Virtual and Augmented Reality: Looking to the Future

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies are growing in popularity as they finally emerge from the lab into applications for construction professionals, according to one new report.

BCC Research reveals in a new report that increasing demand for mobile devices is a key driver of the global market for both technologies.

The global market should reach $105.2 billion in 2020 from about $4.5 billion in 2015, reflecting a five-year CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 67 percent.

HUDs (head-up displays) and and HMDs (head-mounted displays) are driving innovation in the development and usage of VR and AR.

Increased demand for smartphones, tablets and HMDs, coupled with enhanced VR and AR applications, will attract end-users from many sectors in the coming years. However, VR and AR are only accessible to users who have the necessary hardware and software, a major restraint for the market and a factor that contractors must consider prior to adoption.

The high price tag of the devices limits their appeal among cost-conscious consumers as well. However, key players such as Google and Microsoft are making significant advancements in VR and AR technologies, which should continue to reduce device costs while strengthening appeal.

Several technological advancements are pertinent to further development of VR and AR. These advances include: MEMS  (microelectromechanical systems sensors), which drive increased processing power in very small components; cameras with improved resolution; GPS (global positioning system); smartphones; tablets; and 3D TVs.

VR technologies are used in the creation of environments that are presented to users' senses in a manner that they experience these environments as if they were really there. AR technologies are used to create a blend of virtual and real environments. AR users interact with virtual applications in real-world settings. Unlike VR users, AR users are able to distinguish between the virtual and real environments.



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