Request a Tour
Science fiction writers have dreamed of VR and AR for more than half a century. In Isaac Asimov’s The Naked Sun, published in 1957, for example, almost no one on Solaria meets in person. Instead, the planet’s citizens connect through holographic teleconferencing setups. Today, we can think of this kind of interaction as AR teleconferencing.
New York-based startup Spatial Systems is among the companies bringing AR teleconferencing out of the pages of science fiction into the real world. The state of the art in commercially available systems is still pretty bare-bones compared to Asimov’s vision. Instead of full-body holographic views, for instance, Spatial creates an avatar from a photo of a conference participant’s face and fills in the rest of his or her torso with a computer-generated avatar.
But the technology is steadily improving. Thanks to high-speed connectivity enabled by data centers like those run by T5, the day will soon come when realistic full-body AR teleconferencing will break out of the lab and into the mainstream.
Already, businesses large and small are boosting their bottom lines with the help of VR and AR. That’s because, according to Boston Consulting Group, some 80 million users in the United States alone use some type of AR app every month, creating a large audience for VR and AR content. The firm expects the number to grow to 120 million users as soon as next year.
Real estate agents now regularly post VR tours of properties in online listings to attract potential buyers who might not be able to make the trip in person. And retailers including Wayfair, Lowes, and Sephora are increasing sales with the help of AR-powered apps that allow consumers to try before they buy.
With all this activity, McKinsey & Company predicts that AR and VR could overtake mobile computing in popularity. AR and VR could also generate up to $182 billion annually by 2025, estimates Goldman Sachs. In contrast, home entertainment and movie box office revenues currently stand at “only” $88.4 billion a year, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.
The Future of VR and AR
It stands to reason that VR and AR-powered entertainment will make up a big chunk of the AR and VR pie as headsets get cheaper and more manageable and entertainment companies explore new ways to tell stories.
The FoxNext VR Studio provides a glimpse of things to come with its mission to “bring virtual reality to life as a new storytelling medium across Twentieth Century Fox Film and Fox Network Groups.” It seems likely that the line between gaming and scripted content will increasingly blur as reality mixes with virtual and augmented reality and audience members interact around the world.
Medicine, too, stands to gain from VR and AR technology that allows healthcare providers to interact with and even perform surgery on patients thousands of miles away. Telemedicine is the subject of our next post on transformative cloud technologies made possible by T5 and other data center operators around the world.