There are few industries as exciting as Virtual Reality.
When Facebook made their multi-billion dollar purchase of Oculus Rift, they confirmed a message that many had believed for a long time: VR is a big, big deal.
Now just a few years later, the VR space continues to heat up and investors continue to pour money into startups leading the way.
As this money continues to flow and the hype continues to build, what the future of VR looks like is still uncertain so we proposed the question:
What’s the future of VR look like?
Here’s what we learned….
Achin Bhowmik, VP & General Manager of the Perceptual Computing Group at Intel Corporation
“The next frontier of compute will empower people to build, solve, create and play in a world where the barrier is diminished between the physical and virtual worlds. Virtual technologies hold tremendous potential for the future, but industries have only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible.
In 2016, we unveiled Project Alloy, acquired VOKE VR and, together with Microsoft, developed the specs for Windows Holographic.
VR experiences will move beyond the nascent phases in industries like healthcare, education and travel, employing the latest in VR technology to create fully immersive experiences.
Technology and sports will become even more deeply integrated in the next year, transforming the way people train, watch and interact with sports.
Merged reality, a new way of experiencing physical and virtual interactions and environments, will come to the forefront with five technological advances (6 degrees of mobility, integrated tracking, more natural manipulation, untethered, digitized real-world content) and is expected to come to market in holiday 2017.”
Taylor Freeman, Co-founder & CEO of Upload, Inc.
“We have seen steady growth in both the consumer and professional markets with the launch of consumer VR hardware in the past year. Chances are you’ve seen VR positioned as a gaming and entertainment device. It’s definitely true that Oculus, HTC and Playstation have made a marketing push toward entertainment and the early adopters have heavily consisted of hardcore gamers. However, there are many additional industries starting to adopt this technology. Over the course of 2017, we can expect to see a large number of architecture firms adopting the new medium and incorporating VR into their workflow. In the future, people won’t be able to believe they ever started construction without first taking an immersive walkthrough. Other traditional industries adopting VR technology include art and design, education, healthcare, and communication.”
Sergio Flores, Electronics Engineering for Samsung Mobile HQ, South Korea
“As breakthrough innovation is happening inside the VR Industry, not only the potential revenue that this industry can bring has grown considerably ($5.2bn+ by 2018) but also the areas where virtual reality will be available in the future are expanding at unexpected rates. Indeed, while it is expected that the addition of many more sensors and external controllers to VR devices while allow the introduction of much more entertainment content, I believe this will also make it possible to integrate VR into the following industries:
- Education: Introducing a new method to travel to other times and experience different lifestyles or moments in history. Possibility to visit places that otherwise would either be impossible to visit or too expensive to do so.
- Healthcare: Introducing better training for surgeons by allowing them to experience real human operations virtually and allowing them to make more mistakes in order to learn.
- Retail: Introducing virtual shopping and making it possible for consumers to try out more options while reducing retail costs for fashion companies and other shops in general.”
David Falter, President & CEO of Antenna International
“Metaphorically speaking, VR is still in its ‘Charlie Chaplin phase’ because it is, in essence, modern-day silent film. While wildly entertaining for our eyes, the experience is still relatively simple, unrefined and raw when it comes to sound. It’s not until this nascent visual technology is successfully integrated with binaural 3D sound that it will offer a truly immersive experience.
In less than 5 years, 3D audio is expected to revolutionize our standard for multimedia listening. Similar to how high-definition television has enhanced the everyday viewing experience, binaural 3D sound is expected to reshape our listening experience and redefine the production of music, movies, radio, and television programming – and yes, VR content as well.”
Dave Curry, VP, Emerging Trends & Technology at POP
“In the not too distant future, the lines that currently divide XR (the roll-up term for virtual, augmented and mixed realities) will dissolve, allowing consumers to seamlessly shift between them.
My dream scenario takes place on a flight to Hawaii. I don’t fly as often for meetings because XR has vastly improved remote collaboration, but sitting on a beach and reading a great book is a scenario I have no interest virtually replicating.
From row 9, seat C, I’m fully immersed in re-watching the latest Star Wars story, this time from the perspective of the Dark Side, when a soft chime informs me the steward is about to step into my virtual world. He does, hands me my drink, then quickly fades out to attend to the traveler seated next to me.
