This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

September 21, 2016

Augmented and Virtual Reality

The markets for Augmented and Virtual Reality are growing rapidly. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), "worldwide revenues for the augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) markets will grow from $5.2 USD billion in 2016 to more than $162 USD billion in 2020". This phenomenal increase represents a compound annual growth rate of 181.3 percent over the 2015-2020 forecast period.

What is AR, anyway?
Augmented Reality is "a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view". The new Pokémon Go Game is a prime example. We have already forecast that this game is the first of many we expect to see.

Medical applications of AR are changing the face of medicine
Cancer surgeons are using Medsights Tech software to test the feasibility of using augmented reality to create accurate 3-dimensional reconstructions of tumors. This complex image reconstructing technology basically empowers surgeons with what look like x-ray views---yet without any radiation exposure, and in real time. And Microsoft's HoloLens is transforming medical education through HoloAnatomy, which displays real data-anatomical models. It allows for learning anatomy with a wonderful and somewhat intuitive use of AR---with obvious advantages over more traditional methods.

Another way of delivering real-time experiences
The areas of non-medical education, logistics, and manufacturing will not be far behind. With the significantly higher levels of engagement using AR, the combination of gamification with AR, as we have seen in Pokémon Go, is irresistible. It's just a matter of time, and with the growth of technology that time will not be so distant.

Costs of hardware and software will decrease
As the markets develop, we expect to see the number of AR apps sold to increase exponentially, while the costs will shrink or even disappear. On the VR scene, Samsung Gear VR is the most popular unit and just about the only one in wide distribution. At a $99 USD retail price, this headset is already within the reach of many, and some people are even choosing the Samsung Galaxy because of the availability of this VR accessory.

What's coming
In the near-term (5-8 years), the demand for coding skills is not going away and having some skills will always be an asset. Coding skills make people more versatile and creative. In the longer-term, many of the coding jobs will be going away, as computers and other machines will increasingly be able to program themselves.

An abundance of new experiences
The promise of both AR and VR is an abundance of new experiences designed to engage and enthrall the user. Expect to see a wide range of applications in almost every field, as employers and marketers alike seek to engage and retain both their internal and their external customers.

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