Led by the commercial sectors, AR and VR are witnessing a substantial rise.
2020 has been the eventful year for Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. From entertainment usage to business applications, these immersive technologies have made their way into every aspect of life. The outbreak of COVID-19 has significantly prompted these technologies adoption as businesses turned to work from home or remote work model. The use of AR and VR allows companies as well as individuals to work, talk, and socialize with others, as these technologies can create large simulation environments.
Among all the innovations that surround AR and VR, the immersive technologies undoubtedly enable an incredible source of transformation in all sectors. While the world is approaching 2021, augmented reality and virtual reality will continue to have an optimal impact on industries.
Here is a look at the top 10 AR and VR trends to keep an eye on in 2021
Rise of AR Avatars
Rapid technological advancements, such as the evolution of a new suite of AI tools, next-generation game engines, and augmented reality, are poised to bring on a new era of artificially intelligent AR avatars. An avatar typically refers to any personified form of an AI agent. Already, over 4000 AR avatars in Japan are glittering entertainment scene on YouTube that are called virtual YouTubers, or VTubers and look like anime characters.
AR Indoor Navigation
The advent of Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore dramatically improved the robustness of AR apps. These apps offer a seamless and effortless AR experience to users. AR allows users to add layers of visual information about the real world around them using smartphones. The technology is also being used for indoor navigation to see the object users want before purchase. AR indoor navigation is available for a variety of practices at home, college, and business and even useful for hospitals, museums, as well as airports.
Along with allowing to be entirely immersed in a virtual world, AR and VR also support by assisting remotely. For instance, the technologies can help technicians or engineers to see on-site situations in real-time using their mobile phones or laptop. Through this, they will be able to assess everything and send the files with proper notes to remote locations, which will remain locked on the shared scene.
Collaboration of AI with AR and VR
AI, AR, and VR have already proved their potential in the business arena. Now researchers and developers are looking for ways to reap benefits by collaborating them. Combining these technologies will pave ways that were impossible back then. Some benefits include real-time face-swapping via phone or creating an effect similar to the People Blocker from Black Mirror. This can further lead to the evolution of highly interactive workspaces and improved image recognition facilities.
Increased Use of Mobile AR
Mobile AR apps have grown so much with the popularity of Pokémon GO. Recently, mobile AR experiences delivered by Snapchat became most popular as it gives mobile users to their popular augmented photo filters. Apart from these applications, many retail companies capitalize on mobile AR like IKEA uses AR to help customers visualize furniture in their home before purchasing. Google and Apple have launched tools that will allow developers to develop amazing mobile AR experiences for Android and iOS users.
Widespread Adoption of VR and AR
AR and VR in recent years have become a widespread technology. As they brought impactful impressions on businesses, global spending on augmented reality and virtual reality is forecast to be US$18.8 billion in 2020. The commercial sectors will lead this spending on the technologies as customers want immersive experience while engaging with a brand. A majority of brands, retailers, and other businesses have begun releasing VR and AR technologies to enable consumers to preview products before purchasing them.
5G will Expedite AR and VR Evolution
Widespread deployment of 5G networks is poised to speed up the adoption of augmented and virtual reality. Industry analysts believe that 5G could be a promising approach for the future and the area-wide applications of VR and AR. By integrating 5G technology, users can get better VR experiences with low end-to-end latency times of less than 20 milliseconds. 5G also has the potential to boost the pace of data transfer to the cloud, processing, and the formation of a virtual image that will later deliver an enhanced virtual experience to users.
AR Cloud, a real-time 3D, or spatial, map of the world, is a machine-readable 1:1 scale model. It is uninterruptedly updated to ensure that it represents the environment at all times. AR Cloud enables information and experiences to be augmented, shared, and tied to specific physical locations to occur and persist across apps and devices. It typically uses in training, music streaming, education, travel, real estate, healthcare, retail and social messaging, among others.
Virtual Sports Events
The rising proliferation of VR and AR is likely to change the way we perceive sports and create more immersive sporting events. As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced authorities to postpone sports events, the use of these technologies is entering the mainstream as broadcasters, owners, sponsors, and teams look for new ways to reach fans and generate new streams of revenue. For instance, as the 2020 NBA season canceled due to COVID-19, the VR/MR League pass offers fans the chance to dive into the archives and re-live games in VR.
Eye-Tracking and Facial Expressions
As VR using head-mounted displays makes natural expressions hard to recognize as half the face is occluded, Apple patented a gesture, expression tracking for mixed reality earlier this year. The headset is designed to track eyes, gestures, and the user’s facial expressions. It works together with AR, where users can see an overlay of virtual objects and worlds. In addition to this, companies like Pupil Labs and Tobii provide users with eye-tracking hardware add-ons and software for AR and VR headsets.