The future of VR and AR depends on improved awareness around the technology, as well as a better experience for the users Future of VR and AR depends on user experience and education image

What does the future of VR and AR hinge on?

The future of virtual reality and augmented reality depends on content, and above all, user experience and education.

Education

“We’re not talking about education in the traditional sense,” explained Jeremy Dalton, head of AR/VR at PwC. Instead, in order for the technologies to thrive in the future, it’s important people understand the potential of VR and AR.

Today, there are a lot of misconceptions out there that VR, specifically, only has applications for video gaming or entertainment, rather than a business tool. “This in itself is damaging or limiting the adoption rates in business, because of right off the bat there are negative and unconstructive thoughts about where VR could be used,” said Dalton.

In order to appreciate its true potential, the technology needs to be experienced firsthand, because unlike a lot of other emerging technologies — artificial intelligence or blockchain, which run in the background — VR (and AR) are very visual. It’s all about presenting that information in an effective manner that helps businesses to achieve their objectives. It works side by side with the user.

“It needs to be experienced to be better understood,” continued Dalton.

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User experience

The visual nature of both VR and AR means that user experience is of the utmost importance when it comes to adoption rates moving forward.

At the moment, “some people may find VR and AR disappointing in terms of its perceived resolution,” claimed Dalton. “In other words, somebody could put on a headset, notice the pixels on the screen and assume its a fairly low resolution device compared to a 4k screen… But, a lot of headsets are already 4k, if not more — the issue is that because it’s right next to your face, the pixelation is noticeable.”

To overcome this user experience problem, the resolution needs to increase beyond 4k.

The headsets themselves also need to be improved — currently they could be considered quite technical looking and not very interactive. “Fashionability comes into it,” confirmed Dalton.

VR and AR advocates need not worry, however. These issues of education — raising awareness — and user experience are being tackled.

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Future predictions for VR and AR

Looking towards the horizon, those anticipating the VR/AR revolution should expect headsets to become smaller, lighter, have a greater resolution, a greater field of view and become easier to use as business and consumer users figure out how best to view this new world.

“As opposed to having the input/output systems that we’ve been used to for for decades now in terms of keyboards, mice and 2D static screens that stay there on your table, we’ve now got a world where you don’t have a keyboard or mouse,” continued Dalton. “So, we’ve got to think about other input systems like your voice, buttons on the headset and traffic controllers — tracking the output system, as the screen is technically static, but it should feel dynamic.”

Culture

As with any emerging technology set to shake up how people interact and do business, there are natural cultural hurdles that have to be overcome.

“We’ve had cultural challenges throughout the ages in the technology space,” he said. “And, they’re always weird and awkward at the beginning. But eventually, as long as they do create value, people get used to them and they get adopted.”


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