This blending of realities based upon the real needs of the user will greatly expand what’s possible across XR’s future landscape.”
Vishwa Ranjan, Head of Augmented & VR at Infosys
“In 2017 we’ll see companies view AR and VR as legitimate technologies that they should be researching and investing in, rather than tech fads simply tied to games and entertainment.
We’ll see smartphone companies develop AR and VR-based features, like image-recognition-based, location-based and sensor-based technologies, and 360 cameras that will help to push AR and VR out into early adopter’s hands.
Despite enormous traction with the technologies in 2016, a critical issue surrounding AR and VR will remain unsolved: the technologies will not see mass production until they solve a problem for every day and niche users. But in 2017 we will overcome this hurdle.
With AR/VR in education, we’ll train our students to see the world and learn in a new and exciting way, which will spark the next generation of technological advancements.”
Philip Hamstra, VP of Strategic Initiatives at Meeting Tomorrow
“VR and AR will be transforming global culture by 2030. AR will be mostly mainstream, with most interfacing through contact lenses or fiber-optic retinal projection, or through glasses or an “e-window” for laggards. Neural implants will be common in the military, but mainstream cyborgism will be resisted.
VR will clearly be the interface for media, games, pornography and communication. What people fail to realize is that we will “go to work” in VR. Not only will the economic incentives compel companies to migrate most “knowledge” employees to an entirely virtual workspace, but an entire economy of non-media products designed and consumed entirely within the digital world will be a double-digit percentage of GDP by 2030.
While there will certainly be addictions and abuse of these technologies, the greater danger is an exacerbation of global class inequality around access, the crucible in which the seeds of revolution are sown.”
Dave Chavez, CTO at zSpace
“VR will be a part of all of the technology that we use – not a separate device or experience. It will be embedded in our phones, our laptops, our browsers….if we are even using those devices in 10 or 15 years. VR will be a seamless experience at the tip of our fingers when we need it.”
Nick Johnson, Head of Platform at Applico
“VR is still a few years away (at least) from being mainstream. But it will have a huge impact in 10-15 years. One of the biggest areas you’ll see changes is related to the spread of autonomous vehicles. Passengers will now have a lot of time on their hands and will need something to do with it. VR (and AR) will be a big part of that experience. Remember the scene from the most recent jurassic park movie where the kids are driven around the park? Kind of like that, but imagine being able to “go anywhere in the world.. The entire tourism industry will be upended.”
Chris Orris, Senior Account Manager at Oxygen PR
“Today, regular 2-D screens are everywhere, but we don’t talk about them. That’s because we talk about phones, computers, tablets and so forth. If you want to call an Uber, watch a YouTube video, write a document or basically anything else in our daily lives, we don’t even think of the screen as part of that equation.
That’s what the future of VR will be. Current devices are bulky and feel unnatural, but the potential uses of “3-D screens” are just as varied as their 2-D counterparts. For lots of activities, from work to communication to entertainment, you’ll just naturally put on goggles as part of it and take them off when you’re done, as naturally as you switch a TV on and off or take your phone out from or back into your pocket. VR won’t replace our reality, but become a natural component to parts of it.”
David Neuman, Director of Social Media Strategy for RhythmOne
“There will be three major areas that will be impacted by VR: gaming, communication, and advertising. VR will become the norm in how we play video games resulting in new companies, and existing ones like PlayStation, to develop systems specific to VR. Communication will also be significantly impacted by VR. Samsung has already integrated VR with their devices through a separate product, but expect future smartphone releases to bake in VR as part of their core functionality. VR will become the new Facetime. As with anything digital, the rapid growth of VR will result in brands finding new ways to advertise. Developing video won’t be enough anymore – brands will use VR technology to find new ways to promote their products. This will include fully immersing consumers into the company’s version of an ideal brand experience – think car companies offering a VR test driving experience.”
Sophie Thompson, Co-Founder of VirtualSpeech
“In 10-15 years, VR headsets will be significantly smaller and integrated into our everyday lives, much like the smartphone is today. We’ll be as close to teleportation as we can get – with the click of a few buttons, we’ll be able to transport ourselves to different countries, art galleries, museums and unique experiences.
