VR, AR, MR Technology Review, Trends and Platforms

By pjain      Published Jan. 19, 2021, 11:54 p.m. in blog Startups   

VR, AR, MR 101

Virtual Reality VR 101

AR 101

As people across the world increasingly have easier and cheaper access to more powerful smartphones, augmented reality is playing a bigger role in our mobile experience. Big companies like Samsung and Apple are driving the integration of AR with smartphones and mobile apps.

Games like Pokémon Go took the world by storm. By using AR technology that allows you to interact with the world around you from behind the screen of your smartphone, they created the next level of gaming simulations.

Ultimately, AR might make Smartphones more engaging - keeping buying newer versions of $1000+ phones!

Mixed reality MR 101

Mixed reality is a kind of midway point between immersive virtual reality (where you usually have to wear goggles) and augmented reality, where 3D objects appear superimposed on the real world through your mobile device’s camera or through AR glasses or contact lenses. * In a mixed-reality scenario, objects understand the shape and topography of the real world and combine with it so that you can move – and interact – seamlessly with both the real and the virtual. .. It can help stores satisfy customers even if they can’t hire enough employees during peak hours or keep enough stock on hand in every shop.

MR Mixed Reality - inevitable to enrich lives - from Plain Old Smartphones

AI everywhere in VR, AR, MR

AR's Motion Sickness Problem

VR Technology Trends

Mass use today in IG/Snap - Adoption of VR/AR made easier

Now hundreds of millions have used photo filter on Instagram or Snapchat. They have experienced the merger of artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality by placing a funny hat or a dog's nose and ears on a photo. More sophisticated use cases are aging or what a baby of two photos would be like.

AR and VR are being adopted with innovations with bigger, better, or simply easier experiences, be it in the entertainment industry or just in day-to-day life. This acceptance of AR and VR is making the adoption of VR and AR across different fields a more progressive and widespread event.

5G Latency and Bandwidth enables AR/VR

5G allows faster, more reliable connections and near-zero latency.= and is a key enabler of AR & VR implementations, where latency is key to creating a realistic and smooth experience. The enhanced bandwidth of 5G benefits AR & MR experiences as well. For instance, in remote assistance scenarios, indoor AR navigation, or even the implementation of AR/MR headsets could leverage cloud computing and improved connectivity. The adoption of 5G and its investments increased this year, and it will only keep growing in 2021. Good news for the AR & VR field!

Server Based Simulation with Streaming AR/VR

Already many online games are getting away from propreitary gaming consoles instead streaming from backed server. This requires latency for decent FPS.

Currently, several VR headsets require a powerful PC to run the most demanding experiences. However, with 5G, the processing power can be pushed into the edge cloud without compromising latency, and then users are no longer limited by the device’s capabilities. Data transfer speed and latency are also essential for reducing nausea or headaches during a virtual reality view.

## VR headsets become untethered

One limiting factor with current XR technology is the need for encumbering headsets and display units eg with VR, where the powerful processing hardware needed to generate the graphics is usually contained within the headset. Now, hardware devices have started to trend towards being "untethered"

  1. Facebook's Oculus headset initially needed to be connected to a powerful PC, but in 2020 became available as the self-contained Oculus Quest version.

UHD, 4K quality Graphics on the Horizon

Headsets will be able to generate increasingly realistic "worlds" for the VR user to explore as the devices are fitted with more and more powerful processors.

Apple’s forthcoming 8K combined VR/AR glasses that will not be tethered to a computer or phone. The consumer tech giant is hoping that it will be the one to break XR into the mainstream with a high-end but affordable device, in the same way it did with the iPhone.

Shiny new toys - sell more expensive Consumer Electronics

The old Android Cardboard VR era barely generated colored surfaces and low-res polygon images.

Ultimately, AR might make Smartphones more engaging - keeping buying newer versions of $1000+ phones!

Key: Technological advancements boost VR/MR - Price Performance - Realism

Marketing, Customer Engagement Boosts

VR helps because it creates greater brand awareness and deeper engagement. This type of interactive content can also be successful at converting customers and can help you differentiate your brand from competitors'.

Gamification More Engaging

Gamification was effective since 2010s but even more important in 2020.

However, because more visitors are engaging with VR and AR on their smartphones, along with affordable mobile VR headsets like Gear VR, Google Cardboard or Daydream View, gamification has enormous potential for marketers.

"Health and welfare apps are just the starting point for these gamification strategies. Brands and marketers have an opportunity to use gamification to acquire new customers and build sustainable relationships with existing ones by giving users a unique experience that only their brand can offer. For example, in personal banking these can be used to reward loyal customers, in fashion they could unlock exclusive offers or early access to new products -- brands could even use gamification metrics to give fans access to exclusive content." - Tim Bond, head of insight at the DMA.

Companies and Platforms for VR/MR

Apple leader with ARKit 4, VRKit using Billions of iPhone, iPads

Apple ARKit 4, VRKit - using std iPhone, iPads

Apple end 2020 announced ARKit 4, the latest version of its open source augmented reality development tools.

  • 2017 original ARKit. Since their introduction in 2017, these tools have helped developers ease into the AR market. Because of greater app support, AR-capable devices and their users have dramatically increased.

