We are now heading into the final part of 2016. Without doubt it has been a wonderful year for virtual reality. Both for users and developers, VR tech has offered lots of excitement and posed new challenges. This has lead to the birth of new ecosystem of start-ups and business models. VR is now well on its way as projected, to become a $30bn market by the end of this decade (i.e. 2020).
Over these past 12 months itself VR tech has advanced so much. Researchers all across the globe are publishing papers unraveling the potential of VR in aiding people. In fact the growth of VR market may even speed up and prove to be an important year for VR software and hardware development just like 2007 was for smartphones, if you remember.
Though we know the complexity in predicting upcoming trends in such a fast paced industry, here we are venturing to put forward to you the top 10 virtual reality predictions for 2017.
Prediction #1: New Hardware Will Surface
Of course, we are expecting a lot of cool hardware announcements and releases all throughout the year. In 2016 itself big heads HTC, Google, Samsung, Sony and Oculus have all shown their strong influence in the VR market. With Microsoft’s VR headset in line for the early part of 2017, this trend will continue on a much higher scale.
The recently released Google Daydream View, Fove VR, PSVR are also going to increase sales and compete with the likes of Oculus and HTC Vive. We might also feast our eyes with accelerated product updates at hopefully lower prices.
Prediction #2: More Big Names Will Join The Party
In 2017, we will see more and more companies taking VR more seriously, if they haven’t started already. There will start wide-scale researching to develop AR and VR as legitimate technologies.Though gaming will remain the primary point of contention, we might start to see VR penetrating into the enterprises. In a series of articles we have already been showcasing the potential of VR to transform various sectors, check them out to be on top of the VR industry.
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As in all these fields, top developers will be sought out for in search for the ‘killer app’. With news of Apple recruiting VR & AR experts, Intel working on its Project Alloy, ecommerce giants Amazon and eBay embracing VR, we are going to see some mega changes in the Tech Industry altogether.
Prediction #3: Mainstream VR will not be far away
VR, particularly by gamers, is undoubtedly considered an exciting emerging technology. Despite the fact that VR offers great heights of immersion, it suffers from various challenges. Currently, availability and affordability stand as major roadblocks to this rather immature technology.
However, VR will slowly start covering more ground and enter many aspects of our lives this New Year. With affordable hardware down the line VR tech will offer valuable services. With Daydream View, Google has targeted a wider range of users and laid down the crucial foundation in making every smartphone VR-ready. Such efforts backed by parallel content quality developments will surely make VR mainstream and in 2017 we are going to get a taste of that for sure.
Prediction #4: Better Processing Power Than Ever
Anyone who knows how virtual reality works, knows the importance of reliable high- end hardware. Even a small dip in performance can shatter the immersive feeling altogether. In 2016 we saw signs of this challenge being well accepted by many OEMs and we are going to see far better and speedier processing gear coming. The screen resolution, too, another major shortcoming, can be expected to improve significantly to provide more than passable VR experiences.
In this New Year we will see new architecture designs to integrate high resolution displays to cameras. This could also trigger a massive change in the future phones as well.
Prediction #5: Hollywood Will Take The VR Route
Embrace yourself, Hollywood will start taking VR seriously and the entire movie going experience will change in the next few years. Though VR has been on the brink for quite a while now, improved headsets can make them widely prevalent in the film industry.
There are already studios taking a good look at this technology to avoid being the last to hop onto this bandwagon. Perhaps 2017 will the best time for studios to become the Pixar or Warner Brothers of VR.
Prediction #6: Jobs In This Industry Will Increase Exponentially
In our recent blog post, i.e. the hottest jobs opportunities in the VR industry, we discussed in length about the sudden increase in jobs in this domain. It will not certainly be wrong to predict that these openings will further increase.
As mentioned, hardware and software development is currently running at its peaks and with ever increasing demand for talent.
There will continue to be huge demand for Developers and Designers throughout this decade. Possibly we might also see several key startups and small businesses being acquired by big tech companies to up their VR game.
Prediction #7: Will Become A Major Part of Healthcare
Surprisingly, VR has made a great impact in medicine and healthcare. Earlier in the year, this amazing paper published in RSOS highlighted the science behind VR pain Relief. As discussed in this study, VR was used to treat patients suffering from posttraumatic stress.
Since VR pain relief is based on the immersive experiences, these can trick the brain reducing the feeling of pain. This is particularly helpful in creating stunning experiences while patients go through painful procedures like dental treatment or dressing burns. Though wide scale adoption of this technology in healthcare centers may take time, we are going to see it spreading in 2017.
Prediction #8: VR Marketing Strategies Will Appear
Brands Will Make Perfect Use of VR Marketing. In fact, companies have already started experimenting with different VR formats to produce amazing content. This trend will continue into 2017 and we might see some great use of this fresh tech. To know exactly how this is going to happen, take a look at these top VR marketing campaigns already worked upon by several brands.
Prediction #9: AR Apps Will Increase
Currently AR and mixed reality (MR) devices are completely standalone. These run on Android (except Microsoft HoloLens, runs on Windows 10). Deployment of AR at full scale will surely take time and we firmly believe it will hit the enterprise first and later consumers.
However, we expect developers to bring in some cool apps similar to Pokémon GO. Now that APIs and SDKs are made available to developers, we can expect some cool AR experiences coming out for us to enjoy.
Prediction #10: There Will Be Surprises
We live in a modern world where new technologies continue to surprise us from time to time. And predicting what happens in the tech world has become more erroneous than ever. So we are confident that whatsoever the predictions are, there will still be some surprises and so we have labeled all such VR tech trends as ‘The Surprises’.
Do you have anything else to add to our list? What do you think about our predictions? Please share with us all your views on this amazing topic below in the comments section. Thanks!