I expect VR to have the most significant impact on education, with an increasing number of developers entering this space. It will revolutionise the way we learn and interact with teachers and classmates. Practical methods to improve on soft skills will become more accessible, such as the ability to effectively improve communication skills like public speaking and interview techniques. These are often not covered on school curriculums so VR could pave the way for a real shift in educational priorities.”
Arnaud Dazin, CEO & Co-founder of ADVR
“You are caught on camera about 70 times per day. In 2030, that number will increase exponentially with the prevalence of Reality Capture (volumetric capture). Wearing stylish, lightweight glasses that can do both VR and AR will be as common as wearing jeans, and the ability to film your personal and public highlights for later review in VR will replace selfies as the new favorite pastime. From reviewing your day in third person to improve posture to finding that perfect comeback after being roasted the night before-these are some of the exciting social impacts and future implications of VR. And because any great technological advancement also comes with human behavioral changes, privacy and laws regarding what we capture and share will be a pressing topic of the future.”
Timothy Duncan, Director of the Digital Audio and VR/AR programs at Cogswell College
“A lot of what VR is figuring out is best practices and general standards for the industry. We’re ironing out how to do quick motion changes in a VR headset without making the participant nauseous. 90-frames-a-second seems to be a minimum frame rate in virtual reality video to avoid motion sickness. I predict that standard for virtual reality video will end up closer to 100- or 120-frames-a-second.
The adoption of standards like this throughout the industry will be the next big marker of progress. We’re pretty close to getting standardized toolsets for production work in virtual reality applications.”
Nancy Bennett, CCO & Head of VR at Two Bit Circus
“Visitors have digital passports tied to their DNA and interact and immerse with others across and within interconnected metaverses. The metaverses will project in-room, on retina, via mobile devices, implants and connected home devices and are voice activated. These destinations are architected by tech stacks, brands, IP libraries, educational institutions, individuals, networks and entities and display mash-ups of augmented, virtual, 3d, 8K, haptic, social content streams. All provide a choice between branched and linear narratives and are available across all categories of interest. Whether visiting the archives of the library of congress as a US citizen; or the house of DC or Toontown for Warner Brothers subscribers; applying to access the Harvard Review or a secret society; or meet on the streets and jam with musicians using digitally architected instruments and samples from across history- the capacity and efficiency of the human brain will expand. Additionally, with the rise of AI technology humans will begin to merge with machines.”
Tom Sanocki, CEO & Founder of Limitless VR
“Before starting Limitless VR, I had to pass up two opportunities with dear friends to co-found VR startups, both of which are well known today. I had to say no because I couldn’t move my family, and clearly there are many people in similar positions. The future of VR is lifting these restrictions — we can be in any place, interact with anyone, and not be restricted by time or space. Barriers will blur, so we’ll be mixing training with entertainment, work with education, and art with everything. Interactivity will create entirely new experiences beyond what we know today. And the core of everything will be people, and opening up opportunities for everyone no matter who they are or where they live.”
Roy Peer, Founder of Stimuli VR
“The trajectory of VR leans heavily on our ability to closely match our natural ethods of viewing the world.
Today headsets are usually large and cumbersome to use, especially in out of the home settings. Future VR will aim to incorporate systems that seamlessly attach to our bodies without creating any physical hindrances. Today many envision a magical contact lense, a brain implant, or some form of conscience graphing.”
Wren Handman, Content Creator for Hammer & Tusk
“Over the next 10-15 years, we’ll begin to see virtual reality merging with augmented and mixed reality. These devices will be able to transport you to digital worlds, but they will also be able to interact intelligently with the real world. The implications of that shift is that this technology won’t just be in the realm of gaming. In fact, as a gaming engine VR has failed to impress with mass adoption; but as a tool in medical, educational, and enterprise industries, it’s already surpassing expectations. VR (and AR) is being used to train surgeons, take children on field trips to far flung locals, and provide onsite experts for technical tasks like elevator repair. That’s where we’ll see it continue to truly take off. By 2025, we’ll no longer have monitors. There just won’t be a need.”