Where We Are, and What’s to Come in 2019


All through 2018, I’ve spent a substantial period of time considering and writing about digital actuality (VR). 

I’ve attended VR developer conferences, experimented with utilizing totally different headsets, and have carried out analysis on public sentiment towards the know-how.

Now, with VRX — an annual VR business convention and expo — in session this week, I’ve gotten a glimpse at the place issues stand with this still-somewhat-emerging know-how, and the place it might go in the yr to come.

As 2018 attracts to an in depth, right here is the state of VR.

The Vocabulary

VR does not stand alone as the one know-how designed to create an alternate, however considerably lifelike actuality.

By definition, Digital Actuality (VR) is probably the most immersive of the “reality” applied sciences, and often includes sporting a headset that creates a 360-degree simulation — nearly putting the consumer right into a digital setting or immersive expertise designed to make it really feel like she or he is definitely there.

A couple of steps again from VR is augmented actuality (AR), which primarily overlays an individual’s real-life, bodily surroundings with some kind of digital imagery that is sometimes generated by a cellular system. One of many extra notable examples of AR is the cellular app/recreation Pokémon GO, which makes use of the gamers’ GPS places to assist them “find” and “catch” digital creatures.


Combined Actuality (MR) could be regarded as “AR+”. It locations digital creatures (or objects) in the identical method an AR expertise may, solely with the power of these objects to interact with the actual, bodily world round them — and vice-versa. This one-minute explainer from Microsoft helps to put MR into context.


Lastly, there’s prolonged actuality (XR), which is arguably probably the most emergent of the 4 applied sciences listed right here. In essence, XR seems to mix VR, AR, and MR — in that it creates an immersive, digital expertise for the consumer, whereas additionally permitting that individual to proceed to see and work together with the bodily world round her. 

AR as a “Gateway Drug”

That was a descriptor assigned to AR know-how by EndeavorVR Founder and CEO Amy Peck throughout a VRX panel dialogue on the ubiquity of digital actuality know-how.

It is a nod to the concept, whereas not a totally immersive expertise, AR may give customers a preview into the world of VR and past, in half as a result of it leverages know-how and units that many people already use each day — like our smartphones.

“It’s just a little overly-simplistic to assume that simply because somebody makes use of cellular AR, they’re going to be a VR shopper,” said panelist Stephanie Llamas, VP of Strategy and Head of XR SuperData. “Cellular AR is taking one thing the consumer already is aware of and introducing a brand new use case that then will assist them turn out to be extra snug with digital actuality.”

And whereas it’d take time for that introduction to manifest in the type of VR turning into a mainstream know-how — extra on that later — the journey of AR to VR and past displays a lot of what has occurred all through the course of know-how’s historical past.

“It took a very long time for smartphones to get into the mainstream. It can occur over an extended time period,” said Pearly Chen, Chief of Staff to CEO & Director of Vive X, HTC, during an earlier panel discussion. “A handheld gadget [that can be used for mobile AR] will naturally evolve right into a head-worn system. One million issues want to be solved for us to get there, and that’s why it’s so thrilling for us.”

The Limitations to Mainstream

Earlier this yr, I needed to measure the general public sentiment round VR — to discover out when, if, and how many individuals deliberate to purchase VR headsets. And the place the reply was “no,” I needed to know: Why not?

First, after surveying over 700 individuals throughout the U.S., UK, and Canada, we discovered that almost half of individuals haven’t any plans to purchase a VR headset.

vr data plan to buy-1Knowledge collected with Lucid

Then, for many who indicated that they do not plan to purchase a VR headset, we requested what was stopping them.

vr data why not buying-1Knowledge collected with Lucid

We found three key obstacles to entry.

First, many shoppers do not perceive the advantages or use instances for VR: a theme that reverberated all through day considered one of VRX, and bleeds into the second-highest barrier we discovered, which is the necessity for extra details about the know-how earlier than investing in it.

“The buyer cares extra about what they’re getting out of it and what the expertise that they’ll have. That’s the terminology we use,” stated Ubiquity6 CEO Anjney Midha throughout a panel dialogue. “What can we bring to market that the user understands today?”

