Top 10 AR/VR Trends and Applications to Watch Out for in 2023
Welcome to the exciting world of the Metaverse, where augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) converge to reshape our digital experiences. As the Metaverse continues to evolve, 2023 promises to be a year of significant advancements and groundbreaking applications. Today, we will explore the top 10 AR/VR trends and applications poised to make a profound impact in the coming year.
I. Remote Education in VR
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of remote education solutions, and VR has emerged as a powerful tool in this domain. By immersing students in simulated environments, VR allows them to explore places they cannot physically visit or gain practical skills in a safe and controlled environment. Whether touring historical sites or practising complex medical procedures, VR-based remote education offers unparalleled immersive and engaging learning experiences. For instance, retail giant Walmart has successfully incorporated VR into its staff training programs, significantly boosting test scores.
II. Cost Reduction and Accessibility
One of the barriers to widespread VR adoption has been the high cost of entry. However, technological advancements gradually reduce costs, making VR more accessible to the masses. The global shipments of VR and AR units are projected to reach nearly 44 million within the next few years, and the market for VR headsets is expected to reach around $18.6 billion by 2026. Companies like Sony, with its popular PSVR headset, have played a pivotal role in boosting the popularity of VR and creating a demand that developers are eager to meet.
III. Retail Transformation with AR
Augmented reality is revolutionizing the retail industry by addressing a fundamental problem faced by online shoppers—the inability to try on products. AR applications now enable customers to try on clothing, accessories virtually, and even jewellery, giving them a clearer picture of how these items will look on them. For example, FRED Jewelry, a Parisian jewellery house, offers an augmented reality try-on option on its website, allowing customers to visualize how a piece of jewellery will complement their appearance before purchasing. This integration of AR enhances the shopping experience, increases customer satisfaction, and reduces returns.
IV. VR Training for Retail Staff
Training staff in the retail sector can be complex, significantly when daily operations cannot be disrupted. VR training provides a solution by allowing retail employees to practice using checkouts, managing long queues of shoppers, and preparing for high-volume events like Black Friday. Walmart has once again demonstrated the effectiveness of VR training, with reported test score boosts of 10 to 15% among its employees. By immersing employees in realistic simulations, VR training equips them with the skills and confidence needed to handle various retail scenarios.
V. Technological Advances in VR
The early days of VR were characterized by limited graphical fidelity compared to other mediums like TV, film, and gaming. However, 2023 brings forth exciting advancements in VR technology. Headsets capable of 5K and 8K stereoscopic video are now a reality, offering heightened visual quality and immersion. These advancements will transport users into more realistic and captivating virtual worlds. Additionally, eye-tracking technology is poised to enhance user experiences by enabling VR headsets to read and interpret user attention, providing a new level of detail and interaction within virtual environments.
VI. Mobile AR for Everyday Experiences
While head-mounted displays (HMDs) are commonly associated with VR, augmented reality experiences are primarily delivered through mobile devices and their cameras. This widespread accessibility has driven the adoption of mobile AR applications, as consumers already own these devices. Google, for instance, has expanded its ARCore developer platform, granting developers access to the same technology that powers Google Maps’ Live View features. This development opens up a wealth of geographical data that mobile AR apps can leverage. As the number of AR apps increases and their efficacy improves, we can expect a surge in the user base of mobile AR experiences. From interactive navigation and gaming to home design and virtual try-ons, mobile AR is set to become an integral part of our everyday lives in 2023.
VII. The Fusion of AI and AR
Artificial intelligence (AI) has proven to be a powerful tool in various applications, and its integration with AR is no exception. By harnessing machine learning capabilities, AI can personalize the user experience, analyze data collected from app usage, and unveil new insights or identify trends. When combined with AR, AI can enhance digital twins, optimize training solutions, and provide immersive and interactive experiences tailored to individual users. This convergence of AI and AR can potentially revolutionize numerous industries, from healthcare and manufacturing to entertainment and marketing.
VIII. Apple vs. Google: ARKit vs. ARCore
As two tech giants constantly vying for innovation, Apple and Google are engaged in fierce competition within the AR space. Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore are powerful developer platforms offering robust AR capabilities. While similar in terms of performance and capacity, Apple made significant strides with the introduction of ARKit 6, featuring 4K video support and improved motion capture technology. On the other hand, Google has been expanding the list of compatible devices for ARCore, bridging the gap between high-quality AR experiences and Android devices. In 2023, we can expect this rivalry to intensify as both companies push the boundaries of AR technology.
IX. AR/VR in Healthcare
The healthcare industry is embracing AR/VR technologies to revolutionize patient care, medical training, and therapy. AR is being used to overlay vital patient information in real time, assisting healthcare professionals in diagnosis and treatment planning. Surgical procedures can benefit from VR simulations, allowing surgeons to practice complex operations and refine their skills in a risk-free environment. Moreover, VR is proving to be effective in pain management and rehabilitation, offering immersive experiences that distract patients from discomfort and aid in their recovery. These advancements in AR/VR healthcare applications have the potential to save lives, improve outcomes, and enhance medical training.
X. The Rise of the Metaverse
Lastly, we cannot discuss AR/VR trends without mentioning the rise of the Metaverse. The Metaverse represents a collective virtual shared space where users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users in real-time. It encompasses not only AR/VR experiences but also social networking, e-commerce, entertainment, and more. As the Metaverse evolves, it offers limitless collaboration, creativity, and exploration possibilities. Companies like Facebook (Meta) invest heavily in building the Metaverse, envisioning a future where people can seamlessly transition between the physical and digital worlds. In 2023, we can expect the Metaverse to gain further traction and redefine how we connect, work, and play.
As we eagerly step into 2023, the world of AR/VR is poised for remarkable advancements and transformative applications. Remote education, cost reduction, retail transformation, technological innovations, mobile AR, AI integration, healthcare applications, intense competition between tech giants, and the rise of the Metaverse are just a few trends and applications to watch out for this year. The convergence of AR/VR technologies continues to push the boundaries of human experience, opening up new possibilities across various industries. So, fasten your seatbelts and prepare for an exhilarating journey through the immersive realms of the Metaverse in 2023 and beyond.