The history of AR and VR: from gimmick to business problem solver

The history of AR and VR: from gimmick to business problem solverThe history of AR and VR: from gimmick to business problem solver

The history of AR and VR: from gimmick to business problem solver AR and VR have come along way, and are now ready to help disrupt entire industries. The history of augmented reality and virtual reality can be traced all the way back to 1838, when when Charles Wheatstone invented the stereoscope — this technology used the view from each eye to create a 3D image for the user The history of AR and VR goes back longer than anyone would have expected. When Charles Wheatstone invented the stereoscope in 1838, he didn’t know it, but his 3D image creation would spark the augmented reality and virtual reality boom that is predicted to infiltrate business and society in the next 10-15 years. While the first VR head-mounted display (HMD) was created in 1968 by computer scientist Ivan Sutherland, “there was no name for AR when we started in 2011,” says Beck Besecker, CEO, Marxent. “We called it hologram technology at the time.” In its current form, AR and VR, while gaining popularity, remain on the relative fringe. But, as the technology advances and awareness grows, adoption rates will skyrocket — across social and business environments. Marxent published the very first application of AR in November 2011 on the app store. And back then, it was very gimmicky and built largely around marketing campaigns where people were trying to find a use case for AR and VR that had broad scale opportunities. So, the places the technologies landed, naturally, were in gaming: Pokemon Go and the anticipated Harry Potter AR experience, are examples of AR success in this space. VR, as well, has made an impact on the gaming world, with the release of VR games, consoles and headsets. On the commerce side, there is an opportunity for AR and VR in the home vertical, in particular; use cases like bathroom, kitchen and living room design, along with new home conceptualisation. There are two reasons why this space turned into an opportunity: 1. It’s not gimmicky; there’s a real problem to solve which is people really want to be able to design and visualise their space in as realistic a way as possible before they make a significant purchase. AR and VR are solving an actual design and visualisation problem. 2. The cost of creating this 3D content is still quite high. “And with categories in the home, it just so happens that most of the digital inventory you’re going to create, so things like outdoor decking, kitchen cabinets, furniture, stay in inventory for quite some time, they have a long shelf life. So the point is if you spend $100 creating a 3D version of this specific sofa, you can amortise that cost over several years,” explains Besecker –– CHANGE. He continues: “Now, you have the combination of being able to amortise the 3D cost, plus you have the real problem to solve in terms of design and visualisation, and you’re starting to get somewhere.” Both technologies were viewed as quite gimmicky add ons, until opportunities emerged to apply them to tangible use cases, such as in the home vertical. But what changed? Did the technologies advance enough to add value? Or, did awareness around the benefits of the technologies improve? There’s a bunch of reasons. And, one of the main ones, is getting over the hype — the stumbling block for many emerging technologies. They’re proclaimed saviours and silver bullets, but when they fail to live up to that hype, interest diminishes, even if they do solve real business problems. This is why, crucially, vendors and ...
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