Insight Constellations, Part Two

Augmented and Virtual Reality

CCS_predicts_lAs the CCS Insight Predictions for 2016 and Beyond event approaches, we’re looking back at some recurring themes from Daily Insights in the past year or so. Here’s the second part of a list that highlights some clear patterns.

CCS Insight has said for the past few years that augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are two of most important emerging technologies today. We expect AR and VR to be highly disruptive through their abilities to transform experiences from flat to deceptively immersive (see Adoption of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Predicted to Rise).

The key enabler: imaging goes full circle

It starts with a click. At the beginning of 2015, we wrote about the growing number of film-makers working on virtual reality projects (see Daily Insight: Virtual Reality Making the Rounds). It’s still in the experimental stage, but the world of entertainment is taking the venue seriously and video capture is the enabler.

There have been a series of VR imaging product announcements in 2015 — some expected and others surprising. Active camera specialist GoPro, for example, recently unveiled the Odyssey virtual reality camera rig: a reel of 16 GoPro devices working in unison to capture images in 360-degrees. The product relies on Google’s Jump virtual reality platform for stitching together and displaying the VR video and, at $15,000, Odyssey is priced well beyond the consumer market.

We also noted Nokia’s unexpected entry into the VR camera market with the Ozo device, unveiled in July (see Daily Insight: Nokia Makes a 360). The company said that the spherical virtual reality camera is designed for “professional content creators”.

In late 2014, Samsung demonstrated a VR camera intended for use with the company’s Gear VR headset (see Daily Insight: Imaging Goes Full Circle). The device, called Project Beyond, was introduced as a prototype for professionals to use in coverage of news and sporting events.

We’ve also occasionally highlighted Jaunt, a company that’s become a notable competitor in stereographic video and sound capture. The California-based start-up has been developing a virtual reality ecosystem and has clear ambitions of becoming an important player in the future of news and entertainment.

CCS Insight will be watching for more VR imaging announcements, including coverage of devices designed for consumer budgets.

A learning trend for augmented and virtual reality

Gaming is a clear use for augmented and virtual reality, and the engaged enthusiasts first in line to buy gaming hardware and software are likely to be the same ones to adopt AR and VR headgear.

But there’s also been interest in using augmented and virtual reality to enhance education at all levels. Microsoft, for example, recently partnered with Case Western Reserve University in the US to turn the HoloLens augmented reality headset into a serious learning tool for medical students (see Daily Insight: Muscle Memory). Augmented reality allows the layering of information, helping memorisation to come alive. This implementation is similar to the idea behind some of the earlier AR headset prototypes developed for the military to train or guide personnel to repair complex equipment.

More recently, we wrote about Google’s Expeditions — a virtual reality education platform that the company and its project partners are offering cost-free to selected schools in several countries (see Daily Insight: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea). These virtual reality field trips will enable student to be submerged in foreign places and historical landmarks. Destinations for virtual visits include the Great Wall of China, the ocean floor and the surface of Mars.

Education is emerging as a tangible use for AR and VR, and could become a key driver for the technologies.

To learn more about our thoughts on the future direction of the industry including for augmented and virtual reality, sign up for CCS Insight’s Predictions for 2016 and Beyond event on 18 November 2015.

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