3 Key Insights into AR/VR/Mixed Reality from the Experts

Each year, the Wireless Technology Forum invites a panel of experts to provide their insights into Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and now Mixed Reality (MR).

Confused? You're not the only one, check out this article from Foundry on AR/VR/MR.

As AR/VR/MR has evolved, the applications, hardware, and software have grown tremendously since 2014. This year, a panel of experts came together to provide the current state of the industry, real use cases, and their predictions for their field.

This year's panel agreed on a few points and then each provided a unique insight into what they are experiencing today in their field.

Unity

Unity is the most prevalent development platform for VR/AR today. All 3 of our panelists used Unity in their work. Unity was originally developed specifically for gaming, but developers are now using Unity for business applications of AR/VR. John Buzzell's team developed an application for a luxury auto manufacturer in Unity.

Headsets

Although Google Cardboard spurred the industry as a whole, their headset recommendations included:

John Buzzell pointed out that consumers are still adjusting to new social norms of when it is appropriate to use technology hardware. Barriers to adoption include perceived dangers of headsets such as trip and fall, bumping into walls, or even having a personal item stolen.

Grace Ahn, PhD, pointed out that a virtual doppelganger of yourself could fall into the wrong hands and be used for 1) identity theft, or 2) a personalized marketing campaign where your virtual self tells your IRL (real self) to buy something. Her studies show that consumers have a hard time saying 'no' to their virtual selves. Would you be more likely to buy an item endorsed by your doppelganger?

Ian Nott is working with companies that are using AR/VR to enable meetings in real-time, but without traveling thousands of miles. He found that mapping real people into a digital rig doesn't work; according to Ian, the "brain gets freaked out." His team found better success with a stylistic / artistic avatar instead. His team is combining real physical gestures with avatars that are clearly not a real person.  To take it a step further, he found these artistic avatars helped reduce pre-conceived notions and enabled more productive conversations. Wow, that was completely mind blowing! Others on the panel echoed Ian's sentiments.

As this field develops, the use cases and technology will only grow. I've already seen a huge trajectory since I moderated the AR/VR panel in 2014. I saw headsets go from thousands of dollars, to $99 (Samsung Gear VR), to $7 (Google Cardboard).  I saw smartphones become part of the headset and now manufacturers are making headsets with or without phone inserts (Daydream). As folks like Ian, Grace, and John continue to innovate this industry, the applications, use cases, and ROI value will only continue to grow.