Virtual reality is not a new idea. It is however edging closer to being a commercial reality. Sony’s Project Morpheus and the Oculus Rift owned by Facebook are slowly moving towards release. In addition, the relative new kid on the block – Augmented reality is already a commercial reality in many apps on many mobile devices and looks as if it is going to make huge leaps in the coming months and years.
Virtual Reality (VR) is not without its problems. A number of people have found that VR devices cause sea sickness and, according to reviews, the technology is still cumbersome to use and uncomfortable to wear in most cases. While most agree that VR will eventually take off as a gaming and movie platform, its uses beyond that are questionable. By contrast the uses of Augmented Reality (AR) are not in doubt at all, however the industry got off to a slightly inauspicious start with Google Glass. Thanks to concerns over privacy, Google have already halted production and gone back to the drawing board.
As the two markets are still in their infancy, there is a lot of discussion about the possible uses of this new technology. Film and immersive games are the most obvious uses, but some companies are looking at using the technology to create virtual offices, social networks where you can actually interact with other people and platforms that truly allow you to work on the move.
A report from Digi-Capital has estimated that the Virtual Reality market will grow to become a $30 billion industry by 2020. Augmented reality is expected to be four times as big bringing the joint industries to a staggering $150 billion by 2020. The reason Digit-Capital say that the market for AR will be so much larger is because it is already in use in a number of mobile phone applications.
Both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are extensions of current technology used and implemented by telecoms companies including mobile networks, wireless technology and digital media production. It is quite safe to assume that telecoms companies will be looking to earn themselves a piece of the AR and/or VR market. This has led to many believing that technology and telecoms companies will increasingly be looking to hire professionals to try and exploit this potentially lucrative market. Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Sony and others have already gained an advantage by being early movers but more are expected to join them as the market matures.
Whether Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality is used exclusively for leisure and gaming purposes or spreads into other areas of people’s business and personal lives, there will be increasing demand for professionals with experience in areas relevant to Virtual and Augmented Reality. Savvy telecoms professionals might consider gaining experience in areas that Augmented and Virtual Reality will require in the future as a good career move in the long run.