The Strategist

VR technologies: Keep growing but stay niche anyway

05/19/2020 - 03:11

According to Technavio, the market for XR technology (extended reality, an umbrella term that includes virtual (VR), augmented (AR) and mixed reality (MR) will grow to $ 177 billion by 2024. This optimistic forecast, made at the beginning April, may not fully take into account the boom in investment in such projects caused by the pandemic. However, existing gadgets and services are far from the mass market.

Research company IDC predicts that this year sales of wireless VR headsets will grow by 30% around the world. Previously, this area seemed promising primarily for the entertainment industry, but now there are also working tools.

At the end of April, one of the leaders in this field, HTC, introduced the VIVE Sync application for working meetings in virtual reality.

Each participant in such a meeting creates a VR avatar and with the help of the HTC Vive helmet sees the avatars of his colleagues present at the meeting. An avatar is created from a photo, so that the people in this application will look like themselves. Similar applications appeared earlier: among the most famous ones are MeetinVR, Glue and Spatial, and now their popularity is also growing.

In turn, this week Apple bought NextVR startup, specializing in translation of various events, such as concerts or sports, into virtual reality. NextVR has been collaborating with the American National Basketball Association for several years and broadcasts its matches in virtual reality format.

Computer maker HP is promising its customers to help translate employee training into virtual reality with their VR helmet.

However, many experts note that so far VR remains a niche product. “In general, although COVID-19 has created some requirements for remote augmented reality devices, especially from those who expect experience with greater interactivity and presence, the popularity of XR platforms for remote work remains limited,” said an analyst at Taiwan's Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute.