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How 2018 saw AR/VR move beyond gaming and enter retail, real estate, and our daily lives

5 7 20

This year has definitively answered a question that had been plaguing the AR/VR industry for a while: is it a fad or a real business proposition? From buying clothes to buying houses, AR/VR is making an appearance in applications beyond gaming and is now closer home than ever before.

Until recently, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) were mere concepts being showcased at marquee tech events in the Valley, or reserved for the creation of that elusive “futuristic” product that no layman could get his hands on. While the dream-like possibilities presented by these “immersive” technologies wowed the world, questions around their practical utility continued to haunt creators and innovators.

Gamers have strapped on their VR headsets with swagger for a while now but cynics wondered if it was a mere fad or an exciting new business proposition? Would there ever come a time when AR/VR moved out of research labs and gaming zones, and reached the common man? 2018 has gone on to prove that the answer to that is a resounding ‘yes’.

Image: Shutterstock

A report by GrowthEnabler (a data and intelligence firm tracking tech startups) estimates that the domestic VR/AR market could be worth $100 billion-$120 billion by 2021. Gartner predicts that by 2019, AR, VR and mixed reality (MR) solutions will be evaluated and adopted in 20 percent of large-enterprise businesses.  

As Richard Dulude, Principal & Investment Manager at Underscore.VC says, AR/VR will do for experiences what the internet did for democratising information.  

Sure enough, this year has been about the penetration of AR/VR into the mainstream across sectors and into customer interactions and experiences, as well as cross-industry collaboration. The enormous advancement in visual and imaging technologies has made it possible for a majority of industries from manufacturing and retail to healthcare and education to communication and entertainment to feel the impact of AR/VR. Here are a few distinct AR/VR trends that emerged this year.

AR transforming retail and how we shop

AR has heralded a new era of “experiential” retail that is essentially changing the way products are bought and sold. Retailers are offering enhanced customer experiences........

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