What’s happening with virtual and augmented reality in 2022
VR and AR are the cornerstones of the metaverse. In itself, this will bring attention to these technologies in 2022 and accelerate the adaption. We don’t expect radicals change, but you will see existing areas of use become better rooted in the corporations, gain wider adaption, and give the technology wider attraction.
I have been wrong before. Not often, but I will be wrong again. Despite this, I have taken a peak in my crystal ball and will give my take on what will happen with VR, AR, MR, and XR in 2022.
Last year I was wrong about the proliferation of 5G. Or at least I was a bit too optimistic about the industrial adoption rates. If you can read Danish, you can read it here: https://www.danskindustri.dk/brancher/di-handel/nyhedsarkiv/nyheder/2020/12/3-trends-der-vil-prage-det-digitale-landskab-i-2021/
To understand how the market will develop in the next year, it makes sense to separate VR and AR and further separate AR into the consumer-oriented market and B2B. But first, let’s take a helicopter tour up in the metaverse.
Is the metaverse coming?
You have heard about the metaverse, right? The fact that Facebook renames the company to Meta is the biggest hint that a major thing is happening. The metaverse is one of these things that everyone is talking about, but no one knows exactly what is. But if you imagine that you to a much larger extent access internet services through VR and AR, you are off to a good start.
The metaverse is not about replacing the internet but about accessing it in new ways. This also meant that new types of content and services must be developed.
All the hype about the metaverse means that technological frontrunners and entrepreneurial companies already have started to develop content and services best accessed through VR and AR. Good news for content developers with VR and AR like Virsabi, so of course, this is a trend that we monitor closely and are fond to be a part of.
So – what is being developed, and will it happen at all in 2022?
The answer is a bit blurry. There will never be a ‘grand opening’ of the metaverse – it will be a smooth transition where you suddenly discover that there is a layer of augmented reality on the goods in your local supermarket, in the company’s warehouse, or as instructions on all technical installations. And I don’t think will see groundbreaking services being developed before the metaverse is better established – which it will only be by strengthening the areas where VR and AR provide value today.
That is why my prediction is that we will see a strengthening of the existing areas with key ones highlighted below.
Virtual reality 2022 – more training, more collaboration
In Virsabi we don’t develop content for games or porn. If you are looking for the next thing in VR in these two categories, you have to look elsewhere. We develop virtual reality solutions for businesses, and in this field especially two things are taking off: training and onboarding.
Several large corporations – including Maersk – have conducted and evaluated pilot projects within virtual reality training. The conclusion is that it works. Learning is better than classroom teaching and e-learning, and financially it is a good deal due to flexibility in planning and travel-related expenses.
Virtual reality is so good for training activities that combine physical and cognitive behaviors because you are completely immersed in the learning situation and have all senses stimulated. Furthermore, you can repeat the training again and again which is especially important in safety-related situations.
Training and onboarding are closely related, and within onboarding, we will see more companies follow in the footprint of Accenture. Accenture recently bought 60,000 Oculus Quest 2 headsets and all new employees are introduced thoroughly to the company in its VR universe.
Accenture also uses VR for meetings and even though I am a little vaguer in my prediction here, I expect that more people will use VR for meetings. If you haven’t tried it yet, you probably think it sounds silly to meet as avatars in a virtual room, when we have learned to be effective on Teams and Zoom. And enclosing yourself in a virtual reality headset to participate in a meeting is a barrier. But here too the point is: it works.
Meeting up in virtual reality gives you a special feeling and you have to generate ideas, VR will bring you a lot closer to the feeling of being in the same room and drawing on a whiteboard than a Zoom meeting will ever do. As more companies do like Accenture and hand out VR headsets to their employees, more people will try the technology, and hopefully, this will enable new and more efficient ways to collaborate remotely.
AR in 2022 for consumers – Accelerating buying experiences
Accelerating buying experiences Within augmented reality I predict – or hope – that webAR will take off. This technology is so good and so easily accessible that I simply don’t get why it hasn’t caught on at every e-commerce store yet. Especially in the field of design goods for the home, it is brilliant.
WebAR makes it possible for instance to click on a lamp on the shop’s webshop and open an AR file that you can see as a 3D model on your phone with the room as a background through your camera. The customers can get a really good feeling as to how the item fits in their home and it adds to making even online shopping an experience. At the same time, the sellers avoid a lot of return goods because the goods don’t live up to the expectations of the buyers. Shopify even showed an increased conversion rate of 94 percent. Personally, I get annoyed every time we are buying lamps or furniture online and I can’t play with them in 3D before making a decision.
As part of the track towards the metaverse, we will also see leading retailers incorporate AR to make shopping in stores more exciting. Customers want experiences – not just goods on shelves.
AR in 2022 for B2B – accelerating remote assistance and troubleshooting
Recently, we linked to a report by Forrester Consulting from Virsabi’s LinkedIn profile. The report showed 177% ROI in three years of investing in HoloLens 2.
This too is a technology with a documented effect. Augmented and mixed reality help industrial corporations collaborate across countries and continents and save an incredible amount of travel expenses because experts can guide local service staff to fix almost anything as long as the local people are equipped with a HoloLens.
As with training in VR, the technology is tested and proved to work. Companies that are already using this technology will scale up, and more companies will realize that they too can use the technology to solve some needs. We will not see exponential growth. But we will see a steady upwards trend as more companies try out the technology, and as new applications to solve the companies challenges in new and creative ways are developed for the HoloLens.
The latter about new applications is not a random prediction – that is something I happen to know because in Virsabi we are getting ready to launch one of them.