If you’ve ever wanted to feel the thrill of playing professional football, flying a plane, riding a roller coaster, touring a house, exploring a remote travel destination, or immersing yourself in any of numerous other real-life experiences from the comfort and safety of your home, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) technology has made it possible. As evidenced by the rapidly-expanding list of AR/VR experiences that are currently available, this popular technology is finding its way into a growing number of applications while positioning a broad range of industries for transformative change.
“Augmented reality allows virtual elements to be added to the user’s reality, while virtual reality presents a totally fictitious reality,” explained AR provider Morgana Studios of AR and VR technologies, which are experiencing a steep growth trajectory. According to research firm Prescient & Strategic Intelligence in its December 2022 AR and VR Market Report, the augmented and virtual realities market was valued at US $28.5 billion in 2021. It is forecasted to top US $200 billion by 2030 as the physical components of AR/VR technology get smaller, more sophisticated, and more cost-effective and AR/VR continues to be embraced by industries and consumers alike.
According to Josh O’Farrell of telecom service provider Spearline, AR/VR “is seen to open up an entirely new platform of jobs and industries.”
From tourism and real estate to customer service, telecommunications, and more, here are just a few of the sectors undergoing paradigm shifts at the hands of the AR/VR revolution.
Experts confirm that AR/VR will continue to shake up the gaming industry, which Statista currently values at US $365 billion worldwide and projects will grow by over 7% annually.
According to global computer-assisted design giant Jabil, “video game creators have long been eager to bring players into the worlds of games. AR and VR take this a step further [and] have become synonymous with gaming.”
For example, the National Football League (NFL) in the U.S. released “NFL PRO ERA” in September 2022. This game for virtual reality platforms allows users to assume the role of a professional NFL quarterback and make the real-life plays one could only ever dream of or watch on television. According to Troy Jones, co-founder of StatusPRO, the company that developed the game, AR/VR “is the future, and we look at it as the new era of gaming and the next step in the way people will consume sports.”
In other applications, AR mobile games associated with popular franchises like “Pokemon GO”, “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite”, and “The Walking Dead: Our World” have been hugely successful.
As a result of the technology’s strength, appeal, and ongoing evolution, nearly 70% of industry experts participating in Jabil’s January 2023 Augmented and Virtual Reality Technology Trends Survey believe that AR/VR will become mainstream in the gaming industry within the coming five years.
Evolving gaming technology can also deliver benefits that extend beyond pure entertainment. From a healthcare perspective, for example, AR/VR-enabled gaming platforms hold promise for stimulating physical and mental activity among people who are less ambulatory, such as the elderly and disabled.
According to Forbes contributor Naveen Joshi, AR/VR has already transformed urban planning by enabling engineers to determine whether built models align with existing infrastructural spaces, specs, and constraints and, if not, to modify models accordingly. For urban dwellers and service providers, AR/VR will continue to enhance quality of life in cities by enabling many areas such as:
- improved phone-based navigation capabilities for residents
- faster disaster response by first responders
- real-life training simulations for police
- interactive medical services that offer patients an in-depth understanding of their condition by experiencing it in a 3D in-body setting
- and more!
By providing engaging experiences to users, AR/VR technologies could major impact on residents’ lives in smart cities.
Forbes contributor Aidan Connolly believes that AR/VR will help farmers optimize their operations and success by supporting more precise and in-depth decision-making about everything from soil fertility, crop production, and pesticide application. It can also be combined with other connected technologies to monitor animal health and grazing practices. Overall, Connolly confirmed, “agricultural AR is helping farmers better understand and manage land resources, enhance productivity, improve time management, streamline training, and improve safety.”
AR/VR is benefitting a broad range of manufacturers— from logistics giant DHL, which is successfully using AR-enabled smart glasses to drive a 25% increase in efficiency in the picking process at their Netherlands-based warehouse, to Ford, which has incorporated virtual reality reviews in the design and production of all of its vehicles since 2014. AR/VR technology is helping to drive the smart factories of the present and future.
Digital media provider Pixerio shared that AR stands to benefit the entire manufacturing process by helping to improve productivity, enrich training, reduce costs, enhance worker safety, and more. Based on the ability to boost the manufacturing sector’s overall efficiency and competitiveness, Grand View Research predicts that the global market for augmented/virtual reality in manufacturing, valued at US $5.57 billion in 2021, “is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 29.3% from 2022 to 2030.” The bottom line? The manufacturing sector recognizes AR/VR’s ability to boost quality, precision, and operational efficiency and is undergoing transformation thanks to this powerful capability.
While AR/VR technology is enabling a new era of operational achievement and success across myriad industries, experts suggest that on the network side, the arrival of 5G and 6G networks will support the likewise evolution of AR and VR applications. According to Forbes contributor Sol Rogers, 5G (and impending 6G) will without a doubt “usher in the next era of immersive and cloud-connected experiences.” And in the telecommunications arena, “augmented reality and virtual reality technologies are now changing the way we interact [and] will inevitably change the way the telecoms providers view, manage, and develop the network,” writes Josh O’Farrell for Spearline, a telecommunications service provider.
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Based on the aforementioned examples demonstrating its indelible impact on society, AR/VR technology represents a dynamic frontier with exciting opportunities for a variety of industries.
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Morgana Studios. (21 October 2020). 5G and the Future of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.
(December 2022). AR and VR Market Report. Prescient & Strategic Intelligence.
O’Farrell, Josh. Augmented Reality and the Network. Spearline.
(November 2022). Video Games Worldwide.
Rothstein, Michael. (20 April 2022). NFL-licensed virtual reality game set for fall release. ESPN.
(27 January 2023). What is the Future of Augmented and Virtual Reality Technology? Jabil.
Joshi, Naveen. (5 August 2019). How Will New Developments in Virtual and Augmented Reality Technology Impact Smart Cities? Forbes.
Connolly, Aidan. (15 February 2022). How XR Tools Are Transforming Food, Farming. Forbes.
Brooks, Chad. (23 January 2023). How Virtual Reality Technology Is Changing Manufacturing. Business.com.
(July 2022). Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality in Manufacturing Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Component (Hardware, Software, Services), By Technology, By Device, By Application, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2022–2030.
Rogers, Sol. (30 January 2019). The Arrival Of 5G Will Unlock The Full Potential Of VR And AR. Forbes.