Are virtual reality and augmented reality the future of consumer technology?

Technology has been a big help during the Covid 19 pandemic, but now that it’s mostly over, will 2022 be the year the immersive reality experience goes mainstream?

After all, assimilating technology into our lives usually takes some time. However, it is observed that certain trends, including the metaverse and the rapid development of certain technologies, have made this possibility closer than ever. Industry research suggests strong consumer demand for VR and AR products.

According to Fortune Business Insights, the global virtual reality market is expected to grow from $6 billion in 2021 to over $80 billion by 2028. According to Statista, the AR and VR industry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) accounted for an overall revenue of US$81.61 million in 2021 and is expected to grow to US$175.34 million by 2027.

Additionally, an unprecedented number of AR and VR products were rolled out by tech giants including Sony, Panasonic, HTC and Lenovo at this year’s CES, an annual electronics show that takes place in Las Vegas. With advanced software, smaller hardware, high-fidelity displays and a more user-friendly interface, this year’s product rollout suggests that virtual reality and augmented reality are the future of consumer technology.

In this context, Abrar Ullah, Associate Professor and Director of Postgraduate Studies, School of Mathematical and Computational Sciences, Heriot-Watt University Dubai, discusses new AR and VR powered experiences that will drive market growth:

Travel experiences:

The disruption the travel and tourism industry has experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the use of advanced technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality. Thanks to this technology, travelers can now test a place before spending money to get there. With the help of virtual experiences, people can now make smarter decisions and familiarize themselves with them to get an idea of ​​the expenses of the trip.

Additionally, some companies in the travel industry are developing augmented reality applications, which allow tourists to enhance physical locations and tourist attractions. This can allow a user to point their smartphone at a building or landmark and learn more about it, in real time.

The metaverse:

By now we already know the role of augmented reality and virtual reality in creating an immersive and experiential environment, attributes that are central to the metaverse concept. Recently, several tech giants have acquired video game companies. Metaverse, in the form of popular games, is already underway.

For example, the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft and that of Bungie by Sony are proof of this. With the help of augmented reality, virtual objects can be integrated into the real physical world, and virtual reality immerses you in a 3D virtual environment using 3D computer modeling.

Retail Experiences:

According to The App Solutions, custom software development company Shopify, one of the largest e-commerce platforms saw a 94% increase in conversions after implementing AR in its stores. Virtual reality and augmented reality can enhance the customer experience of the product by allowing them to try it out and get a feel for it. VR technology allows customers to personalize their shopping journey.

Many companies are realizing the importance of VR and AR technology to help them connect with their brands. Nike is a good example; the apparel giant has acquired studio RTFKT, a digital collectibles company, which will allow the company to sell virtual sneakers to outfit people’s avatars in the metaverse. The real estate market has also used the full potential of virtual tours during the Covid 19 and it is now an integral part of their marketing strategies for efficient use of resources and better customer experience.

Improved training and education

One of the biggest growth areas for AR and VR technology includes a more engaging and immersive educational environment. The disruption to education caused by COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of accessible education and training delivered online and at a distance. Using VR technology, students will be able to visualize concepts, making them easier to understand.

Additionally, students will be able to access resources and expertise anywhere in the world through self-guided learning. This will give them the flexibility to learn at their own pace and deepen their knowledge in their areas of interest.

Although AR and VR developments have been ongoing for a long time, their development has accelerated in recent years. The disruption caused by the pandemic has highlighted the importance of staying connected to our jobs, education, and other aspects of our lives, regardless of our geographic location.

Augmented reality and virtual reality are facilitating possibilities we couldn’t imagine before, whether it’s revolutionizing our shopping experiences, our travels and more. As we become more familiar with the place of augmented reality and virtual reality in our lives, it will become a business norm for the foreseeable future.

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