2018 looks bright for immersive technology

Virtual and augmented reality will continue to change the computing landscape

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Think virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) and you probably think gaming. But there’s also a whole host of business applications. We spoke to some of the leading industry experts to get their views on which industries will be most disrupted by AR and VR in 2018; two key areas are the internet of things and cybersecurity – you can find out why below. We’ve also included more in-depth trends from leading experts, Tony Parisi, global head of VR/AR Strategy at Unity Technologies, and Martin Harriman, chairman at WaveOptics.

AR for IoT

AR is much more promising than VR especially in industrial situations and at 451 Research we often point out that AR is the user interface for the internet of things (IoT): Take a large industrial appliance, manufacturing plant or oil refinery which is instrumented and collecting and analysing data. This IoT-enabled environment creates a digital twin, a data model of the current state of the system and its processes. For an onsite engineer called to replace a part, as part of preemptive maintenance from IoT analytics, having a view of all the data and status of a machine from the inside out is now possible. A way to present that is as an AR style overlay, which can be presented hands-free to the engineer via adaptations to the safety goggles they are already wearing. With hands free and with information directly available the engineer can operate more efficiently, and in addition call remote support for another expert to assist and annotate the engineer’s view. Data is gathered to help tune the machines and processes and workers need access to that, presenting a perfect AR use case.

This wave of IoT powered AR is still in its infancy but is able to be explored to varying degrees from the basic non- tracking heads-up display of Google Glass Enterprise edition, or using tablets now enabled with Apple’s ARkit and Google’s ARCore, through to more complex headsets such as the DAQRI smart helmet or Microsoft’s HoloLens or projection interfaces that require no headset. It will drive the emergence of new forms of display to get us away from fixed solid screens. Avegant’s light field display and Alphabet’s (Google‘s) Magic Leap will feature.

—Ian Hughes, senior analyst for internet of things at 451 Research

AR for cybersecurity

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