Softability´s Mikael Bowellan participated in the VRX Europe 2019 in Amsterdam where current situation and future of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality industries were exposed. Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality are still waiting acceptance from the bigger audience, but Virtual Reality is already production quality and everyday technology. In this article we are presenting what we learned from the conference and where the industry is going.
State of the Immersive Markets up to 2022
Stephanie Llamas, VP of Strategy & Head of XR at SuperData, showed in her presentation very interesting figures about where we are now with the Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, where are we going and how big will the industry grow. She also showed a true picture of the uptake numbers across all major platforms and asked are we really at the cusp of a new computing revolution in a five year outlook.
When we look at the Technology adoption rates (share of US households), mobile AR use has increased from 45% in 2018, to 55% in 2019 and to 65% in 2020. Respectively Virtual Reality has increased from 10% in 2018, to 16% in 2019 and to 18% in 2020.
Worldwide consumer revenue (Software and Hardware) is predicted a receive a large growth from 2019 to 2020 for Virtual Reality and Mobile AR segment. In a case of Virtual Reality from $4.9B to $7.7B (+57%) and in the Mobile AR from $3.3B to $4.5B (+36%)!
If that growth was not convincing enough then watch out for Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality headset sales. They are predicted to grow from year 2019 to 2020 from $1.5B to 4.2B$ (+180%)!
This year will also be a major turning point for the Virtual Markets: revenues will grow over 48% year over year. This will happen mainly because of the decreasing cost of devices, progressive content diversity and location-based Virtual Reality.
Standalone Virtual Reality headsets (wireless) will outpace markedly the shipments of other type of Virtual Reality headsets (PC, premium mobile, console) starting this year (2019) and reaching together over 10 million units shipped in 2020.
Worldwide revenue of Virtual Reality Software shows also a huge growth rate – From $1.4B in 2019 to $2.0B in 2020 and to $4.7B in 2022!
Worldwide Mobile AR users will grow from 1.4B in 2019 to 1.7B in 2020 (+21%) showing huge sales potential for new “AR capable” models of mobile phones!
Virtual Reality in Training
Now more than ever companies are looking for a new generation of highly skilled employees to work for them. Motivating and preparing this new generation presents a challenge for every educational institution. Virtual Reality training applications have proven to be an effective tool in the training process. Good Virtual Reality training environment can provide a highly responsive and realistic experience for the student.
“When the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. When students train in realistic environment, with realistic feeling gear they can train the muscle memory and techniques so that when they move to actual real-world equipment they already know how to do the job even if they haven’t used real equipment at all” tells Amir Rubin, CEO of Sixense Enterprises Inc.
“The great thing about Virtual Reality is its ability to make learning experiential. Virtual Reality training boosts confidence and retention while improving test scores 10 to 15 %”, tells Andy Trainor, Walmart’s senior director of Walmart U.S. Academies.
One good example of Virtual Reality use case is SimSpray´s Spray Painting and Coating VR Training System where they achieved -50 % material costs, $1000 savings after five students, six times faster practice time and -20 % operating costs.
The huge amount of data that Virtual Reality training solutions provide is extremely valuable for educational institutions – training with real equipment is slower, and material costs and other risk are also higher. Virtual Reality also gives the opportunity to train thousands of people at the same time all over the world. It is available for everyone, everywhere and anytime.
5G and Edge Computing
Standalone VR headset are great for mobility and usability but being able to render high-end 3D data for factory, planning or training purposes is a barrier for adoption of Standalone VR in the enterprise sector. The standalone devices’ GPU (Graphical Processing Unit) speed and graphics processing capabilities are significantly lower than those of desktop gaming PCs’. This means that running existing applications on Standalone VR devices designed for instance for HTC Vive (a high-end VR device) would need optimization work to reduce the rendering requirements.
New applications would also demand a heavy downsizing of existing 3D models, resulting in more porting efforts and lower level of detail in VR. So how to counteract this? 5G and edge computing offer the possibility to outsource the rendering from a standalone device to a virtual machine in the Cloud, while the 5G would enable fast transfer of data and low latency.
5G is clear in terms of bandwidth and other benefits over 4G:
• Latency roundtrip, 10-40ms vs 1-10ms
• Peak Data Rates, 1 Gbit/s vs 10 Gbit/s
• Connection Density, 10000 nodes/km2 vs 1 million nodes/km2
Edge computing needs better and faster networks, and that’s where the 5G comes into the picture. In a nutshell, edge computing brings compute power and connectivity closer to devices & nodes, by using a mesh network of stations placed strategically in places like campuses or 5G base stations.
According to Terry Schussler: “It’s not that edge is going to replace the cloud, it’s just going to move the cloud closer to the user, we control data transfer at the speed of light, so if we shorten the distance from the data center to the user, we can reduce milliseconds of latency that occur on the Internet.”
That low latency, together with the higher data rates and connection density enables Use Cases like these for example:
• Multi-Player Synchronization
• Network Rendering
• Offload Spatial Mapping
• Geolocated AR Cloud
“We think Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality has the potential to transform how we interact with almost every industry today, and we think it will be equally transformative both from a consumer and an enterprise perspective” – Heather Bellini, Business Unit Leader, Telecommunications, Media and Technology, Goldman Sachs Research
Mikael Bowellan, Lead Artist, mikael.bowellan(at)softability.fi
Mikko Luukkonen, Solution Sales, mikko.luukkonen(at)softability.fi
More information about the VRX Europe 2019