Virtual Reality Future Predictions of 2020 • article by
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Posted on: 21 April, 2021

Virtual Reality Future Predictions of 2020

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Virtual reality in future

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Last year we experienced growth in the AR and VR markets (both known as ‘extended reality’). Initially, they were seen in gaming and entertainment. But, over time, their prevalence are seen in many more industries. 

VR (virtual reality) is where a user wears a headset so they can become fully immersed into a new reality, generated by a computer. As such, education, training, retail, design and marketing have been completely revolutionised. 

AR (augmented reality) is where a computer image is layered onto a user’s existing view of the real world. Often, this is done via a smart device like a smartphone or tablet. Though it can also be done with a headset. Additionally, it needs software so the user can ‘see’ what’s being superimposed in front of them. As time has gone on, we’ve become accustomed to seeing AR elements beyond the initial Snapchat filters and Pokemon Go.

Spending on these technologies has set to see a global increase of nearly 80% next year. Undeniably, these technologies will be the next big thing. As such, we’re going to see a lot of exciting hardware developments. Also, improved quality immersion. Finally, we’ll see more industries jumping on the bandwagon to see how they can benefit from using mixed reality tech.

Background of VR and AR (XR)

It’s likely that most people know about both VR and AR via some experience they’ve had in gaming or entertainment. However, this is set yo change. As research is suggesting the development of these technologies is quickly overtaking consumer solutions. 

The 2020 Industry Insight for XR (‘mixed’ or ‘cross’ reality) said that 65% of the AR organisations they surveyed said they were working on enterprise apps. Meanwhile, only 37% were focused on consumer software and products.

Though, this isn’t a big surprise. Despite games making headlines in the past few years, for example, Oculus Rift and Pokemon Go, the tech can do more. Like boosting safety and productivity. As such, it’s become an attractive idea for companies. 

VR easily simulates otherwise risky working environments. Say you have expensive equipment, you can use VR with absolutely no risk. On the other hand, AR can be used to deliver information directly to a user about what is in front of them. Consider engineers, maintenance staff and technicians. No longer do we need a manual! Because we can overlay what’s there in real life with the information they need. Finally, this visual method makes learning a lot easier and quicker.

New uses for XR

Healthcare will benefit

Healthcare offers an obvious use for these technologies. And over the next few years we can expect to see trials turn into pilots and finally into everyday life for medical professionals. 

VR is already in use in therapy for anxiety disorders and phobias. Accordingly, biosensors are used alongside it to measure physiological responses. Such as heart rate or sweat levels. Specifically, they’re analysed together to get an idea of how the user responds to stress, albeit in a safe and controlled environment. 

VR is helping people with Autism to learn social skills. Also, people with cognitive or visual impairments by monitoring eye movements. 

AR is set to grow in healthcare at a rapid pace. In fact, the market is set to increase by nearly 40% every year until 2025. An example is how surgeons can use AR in training and real operations; reducing risk and forever learning. As such, we cannot deny the benefit this will have on the quality of treatments.

There is an app that has been developed which uses AR to lead a user toward a defibrillator, should there be an emergency. Another helps nurses to find veins. So these apps are helping the professionals improve their patient care and outcomes. Eventually, this will also reduce costs and so popularity is and will soar in the coming years.

Headsets will get smaller and mobile will become more powerful

XR has a reliance on hardware and this can be limiting. For example, you need a headset or a display of some kind. Granted, this is more of an issue with VR because you need a decent processor to generate graphics. This is stored in the headset. However, we’re going to see a move toward untethered tech. For example, Oculus Rift from Facebook initially required a powerful PC. Now it is self-contained. 

As well as becoming more mobile, the headsets will generate even more realistic environments. As such, users will explore using better processors capable of serving better graphics. The earlier VR environments were computer-generated and low-resolution. However, 2021 and onward will be as close to reality than ever before. One example of an eagerly-anticipated piece of tech is Apple’s 8K glasses with VR and AR, linked to a user’s iPhone. Apple plan to be the first to introduce XR to the masses with what they’re claiming will be an affordable device. 

5G will open doors for VR and AR

The world has been talking a lot about 5G this year. And the super-fast network will boost the capabilities of VR and AR. 

Potential data transfer speeds could rock to 3GB per second. In comparison to your average broadband at home that is likely around 100Mb per second. Meaning, 5G is potentially fast enough for VR and AR streaming from the cloud. So, users won’t be tied to PCs or burdened by hardware. As such, viewing devices will simply upload data to external data centres, where the leg work of the processing will take place. Finally, images can be rendered in real-time through the speed of 5G. Find Your Best 3D Gaming chair.

Note, however, that streaming VR is already a thing and has been for a few years. For example, Facebook has the ability to do so through your phone. But, the experience leaves a little to the imagination due to the slower transfer speeds of the network. So, the use of the cloud and 5G seems like the perfect solution to unencumber the delivery of user experience. As a final result, headsets and viewing devices will become cheaper and we’ll get high-quality realism in the simulations.

Our kids will use VR and AR to learn

Education is about to change as we know it. In fact, it’s already started. In 2021 and beyond, we’ll see the immersive nature of VR and AR allow our kids to engage with content in a new and engaging way. 

Apps already exist that allow students to transport themselves to a different place and time, including space. We covered some of those apps in an article, here. The upshot is that as tech is moving away from being disruptive and becoming more commonplace. As such, there’s going to be a growth in VR and AR because it’ll be providing our students with AR experiences and the ability to solve problems. 

Finally, distance learning will become easier with the use of VR. So, no longer will student miss out on the advantages of a collaborative learning experience. Coupled with AR, they’ll never go without the tools they need as they can be delivered digitally.

Virtual Reality Future Predictions of 2020: Conclusion

There we have it, some virtual reality predictions. We’ve written a lot on this topic so if you’re interested, read more of our articles on the history of virtual reality and more!

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