Virtual reality hardware and software along with augmented reality is expected to hit all new heights over the next four years. And by “all new heights” I’m talking about an annual growth rate of 181.3% going from an estimated $5.2 billion in 2016 up to $162 billion by 2020.
GamesIndustry.biz is reporting that the International Data Corporation has been monitoring sales trends and have estimated that there will be exponential sales growth in the VR and AR sector… but not from the kind of devices that you might be expecting.
According to IDC research director Lewis Ward, he explained to GI.biz that they weren’t considering sales for consumer PC purchases and hardware like the PS VR, but mostly centered on the sales of enterprise software and hardware…
“Our model includes host devices, which is basically PCs bought alongside VR HMDs like Rift and Vive to power business experiences and use cases. It doesn’t include consumer PC purchases, PS4 purchases, for PS VR, etc,”
[…] “It also includes SI and related consulting work at the enterprise level. So businesses are starting to use Hololens and VR tech internally and they want to link it to internal data sources or consult with a 3rd party provider on how to approach AR/VR properly, and that type of cost is also included in the model as part of total AR/VR industry revenue. Gaming and 360 degree videos get a lot of press but a significant portion of the use cases and expenditures this year are happening at the enterprise level.”
It’s interesting that they’re estimating that the AR and VR adoption rates will mostly fall to business enterprise instead of consumer entertainment.
The consumer market concerning VR has taken one tumble after another from market analysts, but this is the first time I’m reading reports about the enterprise market.
According to IDC, businesses will pick up VR where it may have hit a snag in the consumer market. Technically, they may not be far off with their numbers. Companies like DTE will be using VR tools to train employees instead of live field exams, removing the dangers of dealing with live wires and the risk of injury. While VR gear may be expensive, their aim to focus on training field workers without the risk of real life injury could end up being a cost-cutting measure in the long run. The medial field is also adopting AR and VR technologies when it comes to examining the human body or performing mock surgeries (and not the Surgeon Simulator kind of surgeries).
Analysts are expecting the U.S., to take the charge in VR and AR market growth, leading those sectors in revenue. However, as the old saying goes “software sells the hardware” and Tom Mainelli, vice president of Devices & AR/VR, believes that hardware sales will be dependent upon software application availability, telling GI.biz…
“[…] as always, what people can do with that hardware will depend upon the applications and services that power it. In the coming years, we expect developers to create a wide range of new experiences for these devices that will fundamentally change the way many of us do work.”
Right now, there really aren’t any compelling VR applications. Pokemon Go is the first major AR app that has taken the industry by storm. We can expect more copycats to follow. Microsoft is also opening up Windows 10 to support HoloLens apps in 2010 to further nudge along AR adoption rates, according to The Verge.
VR has yet to find its killer app, but some analysts are hedging bets on the PSVR to provide the first major killer app this fall, where expectations are riding high for the PlayStation device to really kickstart the VR market into high gear… considering that the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have failed to do so.