CES 2017 - a look at the future IV - virtual reality

Virtual reality and augmented reality are ready to multiply our senses.

At the last CES in Las Vegas, the growth figures announced for 2017 for the virtual and augmented reality market were quite simply incredible:  79% growth for the US market alone, for a total number of 2.5 million devices sold and a 43% increase in sales ($660 million). And we can but admit that throughout the show's exhibition aisles, visitors were literally spoilt for choice.

Wikipedia offers definitions of virtual reality and augmented reality which we invite readers to consult:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_reality

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmented_reality

In the beginning, according to predictions put forward by Google and its Google Glass and Oculus VR – since bought out by Facebook for 2 billion dollars – augmented and virtual realities were expected to literally invade our everyday space, providing us access to a vast range of complementary information supposed to enhance our lives. Once the initial element of surprise had faded, excessive prices, lack of available applications and low device autonomy were quick to dishearten the market and the fire went out just as quickly as it had started.

However, 4 years down the road, standards have emerged, leading software editors have joined forces with hardware manufacturers, 4G technology has gradually asserted itself and the multitude of (American and Asian) manufacturers offering associated accessories have led prices to plummet. The market is ready, the value chain is in place, the plane can take off.

Portable and autonomous virtual reality device

Augmented reality helmet - the user perceives his/her environment enhanced with information

Virtual reality accessory associating sound and image

So what about applications?

Gaming is at the vanguard of virtual reality, followed closely by the defence industry. Indeed, enabling a fire fighter or an infantry soldier to virtually experience an extreme situation can help perfect reflexes, correct bad decision-making and anticipate, at a low cost, the right action to implement at the right time.

And the augmented reality industry, recently brought to the attention of the general public by Nintendo and its Pokemon Go, is also showing a great interest: applications in maintenance, repair work, real-time measurements, preventive controls are all waiting for the adequate accessory for them to explode.

Augmented reality headset and glasses

The list of manufacturers is too long for us to publish it here, but one thing's for sure, this is a reality that is no longer virtual. And paying no heed to it would be turning one's back on an increasingly connected and globalised world.