Augmented Reality: The Paradigm Shift Begins
Suddenly, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are beginning to intrude on the consumer consciousness. VR, in particular, has captured the imagination of e-gamers; rather than issuing commands to an avatar that imperfectly mimics the movements of a person, gamers can now be that person, and see the simulated world from the perspective of their electronic alter egos.
Yet, the true promise of immersive technologies will likely be less in the realm of the imaginary, and more in the world of the practical: heads up displays (HUDs), providing electronic overlays, could revolutionize medicine by showing medical scanning data superimposed over sick patients. Manufacturing could be transformed as changes in processing and assembly are delivered right in front of the people working on assembly lines. Education, service sector jobs, sales, even warfare, would all be accelerated using VR and AR (hereafter, simply “AR”) applications.
For nearly four years, Stratecast has been tracking the evolution of this technology. Initially, Google Glass drove our enthusiasm for the potential of AR; yet, Google’s release of the technology was remarkably clunky, and led to an unnecessary amount of public angst. Nevertheless, Stratecast has remained bullish on AR, and has maintained its opinion that AR will largely define the next technology paradigm.
Now, Stratecast’s position is being validated in a major way. With Microsoft’s disclosure of its Hololens technology, and Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus Rift, two of the market behemoths (one representing the IT revolution and one the dot.com revolution) are squaring off to dominate the next big thing: the age of AR. With investments measured in the billions of dollars, both companies are betting that AR will transform personal computing, content consumption, and social interaction.
About this report
This report explores the current state of the AR market, and the role that devices and applications have in jump starting the growth of this very promising new technology. It also explores the activities of major market participants such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, as they position themselves to capture significant portions of what they have correctly identified as the next important technology bubble. This report will be of interest to technology developers, ISVs, and those wishing to understand the direction of consumer communication services.
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