IMG_4601Panelists talk about the longer term ubiquity of VR at VRX 2018

The duty in conditions like these, stated Llamas, is essentially on the creators and corporations behind the know-how, to assist navigate customers by means of the VR expertise.

“We’re going to help you understand the tech,” Llamas defined, “and help people navigate VR in a way that provides an entry point.”

That significance positioned on consumer steerage factors to the third main barrier to entry — the price of VR hardware for the buyer — and one other key duty of the companies which are creating VR experiences.

The Way forward for VR Is Location-Based mostly

Once we hear the time period “location-based,” many people consider GPS know-how.

However when it comes to the way forward for VR’s ubiquity, “location-based” truly refers to the idea of bringing a VR expertise to customers the place they already are — for instance, at an occasion or a venue — to introduce them to the know-how with out requiring a purchase order.

A location-based strategy to introducing VR to customers factors to a core tenet of experiential advertising: to deliver an idea or a model to individuals the place they already are, as an alternative of preventing for his or her consideration in a sea of selling messages.

Let’s return to the sooner level of the lack of know-how or information about VR being a barrier to the know-how going mainstream. “You have to have a proactiveness and interest upfront to be the consumer who [deliberately] seeks out in-home VR,” stated Llamas in her VRX opening remarks, “which is why you could have a lot missing in that space — due to that consciousness concern.”

However, Llamas defined, “Location-based entertainment has some opportunity. It brings VR to people.”

The Alternative for Entrepreneurs and SMBs

Wanting forward to 2019, there’s one key piece of Llamas’s remarks that I might ask entrepreneurs and small-to-midsize companies to hold in thoughts with their issues of VR and AR: “Opportunity.”

Whereas there are obstacles to entry, I would not permit that to be a hindrance to exploring the methods a majority of these immersive or interactive experiences may be introduced to your audiences — and may also level to Llamas’s earlier remarks concerning the historical past of rising applied sciences.

“It’s something that needs to take time. If you look at this in the broader context of media history — radios weren’t that easy to use at first — every piece of major media we consume today had its pitfalls,” Llamas reminded us, “and they were generally a lot worse than the pitfalls we have with VR.”

There are two key areas of alternative in creating these experiences in your customers and goal audiences:

  1. Cellular AR
  2. Location-based VR

Let’s take a look at the preferred use instances for Cellular AR.


In accordance to Llama’s presentation, the preferred VR use case is social media — for instance, one thing like a Snapchat Lens overlay that may be created by virtually anybody. (Extra on that right here.)

“AR lets you have a quick, artful interaction with the tech on your phone,” says HubSpot Principal Video Editor and Animator, “which opens minds to the chances of different immersive know-how.

Creating content material for VR is arguably a bit trickier, however that does not imply it could possibly’t be accomplished — particularly if in case you have entry to a 360-degree digital camera and can use it to create immersive video content material that is typically used for VR experiences.

However when it comes to enterprise use instances, what kind of experiences are individuals in search of? What’s the perfect content material to develop? Once more, we’ll flip to Llamas’s knowledge:


As this slide exhibits, VR and AR aren’t all about gaming and leisure. A lot of the time, it is about partaking in an immersive expertise to study one thing new — a message I heard earlier this fall when talking to attendees of Fb’s annual VR convention, Oculus Join.

“You can cram a lot more information that’s ‘learning by accident’ or ‘learning by play’ when it’s in VR,” attendee Steve of DrashVR, which develops instructional packages and curricula in VR, advised me on the time. “That’s the feedback I’ve heard first-hand: that people can learn more from 10 minutes of VR than in a semester of classes.”

The underside line: As 2019 approaches, it could possibly be time for entrepreneurs and SMBs to begin experimenting with immersive experiences like AR and VR. Whether or not it is to assist individuals interact together with your model by means of a enjoyable recreation or animated overlay, or to assist them study one thing, the overall consensus at VRX is that this know-how — whereas nonetheless constructing — is in it for the long-haul. 

“The opportunity is not just to be reaching new audiences,” Watkins emphasizes, “but to be pioneering techniques in a new medium.”

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