Imagine yourself sitting relaxed in your room, wearing a Virtual Reality (VR) headset, and walking into a live conference, a concert, or a product launch. From an imagination, it has now become a reality. On 21 July 2020, OnePlus launched its OnePlus Nord Mobile and OnePlus Buds through Augmented Reality (AR), where people all over the world joined in by installing their app. The launch event was one of a kind as it was the first-ever mobile phone launch through Augmented Reality, where millions joined to experience it. YouTubers like Lewis George Hilsenteger from the Unbox Therapy live telecasted the event for people who did not have direct access to the AR launch.
The world is currently going through different phases of physical lockdown, and social get-togethers are still not allowed in most countries. Hence, AR and VR Technology during COVID-19 are emerging as superheroes by enabling us to feel connected to each other. Augmented Reality adds digital elements in the physical world, and Virtual Reality gives an immersive experience to the viewers. VR devices such as Google Cardboard, HTC Vive, or Oculus Rift transport users to several real-world and imagined environments.
Let us look at the different industries that have adopted AR/VR during the pandemic to scale their growth in the market.
The spread of Coronavirus has resulted in a steep rise in demand for Augmented Healthcare. With the help of several technologies, this medical field provides valuable information to doctors, surgeons, and nurses. ANIMA RES is a specialist in 3D medical animations, Interactive Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality applications focusing mainly on the medical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnological sectors. They are currently working on interesting projects like ‘Insight Heart, ’ which builds a virtual heart and lets users explore blood flow simulations. Their spatial explanations give detailed information on each region of the heart from every angle.
Construction companies were one of the first ones to adopt AR/VR for accurately developing their projects. With a combination of digital and physical views, AR provides geographical display, update, and real-time data that offers the users a visual walkthrough of the project. VR helps builders build a completely virtual world and instantly change architectural and interior designs that configure individual dream homes.
Kaiser Permanente, a healthcare company, wanted to build a new interventional radiology room and ensure that it functions smoothly for their medical team during the lockdown. Mortenson, a US-based builder and developer of energy and engineering services helped build a 3D virtual room. It was built in a way that everyone from the team could enter the virtual space and interact with each other to finalize the room where they would be collaborating in the future. To keep it real, they built extremely detailed 3D visualizations where the surgical team can control the tables, lights, beds, and everything else that they would do in real life.
There has been a surge like never before in online classes all over the world due to lockdown. Most of the schools and colleges have taken resort to online courses to keep their classes going. The primary benefit of VR learning is that it increases student concentration and engagement while studying. Unlike traditional eLearning, which happens through a 2D screen, VR learning allows students to learn and interact with several objects, build something or roam in virtual places.
Pico Interactive, a VR platforms creator, has teamed up with VictoryXR, a developer of VR and AR education solutions, to educate and engage students with remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic. Through VictoryXR lessons, students get the opportunity to enter a world without gravity as they experience Newton’s Laws in a virtual reality called Newton’s House of Forces. Similarly, Discovery Education has reached out to millions of students with virtual trips focused on aerospace, technology, health, and many more.
In the retail industry, augmented reality ensures an enhanced customer experience and maximum relatability with the product. Before purchasing anything, 3D experience helps in customer engagement and understanding the product well, which results in increased sales and revenue-building opportunities.
Vuforia, a leading AR enterprise, provides platforms to retail businesses for building augmented reality apps that will provide 3D experience and enhanced knowledge of their products. They create virtual 3D models and turn them into physical spaces so that customers can view products in real-time and accurate scales. Such AR solutions help organizations to execute interactive and powerful product marketing. Merging the physical and digital lets customers engage with the products and help organizations during the pandemic to create more persuasive marketing.
Due to the pandemic, the travel industry has already suffered a huge loss. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), it has resulted in a loss of almost 50 million tourism jobs worldwide. As a solution, Travel World VR, a New Jersey-based company, has developed an app for travel agents to effectively market travel experiences. The app features 360 degrees/VR videos of major destinations, hotels, resorts, and cruise lines. Through this app, travel agencies can promote multiple destinations and inspire their viewers to travel through 360-degree videos and cinematic VR productions.
Similarly, MetaVrse has come up with amazing demo travel videos that transport viewers to various parts of the world and give them a feel of how their next vacation could look.
How will AR and VR help the market in the long run?
The answer is through Mergers and Acquisitions activities! Key vendors in the market are currently acquiring companies that operate through AR and VR. The main aim behind these acquisitions is to strengthen their R&D capabilities and position in the market. Such strategies also help in expanding vendors’ businesses, which accelerate technological advances in the field.
For example, NexTech AR Solutions recently acquired Jolokia, a remote video training, live streaming software company, with customers like Toyota, CBS, Polycom, and Merck. Through this acquisition, the company aims to enhance its product portfolio and speed up its growth in the global AR and VR market.
Thus, during the pandemic, such acquisitions will positively impact market growth in the long run.