What does the future hold for AR and VR?

In our latest report, Tech Trends Transforming The Insight Industry, we identified augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) as two of our top trends to watch. But just how big will AR and VR be? We take a look at what the future holds for this technology.

Augmented reality – the future looks bright

We predict that in the next few years, even more brands will use augmented reality to engage their customers. AR technology will become standard in a wide range of apps as more and more developers incorporate it to augment the user experience, helping to drive mass adoption of AR in the coming years. This will see the value of the global AR market soar to over $165 billion by 2024.

Apple CEO Tim Cook sees huge potential for AR, which bodes well for the technology’s future, as its global reach will be predominantly driven by app downloads from the iOS App Store, as well as Android’s Google Play store. Speaking at The University of Oxford in October 2017, he said: “I’m incredibly excited about AR, because I can see uses for it everywhere. I can see uses for it in education, in consumers, in entertainment, in sports. I can see it in every business that I know anything about … I think AR can amplify human connection.”

Virtual reality- growth will be slower

VR uptake is likely to be slower than for AR, due to the need for a headset, and the amount that these headsets cost. Whereas AR software can be contained within smartphone apps and requires no other hardware, fully immersive VR experiences can only be accessed by using a full-scale virtual reality headset. As such, the success of VR will be heavily dependent on consumer uptake of this hardware.

Whilst the current price of an Oculus Rift VR headset ($399) is a big improvement on the 2016 launch price of $798, it is still unlikely to be enough to bring VR into the mainstream any time soon, particularly as recent research from Horizon Media suggest that 75% of US consumers are unwilling to pay more than $250 for a VR headset.

Given these restrictions, the global virtual reality market is set to reach $59 billion by 2024, far lower than the AR market

What does this mean for brands?

In light of this, brands must resist the temptation to get caught up in the hype surrounding full-scale virtual reality and instead concentrate their efforts on tapping into AR. How?

  • One of the first steps that brands can take is to have a critical look at their existing app to identify any potential applications of augmented reality.
  • If the temptation to stray into the world of immersive experiences proves to be just too great, give 360 video a go. As a type of media that can be accessed through inexpensive cardboard headsets, it provides a much better opportunity for engaging consumers than full-scale VR at this point.

Want to learn more about the tech trends that are set to reshape our world? Download our latest report.