2019 is likely to be the year that VR and AR get real.
We’ve increasingly seen the rise of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in recent years but only now is it set to become truly transformative.
As technology gets more sophisticated and we see it enter more living rooms and workplaces, here we take a closer look at what will happen to AR and VR in 2019
Virtual reality in gaming
Virtual reality used to be the stuff of science fiction movies but now it’s creeping into everyday life – from home life to work life.
Gaming using VR headsets was previously clunky and expensive and yet the arrival of two new headsets – the Vive and Oculus look set to change that.
Incorporating powerful computer technology, minus heaps of cables, this new generation of VR headset finally offers users the fully immersive gaming experience that they’ve been craving.
According to Forbes, this new iteration of VR headsets will, ‘improve the technology powering the virtual experience, by including features such as eyeball-tracking and increased field-of-view.’
Virtual reality bringing good news for gamers
The great news for gamers is that there are likely to be an influx of innovative new headsets in their wake.
Amazon currently offers over 200 different VR headsets to buy, many created by ambitious start-ups offering potentially game-changing new features.
Virtual reality and augmented reality for workplace training
Virtual reality and sister technology augmented reality, are also excellent for workplace training where we are going to see more and more of it.
In sectors such as healthcare or where the training taking place is potentially life-threatening, it allows users to experience real-life conditions – minus any risk.
Virtual reality for training in hazardous environments
Case studies in training and education typically involve VR rather than AR, with CMS Wire speaking to Jaimy Szymanski from Kaleido Insights, who explains it’s benefits:
“People can be really immersed in these new training environments for situations that either are very unique or are very dangerous,”
Oil companies, for instance, can train employees and contractors in dangerous situations in the field. These situations “require a lot of people to collaborate with a VR environment, they’re able to scale training efforts.”
Virtual reality for training in retail
Szymanski also notes the use of VR for less risky operations. Retail trainers, for example, can use visualisation to show employees what a retail sales floor should look like without actually being there.
“Retail employees are usually seasonal, and there’s high turnover, so you don’t really want to pull away a veteran employee to train someone that might be gone in two months after the holiday season.”
Major companies are all already on board with ZDNet reporting that US mega brands Walmart and Tyson have already hit the headlines for high profile pilot schemes featuring the latest mixed reality tech.
The website notes that virtual reality training in business could generate more than $6 billion by 2022, according to ABI Research.
2019 then is likely to be the year that VR comes to a workplace or training facility near you.
Augmented reality in cars
2019 also be the year that we see augmented reality on the road.
While virtual reality relies on the user wearing a headset, augmented reality can be more appropriate outside of the training environment and in potentially hazardous situations as it doesn’t block field of view.
Fully self-driving cars might be a few years away but AI is already making its way into vehicles in the forms of voice assistants like Alexa and Siri.
Forbes reports that Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, and Volvo have also all signed up to work with a new technology called Nvidia’s DriveAR, which is powered by machine learning.
It uses a dashboard-mounted display overlaying graphics on camera footage from around the car, pointing out everything from hazards to historic landmarks, which means enhanced safety and fun en route.
When it comes to in-car AR – it’s likely that in a few years we’ll wonder how we ever got by with just old fashioned navs and Google Maps.