Virtual Reality Looks to an Exciting Future

By, Special for  USDR

New disruptive technology is often a crucial driver of our economy. A new gadget can change an industry, or create a whole new market. According to industry research reports, the virtual and augmented reality is the future, and the market is seeing strong interest by the largest technology companies. Vuzix (NASDAQ: VUZI), Alphabet Inc.(NASDAQ: GOOG), Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), Intel Corporation(NASDAQ:  INTC)

To understand why analysts are so excited about the potential growth of this market, A Goldman Sachs report explained that there are, “nine areas in which virtual and augmented reality can be used, ranging from video games to retail. While video games make up the largest portion, everything from health care to real estate could experience disruption.” The Analyst continues to stand strong behind the fact that in 2016 we will see the most significant progress on VR/AR  ever.

A report by CCS Insight shows that Augmented and Virtual Reality devices will soon become a $4 billion-plus business in 3 Years and that more than 24 million devices will be sold in  2018.

There are some problems however that this market will have to overcome. VR and AR should not be compared to smartphones and tablets, which went through an extremely fast adoption rate. VR and AR devices are expensive and can’t be used with the same comfort as smartphones and tablets. VR and AR devices are used at home or work, and the true value of the technology is revealing itself overtime. Meaning as prices from manufacturing costs shrink, the volume surges alongside the increasing  popularity.

The industry learned a lot from the disappointment of Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) Glass, which despite its futuristic ambitions was an expensive and not a very useful gadget. Since then Google has moved to focusing on software, providing cardboard VR headsets which can be used with smartphones. Some tech companies took it upon themselves to create a counter product, to prove that the concept of smart wearable glasses can actually be efficient. Vuzix Corp. (NASDAQ: VUZI) for example sells Virtual and Augmented Reality products in the consumer, industrial, commercial, academic and medical markets. This small but growing company won 20 Consumer Electronics Show Innovations awards, including four for CES  2015.

Vuzix in early 2015 received a $24.8Million Investment directly from Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC). The company describes one of its most popular products, the M100 Smart Glasses as devices which provide, “professional video eyewear that runs Android in the glasses.” These devices are currently focused on the enterprise business markets and are being used by numerous Fortune 500 companies in diverse areas including warehousing and logistics, field service, remote maintenance, retail and medicine. For the entertainment seekers, Vuzix has the iWear Video Headphones, a VR headset, which designed to provide the user with immersive HD video and gaming experience for  $499.99.

In the same token for gaming, expectations from Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) Oculus Rift VR headset are also very high. The device started deliveries two months ago, and despite delays due to, “unexpected component shortage” the headset is forecasted to be a hit, with shipments of over 2 million units this year, according to International Data Corporation. There has been a decent amount of content available online to be used with the headset. The Oculus Rift costs  $599.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) went for a different direction. The HoloLens is the most expensive headset of the bunch, $3000 a unit, and is more AR then VR. Microsoft describes the headset as a “holographic computer, enabling you to interact with high definition holograms in your world.” The purpose of such an expensive headset more entrepreneurial and industrial. For example, Microsoft is exploring opportunities to transform the architecture process with the HoloLens. The augmented reality will enable get a sense of scale, form, and space to easily visualize ideas and make decisions based on  visuals.

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