How VR and AR will impact businesses in the next 5 years

Although not yet in the hands of everyday consumers, virtual and augmented reality are gaining traction.

From the Oculus Rift becoming a well-known name to other products showcasing at major conferences, VR and AR are finding their place in the market. And from virtual meetings to robust new ways of prototyping, both have the potential to impact the business world in the near future.

To learn what we can expect, 13 technology executives from Forbes Technology Council offer their insights into the next five years of VR and AR technology.

1. We'll Experience Our Reality Through Virtual Reality
Companies are realizing that VR/AR are viable options for capturing knowledge. PowerPoints are now embedded in VR. VR offers a practical way to convey knowledge and its immersive nature caters to the workforce. AR takes the manuals to the field and aids installation. These technology-driven tools are getting better, more realistic, and are already accepted by those entering the workforce. – Joseph D'Angelo, D'Angelo Technologies, LLC

2. Prototyping Will Go to the Next Level
Companies will use virtual reality and augmented reality to visualize what they're building in a way that's never been possible before. This level of prototyping will give unprecedented insight into a product at the beginning of the process. Decision makers and end-users will be able to provide better and more valuable feedback early in the game. Businesses will end up wasting less time and money. – Ashley Saddul, Recruiter.com
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3. Certain Niche Markets Will Be Impacted
I love the idea of virtual/augmented reality taking off. Already, I can see nursing home patients pretending they're at the beach, not to mention practical applications like telemedicine. Unfortunately, the price tags and social stigma will limit the customer base for the next decade or two. – Alan Romans, Ashland Health Center

4. Advanced VR Will Become the Social Laboratory of the Elite
The company Improbable enables realistic virtual worlds and complex "life." So, their stakeholders don't geek over "immersive experiences" like a dad at RadioShack. They're simulating business strategy, government policy, etc -- choices with billions in capital, human and otherwise, on the line. Sure, a Home Depot AR app will let you visualize a kitchen remodel; but for major players, they're not gaming. – Gurpreet Singh, TalkLocal(source)

IMAX To Launch VR Center in Europe

With a test pilot center already under development in Los Angeles, IMAX has announced they will also be launching their first European center in Manchester, England.

In partnership with European exhibitor ODEON and UCI Cinemas Group, the first pilot IMAX VR center will open by the end of 2016 and is expected to “deliver guests immersive, multi-dimensional VR experiences, including entertainment content and games.”

Advanced discussions are said to be underway with several content developers, including Hollywood studios and game publishers, to produce VR experiences that will range between 5 and 15 minutes in length each.

IMAX also plans to eventually incorporate premium content captured with a cinema-grade virtual reality camera that they are currently developing in partnership with Google.

The VR center will employ a new modular design – proprietary to IMAX – that will consist of several “pods” to allow multiple players to enjoy interactive, exciting, moveable VR experiences. The pods, which are designed to optimize user mobility and interaction in virtual environments, can be adapted for specific content experiences – whether single or multi-user.

IMAX is working with Acer and Starbreeze AB to incorporate their previously announced VR headset offers an extra-wide peripheral field of view.

In addition to the European VR center announcement, IMAX is already targeting to open additional test facilities in China, Japan, the U.S., the Middle East and Western Europe in the coming months. These new locations would be in addition to their first showroom and pilot IMAX VR center in Los Angeles.

We always say that the best way to introduce consumers to VR is through location-based centers like that which IMAX is rolling out. The intent of these initial pilot centers is to test customer experience, pricing models and vary VR content. If successful, the IMAX plans to roll out the concept globally to select multiplexes as well as commercial locations such as shopping centers and tourist destinations. (source)

Image Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center & VRScout

Pimax Starts Mass Production of 8K VR Headset

Pimax announced they’ve headed into the mass production phase of the Pimax “8K” VR headset. “The obstacles that prevent us from mass production have been eliminated last week, thus the whole project now can move on with full speed towards Kickstarter delivery,” the company writes in an update.