Virtual and augmented reality market expected to reach $100bn by 2022

Augmented and virtual reality

Among the recent technological innovations, like smartglasses, that have the potential to penetrate to the mainstream in the consumer and commercial segments, currently augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets are poised to reach $117.40bn in sales by 2022 according to a research published by Markets and Markets.

With factors contributing to the growth of the industry like higher adoption rates of smartphones enabled with AR devices and increasing interest from the retail and e-commerce sectors, the VR market is expected to reach $33.90bn by 2022.

The AR market in particular, is affected by not only consumer demand but by commercial/retail and medical industries as well. It's applications provide digital information and 3D visualization of physical objects and therefore have potential to be highly useful, or entertaining, in various fields. In the case of industrial applications, which has accounted for over 25% of the AR market share in 2015, "several industry players are developing AR for the industrial sector to leverage the full potential," As was explained by Global Market Insights. AR technology also has started to help mitigate.

"Rising demand to handle complex machinery, assemble and maintenance will propel augmented reality industry growth. The reluctance towards conventional showroom visit with virtual experience and improves user experience."

Vuzix Corporation is a supplier of Smart Glasses, AR and VR technologies and products for the consumer and enterprise markets. Last Friday the company announced that it "has signed an agreement to build a customized pair of smart glasses, for Toshiba, one of the largest electronics and technology companies in the world.

Under the terms of this agreement, Vuzix and Toshiba have embarked on a rapid development program with milestone payments totaling over one million US dollars. With development efforts well under way, Toshiba, subject to a final manufacturing agreement, expects to place additional purchase orders from Vuzix for production deliveries in the 4th quarter of 2017. Further details on the new smart glasses product will be released soon after public marketing of the product commences.

President and Chief Executive Officer at Vuzix, Paul Travers, said: "We are excited to enter into this partnership with Toshiba and believe it represents a strong vote of confidence in our capabilities and recognition of our leading position within the wearable technology space.

"Additionally, the agreement demonstrates how we are leveraging and partnering our industry leading technology with top tier global partners. We trust that this will be the first of many ongoing collaborations between the firms."

Vice president of marketing and product development for Toshiba Client Solutions Division, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. Carl Pinto commented: "We have selected Vuzix as our new smart glasses development and manufacturing partner because we are very impressed with Vuzix' current line of smart glasses and other technology that the Company has in development. We believe that Toshiba can leapfrog other wearable technology products with Vuzix' support and look forward to a very successful collaboration between the companies."

Chief executive officer Tim Cook of tech giant Apple continues to hint that the company is investing and sees massive potential in the field of AR. Cook compared it to the smartphone in an interview with The Independent. He said: "I regard it as a big idea like the smartphone. The smartphone is for everyone. We don't have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic, or country or vertical market; it's for everyone. I think AR is that big. It's huge. I get excited because of the things that could be done that could improve a lot of lives and be entertaining."

Microsoft Corporation AR headset HoloLens is still in the hands of developers and early adopters. Microsoft had accustomed its HoloLens hardware roadmap to stop the planned launch of a second-generation device. In its place, the company will now be focusing on launching a third-gen product that delivers something "closer to a generational leap" in relation to the current model, and will likely to be released in 2019. The company's segments include Productivity and Business Processes, Intelligent Cloud and More Personal Computing.

Google Cardboard is a VR platform for use with a head mount for a smartphone. Named for its fold-out cardboard viewer, the platform is intended as a low-cost system to encourage interest and development in VR applications. Users can either build their own viewer from simple, low-cost components using specifications published by Google, or purchase a pre-manufactured one. The Google segment includes its Internet products, such as Search, Ads, Commerce, Maps, YouTube, Google Cloud, Android, Chrome and Google Play, as well as its hardware initiatives.

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Laurie Fullerton

Laurie Fullerton is a writer based in Boston, MA with a background in business, sports, community, medical and travel writing. She has been a newspaper editor in the Boston-area, a sports writer covering yacht racing and a community reporter. She has been reporting for The Drum since October 2015.

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