IT Strategy

4 Virtual Reality Trends to Anticipate in 2018

Virtual reality (VR) technology has taken some significant strides in recent years and cemented itself as a necessary technology across industries.

As a result, the global VR market which was valued at about $2.02 billion just last year is expected to reach approximately $26.89 billion by 2022, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 54.01% between 2017 and 2022.

You can say that we’re on the cusp of witnessing wide-scale adoption across industrial and consumer markets.

This is evidenced by VR headsets appearing in offices, classrooms, medical units, and supermarkets last year.

So what can we expect in the new year for this exciting and rapidly growing segment? Let’s take a look.

1. Total sensory immersion

At present, VR headsets only focus on sound and vision. However, experts are already working on incorporating more senses to achieve a truly immersive experience.

As a result, experts predict that we will be using gadgets that will also provide sensory experiences like touch and smell, starting in 2018. This is obviously the next stage of VR and you can expect VR developers to try and target more senses (as the evolution of technology starts to make it possible) in the months and years to come.

2. More innovative VR tools

Experts predict the release of a wide range of tools to enable people to create and publish VR content without much effort. This means you will see more stuff like MindShow which encourages users to create their own character-driven animated movies in VR.

However, MindShow for example, will not require you to upload a 360 video, rather it will be a traditional 2D video on YouTube, creating an expansive 2D video abridged delivery standard.

Most often, these abridged 2D versions will probably be better than native VR experiences. This is because telling stories in a spatial medium is a work in progress at best and doesn’t require an install.

What’s more, VR tools will enable supercharged sandboxes and workflows to do a lot more on existing storytelling mediums like Instagram and YouTube without the need for an enterprise studio or dedicated team.

3. VR shopping in real-time

It’s not difficult to see that the future of e-commerce is VR, in fact, it’s already happening. Last November, Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, introduced VR shopping to customers in China to browse and buy from all over the world.

The company revealed this innovative shopping experience through its brand-new initiative Buy+ which attracted 30,000 people in just a couple of days. A week later, that number quickly surpassed eight million users.

As a result, you can bet that the retail space will experience radical changes in the near future. For example, customers will also be able to try on clothing before buying them from the convenience of their home. I mean, this segment is going to far surpass the limits of our imagination.  

4. Foveated rendering will enable increased performance of existing hardware

The barrier to entry into running high-end VR experiences will be dramatically lower because of Foveated rendering enabled by eye-tracking technology. This technology stack will also help achieve improved performance on mobile hardware. As a result, you can expect to get a lot more out of mobile VR platforms.

Beyond performance, you can also expect gaze-driven user interfaces (UI) to get a bunch of new tools. This will be supported by content creators who will have access to a lot more contextual information about how you uniquely navigate and respond to the virtual world.

These and many more innovations in the VR space will significantly increase the demand for qualified VR developers and specialists. Furthermore, you can also expect to start seeing new VR-related roles in advertising, marketing, and VR hardware development.

As a result, brands need to be ready to embrace these VR trends and take advantage of these innovations in the near future to remain relevant.

What else would you add to this list?

Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

IT Storyteller and Copywriter
Andrew's current undertaking is big data analytics and AI as well as digital design and branding. He is a contributor to various publications with the focus on emerging technology and digital marketing.