Virtual reality and augmented reality, along with AI and automation, are transforming the lives of people both at home and in the workplace.
VR, which is all about offering humans a completely computerized, digital world, and AR technology, which is about building computer graphics that can be viewed in a normal environment, have now been used and adapted at the industry level as well as for entertainment purposes. For example, in an online business, such as one selling furniture, the AR application helps shoppers visualize how a particular piece of furniture will look in their living room without having to actually buy it or go into a store.
In the coming years, AR and VR will turn out to be more sophisticated as devices upgrade and become more powerful, developing higher quality visuals. Human’s knowledge on how to use and navigate augmented or virtual environments will evolve too, and this will lead to the creation of better and effective natural methods for exploring and interacting in the virtual space.
Here are the top key trends you can expect to see in 2019:
VR and AR Enhanced With AI
In this year, AR and VR developers will be seen working on adding cognitive and smart functionalities into their apps. An AI technology, like computer vision, which lets the computers see things through a camera and understand them, will become an important part of AR operations to identify and label objects that are present in the vision field of the user. It is expected that these features will become more capable and sophisticated with the inclusion of machine learning algorithms.
Instagram and Snapchat filters, which we use today, are applications that make use of a combination of AR and AI technology. The popularity in this technology and other applications with the functionality of image enhancement will not go down in 2019.
When it comes to scientific use cases, Google’s microscope is a machine learning-enabled device that is something worth checking out. It can look for and highlight any tissue that it thinks could be a cancerous growth when the pathologist goes through different samples on the viewfinder.
With VR, we are trying to create a virtual environment and put people in there, and in the coming years, the environment, as well as the people in it, will become smarter. For the gamers using VR, they will have a tough time playing and defeating their opponents as the system will become smarter and adapt and react based on the playing styles of individuals.
VR and AR Increasingly Used for Teaching and Training
AR and VR are said to have better use cases in terms of education. It is called the “next big trend in the education industry and the future of learning.” Through virtual reality, it is possible for students to practice surgery or construction in the same way things happen in the real world — but without any kind of the risks involved. Through augmented reality, it becomes possible to send information to students in real time on hazards, objectives, or best practices. There is no doubt that this will boost the demand for education app development companies in the future.
This past year, Walmart announced the use of 17,000 Oculus Go headsets in order to train its employees for different skills, ranging from customer service to compliance. For retailers, they are using it to train their employees using the new Pickup-Tower-automated vending units using virtual environments before it was actually deployed in stores.
Wait. There’s more! The U.S. Army recently announced a deal with Microsoft to use its HoloLens technology for military training. Soldiers will be able to get real-time readings of their environment. This can include performance data, like heart and breathing rates, and also research objectives for mission planning, target acquisition, and pathfinding.
AR and VR have been instrumental in reducing the cost and risks associated with training and have proved its worth in it. This will lead to increased adoption of technology across different industries, which often use expensive equipment and tools.
Consumer Entertainment and VR Becoming Mainstream
The use of VR in entertainment was predicted a few years back. With the introduction of headsets, the adoption of VR in homes has been taking place steadily, but developers and hardware development companies are working on creating the perfect app.
However, some important developments have been noticed, and this clearly points out that 2019 is going to see some changes for VR. There were some limitations in the case of previous VR headsets. Either the user had to make use of a big and expensive computer to experience it, thus limiting the mobility of the user. Or, the user depended on devices that were low-powered for use with headsets, which results in low-quality graphics. Both situations greatly affected the sense of immersion that the user felt.
In 2019, there will be an introduction of standalone headsets, which are more powerful and come with more effective computer technology from Oculus and Vive. With the understanding that the users will not be limited by low-powered displays or cables, VR developers will come up with simulations that are more accurate and realistic of the world within its virtual space. This means that games and apps will have a new level of realism.
With a move towards mobile, headsets will also be developed to improve the virtual experience by coming up with features like increased field-of-view and eyeball-tracking. For the users, such features will help them to explore and interact in better and more natural ways.
Apart from the main players in the market who are working on VR, there are others who are trying to influence the VR market. If you just check out Amazon, you will find more than 200 VR headsets listed there, which come from various startups and have promising functionalities and features that have the potential to influence the VR ecosystem.
AR and VR Environments to Become More Collaborative
Facebook’s interest in virtual reality and its belief that it will play a vital role in building online environments that are shared can be understood from its purchase of Oculus in 2016. Now, this is about the virtual conference calls where people can either interact and conduct meetings or just relax and socialize with friends.
Spatial, one of the pioneers making use of AR tools in offices and boardrooms, came up with virtual whiteboards and pinboards. They also bring about the opportunity to work on design documents collaboratively, which is spread across real-world objects.
AR Technology Expands to Vehicles
It may take a few more years to have completely autonomous cars as part of our everyday lives, but in the meantime, automobile manufacturers have a good number of other AI-based technology to amaze us.
Two of the most important AI-based technologies that we will see getting implemented in cars are in-car AR and the use of voice assistants. In the latter case, most of the manufacturers are using Siri and Alexa.
The DriveR platform of Nvidia comes up with a display dashboard that shows overlaying graphics from the camera footage in order to point out nearby historic places of hazard along the route. A bunch of top companies like Volvo, Audi, Toyota, Tesla, and Mercedes-Benz has already signed up to use this technology.
WayRay, a startup backed by Alibaba, has come up with the way of showing AR data directly on the windshield of the car, offering information right away, giving prompt navigation, hazard detection, and lane identification.
In-car AR is focused on offering better safety in the car. Here, the real feedback is made available to the driver so that they can keep their eyes on the road. It also focuses on driver convenience and comfort. There will come a time when it will become impossible for us to live a normal life without it.
Virtual reality and augmented reality are going to play a key role in technological advancements that we witness in 2019 and beyond. Right from influencing the education sector, manufacturing sector, gaming world, and utilities of our life, it is going to change the way people live and thrive.