We’ve already predicted a boom in Mixed Reality during the coming year. And we included the why and how. But with 2018 now right around the corner, Stambol wants to share our Top 10 specific expectations from Extended Reality overall.
Whether you call it VR/AR/MR or simply XR, we can all agree big things are coming for the worlds of immersive and overlaid digital content.
1. XR Assets are Growing Exponentially
Any digital artist will tell you that building imagery from scratch is both extremely difficult and painfully time-consuming. Contemporary graphics professionals must rely on illustrations, photographs, vectors, and 3D objects to build the worlds we enjoy in games and other interactive experiences. Libraries of compatible objects for MR, AR, and VR – like Google Poly and Microsoft’s Remix 3D – are essential if fresh content is to become prolifically generated.
2. New Development Tools are Available
XR software will be in huge demand in the next few years, so we have our eyes on some of the latest shiny new things. We see democratization of immersive development through programs like Amazon Sumerian. While Google VR’s Blocks is an artist-friendly 3D modelling program with tools to help developers shape, paint, modify, stroke, grab, and erase. Like the asset libraries above, applications that enable the masses to create content could do for the XR world what content management systems did for digital publishing.
3. MR-ready Gear will Hit the Market
All these cutting edge virtual experiences will require the best of the best in headset and wearable technology. While lightweight glasses are the long-term goal for most hardware developers, headsets will be with us for several years to come, particularly in the more affordable models. Check out our list of MR gear to watch in 2018 for more detail.
4. Innovations in Health Care will Come Alive
Immersive technology can be used in health care for everything from diagnostics and surgery assistance to physiotherapy and psychotherapy. XR also presents the opportunity for medical and care professionals to offer treatment and collaborate remotely.
5. XR will Transform Industrial Prototyping
Research and development for many industries requires a lengthy process of presenting and demonstrating new products through the creation of prototypes. The process of engineering, testing, tweaking, building and rebuilding can be prohibitive for many companies, particularly when the machine or piece of equipment is large or complicated. XR can make multiple design iterations (and the associated presentations) much more cost-effective, so we expect to see this usage area continue to grow.
6. Audience As Protagonist Experiences will Emerge
Entertainment is another industry to benefit from immersive technology, and like the others, the combination of convincing imagery and our real world is highly desirable. Imagine movies that employ the video game experience of being ‘in’ the story. We anticipate developers working on narratives that range from social or group stories that involve adventures, challenges, and teamwork, to intimate, personal stories that take individual views through emotionally engaging journeys.
7. XR will Enter E-commerce
The chance to virtually examine an online product is one of the most game-changing innovations to hit ecommerce. Many consumers won’t shop online or won’t purchase certain products because they can’t interact with the item of interest. In virtual marketing, the more realistic the image, the more it will improve sales, so we expect to see e-tailers doing everything they can to employ XR and further its advancement.
8. Remote Workers will Explode in Numbers
Part of the largest challenge employees and employers face in setting up telecommuting work is relationship-building. Most professionals who want to work remotely are usually only successful in obtaining a full-time position when they have a pre-existing relationship with the employer. Realistic virtual conferencing could break through this barrier like no tech has ever achieved.
9. XR will Come Home
Household uses for immersive technology will be a strong indicator of how readily VR, AR, and MR are accepted by the public and understood by the average individual. If you got excited about using a tablet and stand to make a new recipe, think about what the next level looks like with an XR product. A step-by-step cooking walkthrough will include a 3D model of the finished dish. How about assistance with home repairs? Or help with personal style? If you can think of it, developers will too.
10. The New Business Wildcard
One final thing we know with certainty is that Extended Reality will deliver products and businesses never before seen in the world. We know what we don’t know about how XR will impact how we live, work, play, and learn. So above all, we expect to be delightfully surprised by applications made possible by our fellow immersive pioneers.
Are you excited for next year’s XR milestones? We are too! Because Stambol’s disruptive dreamers are ready to help your business achieve new heights in 2018. Ask us what we can create to meet your unique needs.
Photo Credit: Syda Productions / Adobe Stock