The augmented reality and virtual reality markets have grown significantly over the years. In 2017, the market was valued at $9.1 billion. But in just three years, the value of the market has more than doubled to $18.8 billion. Most importantly, there are no signs that the market will slow down in the near future.
As the market continues to grow, companies will most likely find new and exciting ways to use augmented and virtual reality technologies. How are companies using these technologies this year? Here are some of the biggest virtual and augmented reality trends of 2020:
#1: More Widespread Use Across Industries
Many people associate both virtual reality and augmented reality technologies with the gaming industry. It’s true that these technologies are widely embraced by companies in the gaming industry, however, this is far from the only industry that can benefit from the use of augmented and virtual reality. Experts have known this all along, and in 2020, companies from a wide range of industries have finally realized it, too.
In fact, it’s hard to find an industry that hasn’t started to incorporate augmented and virtual reality technologies into its products or services.
For example, companies in the automotive industry have relied on augmented and virtual reality technologies to create virtual showrooms for consumers who want to shop for a new vehicle from the comfort of their own home.
These technologies are also being used to enhance the patient experience in the healthcare industry. Some mental health professionals rely on virtual reality technology to safely treat patients who suffer from severe anxiety or phobias. There are even augmented reality apps that help nurses find veins in a patient’s arm to make the process of inserting an IV easier.
In manufacturing, augmented and virtual reality is making it easier than ever before to assemble new products. Workers no longer need to consult a manual or ask for help if they need help figuring out how to assemble a product. Instead, they can use an augmented reality headset to project the instructions onto their surrounding environment. This allows them to reference the written step-by-step instructions or watch a how-to video while they assemble the product.
Thanks to this widespread use of both technologies, augmented reality and virtual reality are no longer limited to the gaming world.
#2: Educational Opportunities
Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies have been used to provide a number of new exciting educational opportunities throughout 2020.
Virtual reality can be used to transport students to other real-world environments that they would have never been able to experience without this technology. For example, students who are learning about the solar system may be able to use virtual reality technology to take a virtual visit to outer space.
This gives the students the opportunity to virtually experience the living conditions on other planets for themselves. There’s no doubt that students can learn more from this type of experience than they would by simply reading about the solar system in a textbook.
This isn’t the only way that augmented and virtual reality technologies are disrupting the education industry. These technologies can also be used to enhance the experience of distance learning. Using augmented and virtual reality technologies to teach distance learners ensures that every student can learn in a collaborative environment regardless of whether or not they are physically present in the classroom.
Augmented and virtual reality technologies are creating educational opportunities in the workplace, too. In the past, workers may have been required to sit through hours of training sessions in order to learn how to perform certain job duties. But now, there are other on-the-job training options available thanks to virtual and augmented reality technologies.
For example, MAN CEON TechGuide is an app available through mobile devices and augmented reality headsets. Using augmented reality technology, this app gives engineers the opportunity to choose how they want to receive on-the-job training materials. Engineers who are visual learners can choose between 3D models, animations, and videos. But engineers that are auditory learners may prefer having the information read aloud to them through their mobile device or headset.
By giving engineers these options, this augmented reality product has made it easier than ever before for these workers to receive on-the-job training.
#3: Enhanced Consumer Experiences
Many companies are using virtual and augmented reality technologies to enhance the consumer experience.
These technologies are often used to create “virtual try-on” experiences for online shoppers. This has become increasingly popular in the cosmetics and beauty industry.
For example, Garnier uses augmented reality technology to give consumers the opportunity to “try out” different hair colors before purchasing the company’s hair dye. L’Oreal Paris goes one step further by allowing its consumers to try out different hair colors in addition to shades of lipstick, blush, eyeshadow, and other cosmetic products. This gives consumers the chance to use L’Oreal products to give themselves a virtual makeover from the comfort of their own home.
Beauty brands aren’t the only companies that have started to use augmented and virtual reality to enhance the shopping experience for consumers. This is also a major trend in the automotive industry.
Several automotive manufacturers use these technologies to provide a “virtual showroom” experience to consumers. Using technology in this manner gives consumers the opportunity to tour and inspect vehicles without ever stepping foot in a dealership. As a result, consumers can gather the information they need on various vehicles to make purchase decisions without leaving home.
Brands in the furniture and home goods industry have also embraced augmented and virtual reality technologies. Thanks to these technologies, consumers can see how specific furniture or décor pieces would look in their home. There’s no need to rely on their imagination to visualize how everything will look together—consumers can now see for themselves by projecting images of furniture or décor pieces onto their real world environment.
These are some of the many ways that these technologies are being used to enhance the shopping experience for consumers.
#4: Better Headsets
In the past, the only way to experience virtual reality or augmented reality was to wear a bulky, restrictive headset. In addition, some of the earliest models needed to be plugged into a computer in order to work. These clunky, uncomfortable, and immobile headsets may have made virtual and augmented reality unappealing to consumers. But this shouldn’t be a problem for much longer since better virtual and augmented reality headsets are finally on the way in 2020.
This year, augmented and virtual reality headsets are becoming smaller, more mobile, and far more powerful. For example, Facebook released a new Oculus virtual reality headset that no longer requires a connection to a PC. Because it no longer requires a PC connection, the new Oculus headset allows consumers to experience virtual reality wherever they go.
There are also rumors that Apple will introduce augmented reality glasses in the near future. According to industry insiders, the Apple glasses will look just like optical glasses, which would make them one of the smallest and most mobile augmented reality products on the market.
The emergence of better headsets could make augmented and virtual reality products more appealing to consumers around the world. As more consumers start to purchase these innovative headsets, the demand for new augmented reality and virtual reality experiences will also rise, which means the market for these technologies will continue to boom for years to come.
#5: Navigational Tool
Another trend that emerged in 2020 is the use of augmented and virtual reality technologies as navigational tools.
The Google Maps app, for instance, uses augmented reality technology to provide walking directions to its consumers. How does it work? The app is designed to use your camera and location information to determine exactly where you are and what steps you need to take to get to your final destination.
As you start walking, arrows, signs, and other digital elements will be imposed onto your environment as shown through your smartphone. For example, the app may impose an arrow next to a street that you are approaching to tell you that you need to turn on that street. Using augmented reality technology in this manner makes it easier for pedestrians to figure out how to get to where they need to go.
Google isn’t the only company that is using augmented reality to provide directions to consumers. A number of automotive manufacturers, including Mercedes, Cadillac, and Hyundai, also use augmented reality technology to provide directions to drivers.
For example, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade is designed with an augmented reality navigation system. A live view of the street will be shown on the vehicle’s instrument panel, which makes it easy for the driver to see without taking their eyes off of the road. Using augmented reality, digital elements will be imposed on this live view of the street to provide drivers with navigational directions.
This trend will most likely become increasingly popular in the years ahead. Experts believe that the next step will be using augmented reality to design apps that help consumers find their way around large venues. For example, augmented reality apps may help consumers find a specific store in a shopping mall or locate their departure gate in an airport.
The opportunities are endless when it comes to using augmented and virtual reality technologies to create new or enhance existing navigational tools.
These are some of the many ways that companies are using augmented and virtual reality technologies in 2020. It’s safe to assume that countless other augmented reality and virtual reality trends will emerge in the year ahead as a growing number of companies begin to use these technologies to attract new customers and stay competitive.