transportation startups and various other small-to-medium sized business and entrepreneurs seeking to use the power VR and AR to maximize business value and success, and to reduce risks.
For example, here’s an insight by Outer Realm CEO, David Gull, on using VR for real estate: “The more homes you can look at, the more comfortable you’ll become with what’s available. With VR, you can very quickly view 50 properties and narrow it down to a short list of five properties that you can then tour with your [agent]. It’s not very different from what’s done today, but instead of clicking through 2D photos on Zillow, you can actually occupy the space.”
The business leaders, thought leaders and visionaries who decide to push the adoption of immersive technologies will have a definite advantage in the market of tomorrow and have a very good chance to emerge as winners and market leaders.
And Outer Realm understands this. “Virtual Reality is here to stay with far reaching impacts across many industries. For example, in Real Estate, we know that much like computer renderings replaced watercolors over the last 15 years, Virtual Reality will replace static 2D images and video in the coming 3-4 years. Forward thinkers who will lead that transition and reap the rewards,” says David Gull, CEO of Outer Realm.
So why limit yourself to a flat 2D screen? Adopt immersive experiences and offer a whole world of additional, compelling value to your customers. Reach out to us to learn more!