I wonder, a lot, about VR/AR adoption rates over the next five to ten years.
For personal computers, the web and mobile, adoption cycles were decades long. It happened alongside the building of the hardware and software infrastructure, along with eco-system development necessary to feed increasing needs and wants of consumers and enterprise uses. Once we had more reasons to use PCs, the more people bought into them – from document creation to logging onto the internet, even if it took forever on dial-up. Yet, most people had their first exposure to a computer at work, long before there were enough personal reasons to justify the cost, or even more importantly to trigger a longing and a motivation to buy one.
What makes virtual reality (VR) and augmented (AR) different, in my estimation, is that a person is just as likely to come across 3D applications at work as they are at home.
At work, right now today, there are real VR/AR products in use optimizing core business functions especially in: architecture/construction/real estate, education, military, philanthropy and journalism. In entertainment, increasingly there are experiences to be had at the local mall, a museum, or at home on PlayStationVR.
Some argue that Snapchat is the largest AR company on Earth. (According to Engadget, Snapchat is currently preparing a new version of its World Lenses that can make any surface a billboard.) Technologists I know bristle at that, saying the ability to augment on a picture is not AR. But, I get the point tech executives have made that essentially, it’s an entry point for mass audiences to get used to augmenting their reality with computer-generated imagery (CGI). And talk about mass adoption! There was the monster hit: Pokémon GO, which inspired young and old around the world to chase after imaginary characters.
I am fascinated not in a traditional, quantitative way— although that is key— but, about the emotional transition of how VR and AR will move from “how cool is that” to a must-do or must-have. Will VR/AR adoption rates look differently than what we’ve seen before?
I’m thinking VR/AR adoption rates will be faster than earlier transformative technologies because their applications are broader, from children to adults, students and professionals, and across a wide spectrum of industries like education, e-commerce, tourism, media, entertainment, sports, architecture, real estate and so on.
Will we adopt VR and AR faster? I think we will.