Surreal: the VR & AR Industry Landscape
Whether you believe or not that Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality will become the next mainstream, the industry is in fast-paced growth. The estimated size of VR software and hardware markets is $40.4 billion by 2020. But there are still many varying opinions on what the future will bring to VR/AR technologies in terms of mass market.
Venture capitalists and experts are constantly analyzing technologies, production costs and customer feedback to estimate the expected industry and targeted markets growth. Skeptics forecast a short run for both technologies saying it’s relevant for entertaining only, and predict adding minor features to already created apps. However, many believe that VR/AR will completely change the way users interact with machines.
In this article will take a closer look at the global VR/AR landscape and find out, what kind of Companies develop next generation services and products.
The industry landscape
Analyzing the changes in the world’s VR/AR ecosystem for the past few years, it’s getting clear: the newborn industry is arising and has got many opportunities for further explosive growth. $2.55 billion were invested worldwide in both technologies since 2014. We should expect more innovative companies to appear on the stage and contribute to the development of Virtual and Augmented Reality. There many players around (including individuals and businesses) looking for startups to invest in and capitalize on the trend.
Evolving and changing
Obviously, VR/AR should expect curtain changes in the nearest future as the industry expands. Actually, we already see many promising startups on the horizon that may be joining the community shortly. Some big players (e.g. Facebook, Apple and Baidu) have invested in VR/AR companies and purchased some of the most promising. This trend is expected to continue.
Focus on enterprise solutions
According to the Venture Reality Fund, which has raised and invested $50 million in VR/AR startups, there is a 60% increase in the number of startups specialized in B2B and enterprise, compared to the first quarter of 2017.
The European landscape
The United Kingdom remains the main contributor of innovative companies to the European VR landscape, with video gaming considered to be the most competitive part of the domain. B2B and enterprise technologies are gaining traction. The number of companies involved in this activity increasing by 55% since 2016. The total amount of companies in the European VR/AR domain has increased by 57% compared to 2016.
What kind of development companies specialize in VR & AR?
The infographic below shows only some of the companies who create innovations and shape the future of the VR industry.
In fact, many software companies are developing innovations in VR/AR. Enthusiastic startups and giant companies such as Facebook, Samsung, Intel, are all making attempts in very contrasting and unexpected directions. VR & AR content is developed for many domains including sports, video gaming, entertainment, business, healthcare, military, and education.
Though VR & AR are different concepts, from a development standpoint, they are pretty similar. To be more precise, we can highlight the main directions, in which software developers work:
- VR/AR platforms
- VR/AR products and games
- Custom application development
- Industry-tailored solutions
Some companies may work in several directions simultaneously, the lines aren’t strict and may blur.
As for developers, different platforms (Unity and Unreal are the most popular) can be used to create new apps in both technologies. Additionally, there are specific tools and functions which depend on desired features: some of them are strictly for apps and video, others are for 3D or 360 video content.
What to expect?
Both VR and AR have been the cause of a lot of hype last year. Technologies became more feasible for the addressable mass market as cheaper smartphone components translate into the lower average price.
Thought the viable consumer market for VR/AR apps and content hasn’t been shaped yet, the existing markets are already reacting to the industry growth. This process will evolve to create new niches in the coming years, especially if big players strategically promote technology adoption among the target audience.
While VR hardware platforms have made great progress forward, further investment and development are required to get them finally ready for the mass market.
Yet, the potential of both technologies is obvious to many, including enthusiasts and developers who want to meet the challenges, as well as explore the direction and capitalize possibilities brought by VR/AR trend.
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