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Virtual and augmented reality: Four industries leading technology adoption

Production of AR and VE hardware is expected to skyrocket reaching a volume of 9.6 million units in 2016.

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are no longer concepts of science fiction, it is turning into an everyday reality with a number of technology giants like Google, Samsung and HTC, among others, increasing their investments into the new frontier and developing programs, games, even movies that utilize VR and AR to deliver a memorable consumer experience.


Production of AR and VE hardware is expected to skyrocket reaching a volume of 9.6 million units in 2016, according to the International data Corporation (IDC), which released a worldwide forecast for the technologies earlier this year.


While VR might be getting most of the hype today, IDC forecasts that AR would ramp up over the coming few years. According to the data, the combined AR an VR hardware shipments are expected to reach over 110 million units by 2020.


Meanwhile, revenue from the combined industry folds is topping USD 2 billion globally, just this year.


Below are some industries progressively incorporating VR and AR today:


Video entertainment


Video entertainment, particularly video games, might be the first thing that comes to many minds when thinking of AR and VR. The consumption in this market has reached USD 11.6 million dollars, according to Goldman Sachs data.


Many large players in the video gaming industry, such as Microsoft and Nintendo, are heavily investing in the technology, and producing units including game consoles, surround sound systems and VR headsets.




Healthcare has been one of the first industries disrupted by the AR/VR technologies. As an industry valued at USD5.1 billion, the technology is being incorporated to enhance different offered service and facilitate complex procedures and surgeries.


Other non-invasive procedures utilizing AR/VR include healing traumas and phobias.


Cinema theatres/movie making


Major production houses and film studios are slowly, yet steadily, adopting VR/AR in the filmmaking industry. Today, video entertainment is valued at USD2.3 billion.


The likes of Fox and Paramount are leading the path in adopting the technology to create video entertainment. Game of Thrones, by HBO, is one of the most popular series which incorporates the technology in the production of its episodes.


On the flipside of the coin, VR/AR developers and specialty firms are aware of the value of the video entertainment industry to help expand the business. American VR technology company Oculus has already launched Story Studio, a platform that aims to create entertainment content using the technology.


Cinema theatres are on board too. Imax is preparing to unveil six movie theatres incorporating the VR technology, around the world.




VR/AR is noticeably disrupting the retail industry as we speak. Clothing stores, eyewear stores, cosmetic stores and many others are now featuring the technology in-store to provide a better and smoother consumer shopping experience.


For example, a consumer can choose the outfit he or she would like to try on, but instead of physically grabbing it and heading to the fitting rooms, all they have to do is stand in front of the mirror, to see a reflection of themselves, wearing the desired outfit, in the reflection of the mirror.