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#VRX2019 Report – Tech Trends

It’s cold and rainy here in San Francisco but the Regency Hyatt is virtually buzzing with XR experts from the biggest immersive names on the planet.

Yes folks, it’s VRX 2019 and Tech Trends is here to soak up (and share) the latest XR news and trends.

VRX 2019 is gathering 600+ senior business executives across enterprise, consumer entertainment, gaming, technology and investment

Alice Bonasio VR MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT XR health vrx 2019 immersive

VRX 2019 is gathering 600+ senior business executives across enterprise, consumer entertainment, gaming, technology and investment to discuss how XR can bring ROI and propel businesses forward. Putting customers at the heart of innovation, speakers and attendees will join forces to cut the noise and reveal the best applications of VR & AR/MR.

Alice Bonasio VR MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT XR health vrx 2019 immersive

The future of XR is the seamless and intuitive interchange between the real and the virtual.

Stephanie Llamas, Vice President of Strategy & Head of XR SuperData kicked us off discussing the XR industry Low Down: Will 2020 be ‘The Year’? She covered:

  • Global adoption figures and XR market hotspots
  • Is there really a consumer marketplace for VR & AR/MR yet?
  • How widespread is enterprise penetration? Which sectors are leading the way?
  • What’s holding up growth? Hear what’s needed to trigger market momentum
  • Will we see household penetration in 2020? Who’s best placed to deliver it?

 

Most interestingly she reiterated that content was the key to advancing consumer adoption and household penetration. Everyone says this but nobody has yet produced that key bit of content that has garnered mass engagement and adoption. “Do not give up! Keep innovating and producing content.” she enthused.

Finding the right solution for the right use case (and critically, the right price) is an ongoing challenge for the XR industry

Alice Bonasio VR MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT XR health vrx 2019 immersive

The future of XR is the seamless interchange between the real and the virtual. As consumers we demand efficiency, convenience, enriching experiences and fluidity between technology and daily life. As businesses it is vital that we pioneer new tools, strategies and channels to achieve this. Bringing together world-renowned technology executives, innovators and experts, the VRX Conference & Expo inspires and empowers leaders to develop their own solutions, build new partnerships and drive adoption forward.

Stephanie then led a great panel on the Hardware outlook – What are the latest advances, and what do they tell us? Featuring Sean Liu, Director, Product Management at Oculus VR, Varag Gharibjanian, Chief Revenue Officer at Clay AIR Inc, Charlie Han, Product Lead, HoloLens at Microsoft and Vinay Narayan, Vice President, Platform Strategy and Developer Community at HTC Vive the conference got some really excellent insights into the industry’s thinking on:

  • Learnings from the past 5 years, forecast for the next 5
  • Transformation of HMDs: Do we know the priorities from the user perspective on cost vs. form factor vs. quality vs. comfort?
  • Evolution of inputs and outputs – what are customers demanding? What else must we learn about the human body for progress in this space?
  • Comparison of the mobile versus wearables markets: Relative investment, timescales, adoption patterns and future outlook

Alice Bonasio VR MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT XR health vrx 2019 immersive

The XR industry is a blue ocean of opportunity right now, and it’s an exciting time to dive right in

Some key insights they shared are that, as Stephanie previously stated, there are three key elements to XR success: Content, content, and content. Without compelling content that shows off the value and impact of immersive technology in a way that we can instinctively relate to, we will not see mass consumer adoption. Even for enterprise, it is important that content is engaging and, yes, even fun. Who says that learning shouldn’t be enjoyed, I worked many years as a teacher and can tell you that the best learning and engagement takes place when students are having fun, and XR can deliver that.

The best learning takes place when students are having fun, and XR can deliver this in spades

Another interesting point they agreed on was that the adoption of mobile AR is surprisingly slow with most consumers encountering the tech through product marketing campaigns rather that media or games and that the average consumer will only experience one, maybe two Mobile AR experiences before turning away and back to more established media and games products. The panel again speculated that without a “magic” bit of content that recreates the kind of global furor that surrounded Pokemon Go people will still only see Mobile AR as a cool novelty rather than a technology that can and will change their lives.

Next up before lunch, long-time industry guru Joel Breton, President of Sixense Studios opened up our minds to Exploring the Blue Ocean of Immersive Computing in 2020. With decades working in immersive industries and games, Joel explained the differences between Red, Blue and Black Oceans. Be warned, fear the Black Ocean as it swallows all and leaves no trace! Swallows new creative ideas, products and businesses that is. Joel was happy to report that XR is now a Blue Ocean industry with a lot of opportunities across sectors. Now is the time to get your XR feet wet or be brave and dive right in… or insert whichever metaphor pleases you most – but do it!

Content will be the key to consumer adoption across XR

Alice Bonasio VR MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT XR health vrx 2019 immersive

Finding enough content and monetizing it is still a huge barrier for getting VR & AR/MR into the mainstream.

These are the billion-dollar questions for professionals and businesses that understand the huge benefits and potential of immersive technologies. Yet, finding the right solution for the right use case (and critically, the right price) is an ongoing challenge for all businesses delving into XR; whilst finding enough content and monetizing it is still a huge barrier for getting VR & AR/MR into the mainstream.

Tech Trends has so far got some fascinating insights here from leaders in the XR industry and now we must go back to a packed schedule of talks, demos and networking. But watch this space for more news and insight and in-depth analysis from the event in the coming weeks and months.

Tom Atkinson is Reviews & Dep. Editor at Tech Trends. Follow him on Twitter @techtrends_tech

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