  • WWDC 2018 Apple has revealed updates to ARKit 2.0

  • WWDC 2019 ARKit 3.0

  • WWDC 2020 ARKit 4.0 included location anchors, new depth API, and improved face tracking. This allows Apple’s ARKit developers to tap into the power of the latest iPhones’ LiDAR hardware.

Oculus, FB

  • A tiny part of Facebook, $74b, M=716b, Emps=45k Facebook has used its technology strengths and massive reach for its software to establish a strong position in the online advertising market and to change the way the world connects. Virtual reality was one of the largest growth-and-innovation companies outside its core social media business. In 2014, Facebook acquired VR-company Oculus for $2 billion. In 2020, Facebook had its beta-launch of Horizon, a social experience where users can explore, play, and create with others in VR. Today, Facebook is one of the biggest VR companies in the world.

Argodesign's artificial window concept

Samsung

$197.6 b, M=$280b, Number of employees: 105,257

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. specializes in the design and sale of electronics and computer devices. Samsung is no stranger in the VR industry. In 2017, Samsung’s Gear VR dominated the VR shipping market for an estimated 782,000 headsets in the first quarter. Their first branded smartphone-based Samsung Gear VR was presumably the first cheapest option available for mid-range VR experiences to be mass-produced. Samsung also urged VR use with a solely devoted VR browser for Samsung devices, in addition to the extensive VR content library/store. The company also manufactures Gear VR controllers and accessories such as joysticks, Wirelex Galaxy, Game Controllers, and more.

Microsoft

Rev $140b, M 1600b, Emps 144k

Mainly enterprise software, services, devices, and solutions.

  1. CORE OS in Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system enables compatible PCs and laptops to enter Windows Mixed Reality.

  2. Windows Mixed Reality is a a VR and AR experience platform. Microsoft’s VR experience offers the most popular VR games thru StreamVR.

  3. Dev Tools. The Windows Mixed Reality also offers Maquette, which enables users to design amazing immersive interfaces, environments, and experiences with a variety of powerful tools and assets that allow you to build and iterate ideas from within 3D space.

  4. Social Gaming/VR. One can easily connect with friends, both new and old, to the magic of social VR called AltspaceVR.

Sony

Revenue 79b, M 79b Emps 114k

Maker of a very varied types of electronic equipment, tools, and devices, as well as game consoles and software. While Microsoft has been reluctant to pursue VR on its Xbox console, Sony has eagerly leaped into space and has had impressive market success with PlayStation VR launched in 2016. Sony could have a more advanced version of PlayStation VR that might be released in the next year or two, once the PS5 has had an opportunity to step on its own for a period of time.

Google - likely loser in VR - not focussed, killed Google Glasses

  • Revenue 166b, M=1170b, Emps 119k VR remains a small part of Alphabet’s overall corporate strategy, but the search leader has been an innovative leader in space and has some major platform advantages that make it a company to watch in the world of VR. Alphabet launched its first jump into consumer VR space in 2014 with Google Cardboard, a cardboard-shaped headset that could be cut out and sized to be attached to a user’s smartphone screen.

Google ARCore - for Android

However, ARCore is more widely accessible considering the larger global market share Android has over iOS. However, this varies by region. For example, iOS has a larger market share than Android in the United States in 2020.

Google’s ARKit 4 competitor is its ARCore technology is also making great strides to keep up in the industry.

Google’s ARCore is innovating with the introduction of publicly-made Street View photos. As long as an Android user has an ARCore-capable smartphone, Google will accept submissions for Street View photos. Although these must meet certain quality guidelines, this demonstrates that ARCore has improved enough that Google feels confident that smartphones can take the photos necessary to incorporate with Google Maps and to add these images alongside photos taken by more specialized equipment.

Google’s ARCore falls short of ARKit in terms of motion capture, simultaneous use of front and back cameras, and tracking multiple faces.

Smart AR Glasses

AR glasses and Uses

Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality (MR) headsets put virtual content right before your eyes overlaid over the world around you.

A device of these characteristics, allowing users to receive and view important information on glasses’ lens, has many compelling use cases. For instance, factory workers could see valuable data from the machines they work with, or surgeons could have an overview of their patient’s health status — all hands-free. The limit of holding your smartphone to leverage AR capabilities is no more.

Facebook

  • 2020 announced its first pair of smart AR glasses, expected to release in 2021.

Microsoft HoloLens

Google Glass and next generations 2022+

  • Overlays images against the world
  • You had just a small window to display Internet-accessed data and images.

Apple heavily investing in next gen glasses

Apple is said to be working on AR glasses too, and probably we’ll see more about them next year. Apple’s forthcoming 8K combined VR/AR glasses that will not be tethered to a computer or phone. The consumer tech giant is hoping that it will be the one to break XR into the mainstream with a high-end but affordable device, in the same way it did with the iPhone.

Smart Classes Smaller Companies

  • Vuzix VUZI, $3m, M=0.384b Emps= 2,500 Vuzix is an optical company specializing in the production of smart glasses. The company's display devices offer users a high-quality, portable viewing experience that provides mobility solutions, wearable displays, and virtual and augmented reality. VR software and Vuzix VR eyewear are used in a range of applications, from game and flight simulations to medical applications such as pain and phobia management. Headquarters: Denver, CO

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