Since the early 2010s applications for XR devices – defined as devices that “create digital environments that users can interact with” – have ranged from gaming, uses in education, to enterprise, such as remote assistance and hands-free working. Over the past decade, says the firm, technology has driven smaller, faster, and more powerful devices, and the next decade promises many new and exciting products, allowing a more immersive experience for users.
The report discusses three categories of XR – PC products that need a physical attachment to a separate computer, standalone products, and smartphone products – and shows that both the markets in VR and AR/MR are growing, with the combined markets expected to grow to over $30 billion by 2030. The report also discusses the trends in technology used in various XR products – for example, comparing the weight, field of view, resolution, and display type for over 175 products.
The report includes the following findings:
- Applications beyond gaming – One of the most well-known uses of VR headsets is in gaming applications. Companies such as Oculus, HTC, and Sony have created a range of products that consumers can use for a totally immersive gaming experience. However, there are also other applications for XR products such as remote assistance and training. The report includes analysis of these applications and identifies the key leaders in the AR, VR, and MR fields.
- Investment is high for AR – AR companies have received high levels of investment over the past 10 years, with investors targeting the future potential of companies. For example, Magic Leap received over $500 million in funding in 2017, but only released its first product in 2019. Although the turnaround to reap the financial reward is potentially longer than VR products, there is still a high level of interest in this field.
- Wide variety of products and end-use cases – The report also shows that there is a wide variety of technology in use in AR/VR/MR fields. There have been great advancements in resolution, for example, in the past decade. This creates a more immersive experience for the user. Although this experience is far from perfect, as some users still experience motion sickness, it shows that in the future this field will continue to grow as there is continued update of these devices in the future.
- Skills gap and the knowledge transfer problem – One use case discussed in the report is the use of augmented reality products to help solve the “skills gap” problem, where talented, skilled workers are leaving the workforce to retire before the knowledge they have gained can be passed onto new workers. This report discusses how augmented reality headsets allow workers to record their processes, to be transformed into workflows, increasing efficiency for new workers who can follow the steps.
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