Achievements of augmented and virtual reality are regularly being discussed in today’s world. It is worth noting that the gaming industry has always been taking

Is investing in virtual reality worth it?

Virtual reality is Projected to reach 37.7 billion USD revenue by 2020(SuperDataResearch), almost a 3 fold increase to now, Virtual Reality is one of the fastest developing industries of our generation. Although we commonly associate Virtual Reality with games, VR encompasses many other domains as well. VR/360° Infographic is a medium that has great market value for the following FOUR reasons.

Applicability

Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly. It can be practiced in virtually all industries. When combined with VR, it essentially becomes a 360° learning space with more room for both information and creativity. It has a great potential impact on education, guides, report/presentations, marketing and etc.

GIF

Check out this full infographic about coral by The Ocean Agency here.

Ease of Production

Making any VR content takes a long time. From designing the concept to a final product, it may take up to months for just a minute long VR video. But that’s not the case for 360° infographics. Infographics can be created using various tools. Most would use Adobe Photo. Since we are dealing with only one picture frame, it leaves us out of the trouble of complicated VR content creating and prolonged rendering time. Depending on the level of sophistication, infographics can be created in a matter of a few hours.

Equirectangular to Cubemap

High Definition

The reality is, streaming VR/360° content is limited to a poor viewing resolution since the “4K” pixels are stretched into 6 surfaces(above). Infographics can be in ultra HD because 1) they are created on computers, and 2) there is no worry of internet speed since only one frame is getting loaded.

Most VR video has a viewing resolution of less than 720(2nd from right), a.k.a “fake 4K”; but 360° images can reach 20K or beyond.

The emergence of Augmented Reality will Fuel Virtual Reality

Augmented reality is VR’s sister industry. Based on statistics the augmented/mixed reality industry will be MUCH larger than VR by 2023. Virtual reality’s reboot started in 2012 with Oculus’ Kickstarter being successfully funded and purchased by Facebook. Why? VR from a time standpoint is much more time-consuming than augmented reality.

Additionally, Magic Leap is one of the most funded startups in history. ML promises a mixed reality device that is coming soon for creators this year. Many speculate and say VR won’t take off because it can’t be used in public or in tandem with other activities. I believe this is a narrow point of view and doesn’t address all of the uses that VR will mostly be used in entertainment, and other completely immersive scenarios.

Common usage of augmented reality will lead people to fully immersive virtual reality experiences. By the time AR picks up in the coming years, VR content and experiences will be much better and appeal more to mainstream audiences rather than the current niche uses.

Limitless Unfathomable Experiences

I interviewed Jay Samit on the Humans 2.0 Podcast. Jay is a major influencer in the world of mixed reality technology. He brought up a very interesting point during our conversation. He said when the iPhone came out, nobody had any idea what kind of mobile applications we could use. The early app store was filled with fart and gun apps with no real utility or purpose.

Point being, even if VR / AR is being used for mundane trivial applications today, it doesn’t mean it will look that way in 5 years.

Due to limited processing power, virtual reality experiences are quite limited. Imagine the future metaverse as a limitless world of intention and thought. Virtual Reality is an idea of fully immersive technology-mediated dream worlds. Rendered mind spaces where the only limit is your imagination.

My favorite example of an unfathomable VR experience today is GE Healthcare’s virtual reality specialty software. It can help radiologists, doctors, and surgeons better read the human body, perform diagnoses and make their decisions. The VR app lets Doctors step inside internal organs and navigate, travel forward from side to side, and even search for polyps and other tumors.

. 5G Networks Are the Gateway

Today, VR/AR developers are limited by various factors like thermal efficiency, sensor, multimedia technologies and other technical factors.

Slowly but surely computer architecture innovations, such as heterogeneous computing, have improved power and thermal efficiency. Integration efficiency has improved due to better transistors and Moore’s Law. Optimized algorithms, such as motion tracking, run better on the hardware.

However, the real gateway for amazing unlimited experiences for VR/AR in an increasingly mobile world…is 5G networks. According to NBC news, 5G networks are projected to bring three benefits to the masses.

  • Faster speed: Data transfer speeds are projected to be about 10 times higher with 5G than is possible with 4G. Expect significantly faster transmission of images, videos, and immersive content. With 4G/LTE, downloading a high-definition movie might take about 10 minutes. With 5G, it is reported to take less than a second.
  • Shorter delays: Though it’s not always noticeable, there is often a brief lag in time from when data is sent to when it’s received. 5G should reduce this so-called latency, making it possible, for example, to watch high-speed virtual reality video with no delays or glitches.
  • Increased connectivity: Cell towers equipped with 5G technology would have greatly increased capacity over 4G/LTE. Which means more people with devices should be able to communicate at the same time without any volume lag errors.

5G is the fuel that will lead to extraordinary innovation in not just virtual and augmented reality, but also broader technologies like IoT and how we connect with each other on the internet.

The industry will Develop Universal Protocols and Frameworks

Virtual reality can be a bit confusing and even intimidating for newcomers looking to join. Most frequently, I hear issues about compatibility and how content is distributed and even how VR games look and feel with controls.

Just like the Web has brought out API’s SDKs, OS, virtual reality is converging into a collected and unified platform. Voluntary guidelines and standards are sure to improve the industry for consumers and developers.

Organizations are on the move to achieve this future goal like the VRARA, IEEE, VRSB, and the Virtual Reality Industry Forum (VRIF). IEEE announced that a working group will establish definitions, categories of VR and AR devices, and standards for quality, user interfaces, and file formats.

What are your predictions for VR & AR in the coming years?

If you are a 360 VR creator, feel free to follow and request me any 360 or/and VR relevant questions! 🙂