VRDC VR/AR Innovation Report Reveals Skepticism About VR Versus AR and MR
Andrew Wheeler posted on July 18, 2017 | 2573 views

The monetization of hype over emerging technologies is something that innovative companies take advantage of along with the 90 percent of startups that end in failure. Over the past few years, there’s been an explosion in virtual reality (VR) startups, and venture capitalists continue to place their bets on entrepreneurs with teams that they believe will deliver explosive growth.

The only incendiary hit product in any of the alternate digital “realities” (augmented reality [AR], mixed reality [MR], VR) so far is Pokémon Go. This was not due to some amazing technological advance. It was successful largely because millions of adults who grew up with the series as a part of their childhoods paid to indulge in their nostalgic passion. But it did popularize the term “augmented reality.”

It appears clear to me that absent some imminent cultural force of technological saturation, the race to make AR another ubiquitous technological presence is underway. Apple is attempting to open the floodgates by releasing ARKit, but right now, the river is basically just a small stream of demo apps from its legion of developers. There will probably be some new successes from Apple ARKit developers in the coming year.

Overall, there isn’t really any way to tell if AR/MR will take off as a separate piece of computing hardware (eyeglasses, headsets, etc.) from smartphone computers. Either the smartphone will be the headset or AR apps will be accessed and used the way people use any app today. But there are always surveys being done to project profits and protect investments, and the VR/AR/MR industry is no different.

I read through the second annual VRDC (Virtual Reality Developers Conference) report, which was funded by the UBM Game Network as a report and teaser for its upcoming conference in September.

It asked 600 professional developers in the VR/AR/MR industry different questions about their means funding, current trends and the diverse types of obstacles they face.

The takeaways included some obvious things—most VR developers are making games for the media and entertainment sectors, and they are focusing the most on creating platform-exclusive content on the HTC Vive. The second most important sector for developers is education and training. We’ll see what happens if Oculus releases a $200 headset like it promised. The main problem with AR headsets and VR systems is the prohibitively expensive price.

Branded experiences (advertising/marketing) come in third followed by industrial/product design, where there are different use cases for CAD and building information modeling users to create immersive visualizations and more experimental attempts to use VR for practical purposes like Autodesk’s Project Ivy. (Image courtesy of the UBM Game Network.)
Branded experiences (advertising/marketing) come in third followed by industrial/product design, where there are different use cases for CAD and building information modeling users to create immersive visualizations and more experimental attempts to use VR for practical purposes like Autodesk’s Project Ivy. (Image courtesy of the UBM Game Network.)

The polled developers also agreed that VR is in the “trough of disillusionment” in Gartner’s infamous hype cycle. Though they believe it is going to be profitable in the long term, it is currently wafting in the pickled fumes of hype. The report also shows that developers see AR and MR as more profitable in the short term and agree that most of the success will probably come from smartphone-enabled AR applications.

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