This year is ending soon and 2020 is already right around the corner. For VR/AR technology trends, however, one cannot say it is ever too soon to start taking them into account. Over the course of 2019, we took note of some of the tendencies of this industry. Nevertheless, the AWE Europe 2019 event we attended in Munich last week brought a clearer perspective over what the future promises for AR and VR.
The exhibition is organized by the Augmented World Expo each year, in various locations around the world (USA, Europe, Asia, Israel). This year’s event saw over 2000 attendees, with more than 100 exhibitors showcasing their concepts and innovations. Many of the companies relied on established technology from the big players, such as Oculus, Microsoft, Magic Leap, HTC, and Google.
PaleBlue was also invited and Felix Gorbatsevich, our Managing Director, attended the event. During the exhibition, PaleBlue was well recognized and was approached by several attendees for discussions on newly developed hardware and solutions, including our PaleBlue Simulation Platform.
To begin the show, AWE’s co-founder, Ori Inbar, started by marking this year as “one for creators”. He also discussed reasons why computing should be spatial, stating that “we learn and create better in 3D”. After his talk, several sessions were held by other speakers from various companies, like Lenovo, Magic Leap, Torch App and many more. The common goal of all sessions was to share ideas, allow interaction among attendees and get unfiltered feedback from real users.
VR/ AR main trends for 2020
During the talks and sessions we participated at, we were able to confirm that PaleBlue is already integrating into its projects some of the trends in XR (VR, AR, and MR). In addition, we took great notes of other major tendencies. Those that caught our attention were the following:
- More companies go for AR rather than VR development
- Businesses will shift their focus toward the industrial use of VR/AR
- Volumetric Human Performance Capture will continue on improving
- The number of VR and AR content creation platforms continues to grow
- Gesture Control in AR devices keeps a wide-open space for further improvement
AR ruling over VR development
At this show, we noticed that there is a visible increase in Augmented Reality solutions when compared to Virtual Reality ones. We believe the cost is one of the main reasons. Producing VR content can be quite expensive, and mainstream VR adoption requires the purchase of VR headset by users, which is still relatively expensive to buy.
Additionally, producers of VR hardware are already very well established and competing with big players in the industry is not an easy thing.
When it comes to AR, on the other hand, we saw some promising examples, proving that it can be easily implemented. Several mobile apps make use of AR, PaleBlue’s solutions included. A well-known example is the IKEA app which allows you to visualize how a piece of furniture would look like in your house or office. Another example is the Google translate feature that enables you to point your camera at a text and displays the translation to your chosen language. What is very interesting is that most developers find it much easier creating content for AR platforms today.
Among AR companies to watch, we’d name Iristick goggles, Vuzix glasses, and Adtance.
More hardware towards the industrial VR and AR
We also observed that most hardware companies started focusing on the industrial use of VR/AR and this will likely continue in 2020. It was good seeing that the interest is not so much in the entertainment area any longer, but on how AR/VR can help train workers. This approach significantly decreases the risk of training accidents
, reduces the resources used in training and improves the quality of training which makes better and happier employees.
There is interesting VR headset development coming from wide-angle VRgineers headsets, high-density Varjo goggles, and small-frame Vality devices.
As for haptics, companies such as BeBop Sensors and Manus VR are able to present compelling use cases of wearable gloves for VR, and that is well received by the industrial users.
At PaleBlue we specialized in creating simulations for these industries already. The building and the manufacturing industry, as well as the healthcare industry, have also begun making use of VR and AR in various ways.
Improvements in Volumetric Human Performance Capture
There have also been improvements in volumetric human performance capture. This procedure allows you to take a 3D video recording of humans, view it from several angles afterward and insert it into VR. Companies such as Volograms and 4DViews already provide volumetric capture of real-world human performances.
AR and VR content creation platforms number increases
We observe a great number of content creation tools, especially for 360 applications, aimed at marketing, learning, and many more. Their number is on the rise, and now the content creators can choose whether they want to have their stack fully in the web, using Mobfish, or desktop-based, such as VRdirect.
Gesture control in AR devices is an area open for innovation
While the AR technology is improving, companies like Microsoft and Magic Leap are the ones ruling the market. Currently, it is only them providing gesture controls and real objects overlay with positioning. Most AR devices still only feature static overlays and lack hand or gesture control.
There are still developments like Litho, providing a 3DOF hand-held mouse for AR interactions.
We believe that there is space for improvement. And that does not apply only to AR but also to VR and MR. Attending the AWE Europe event was a great experience for us as that demonstrated the state of the industry, its potentials, trends, but most importantly – it’s value.
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