Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have been scrambling their way through Gartner's Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies for several years. Both have cleared what Gartner calls the Peak of inflated expectations, with VR nosing out AR in the race toward mainstream adoption. Peaks, slopes, and plateaus aside, however, analysts expect it will be another five to 10 years before these technologies reach maturity.
So where does that leave us in the meantime? Clearly the stakes are high -- and getting higher -- with major players like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft spending billions of dollars and ambitiously pursuing VR/AR development. According to Digi-Capital, VR and AR may reach $120 billion revenue by 2020, "with AR taking the lion's share around $90 billion and VR at $30 billion."
Historically, VR and AR have been the province of avid gamers and 3D movie buffs. But as the technologies start to hit their stride and adoption becomes more widespread, a host of business use cases are beginning to emerge as well. Tremendous potential exists for professional applications of immersive (and particularly for partially immersive) solutions, from healthcare to product design to architecture to education.
It's early days for VR/AR usage, but the evolution of the technology is accelerating and, unlike some of the experimental efforts of a decade ago, VR and AR are taking hold in a serious way. This free ebook offers an overview of how and where these technologies are being used today and where they're headed in the future.