Augmented & virtual reality has made its way into several different sectors like education, mining, and healthcare where it has already made certain processes more efficient. The retail industry is starting to catch a whiff of the excitement. Expectations are rising along with 5G technology. Commerce operators such as Macy’s & Timberland, are already using smart-mirrors so that customers can ‘try on’ items without purchasing them. Tommy Hilfiger & The North Face, on the other hand, have created 360-degree virtual outdoor views in the middle of malls to give customers a more interactive experience.
The spread of VR is not limited to physical retailers but it has also infiltrated eCommerce giants. This means that big e-corporations like Amazon and Alibaba are trying to get in on the game which allows the technology to spread right into the consumers’ homes. The number of VR users has already jumped from 85 million to 171 million in 2018. VR will also enable eCommerce consumers to have a full, tactile experience as if they were in a store. The consumer experience can then be taken right to the consumer’s home which is where the majority of transaction activity is taking place today.
According to research, virtual reality will generate $1.8 million from the retail and marketing industry alone by the year 2022. VR-enabled revenues are set to spike by some 3,000 percent with even more expected. These gains are not just happening in countries like the USA & China where consumerism is on the rise. Countries like India are embracing eCommerce and digital marketing. This could mean an increase in AR/VR adoption over the next few years. If more and more developing countries follow this trend, it will be a worldwide phenomenon.
Tech experts have noted that much more is to come in the future. Founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, recently stated that he thinks that AR can address several social problems. A recent Facebook post of his stated that there will be a technological breakthrough over the next decade and that the gains in virtual reality will redefine our relationship with technology. Facebook is working on its own virtual reality headset, much like other tech giants like Microsoft or Magic Leaps. The code named Orion glasses are currently being developed in Facebook’s labs. There are talks of a partnership with Ray-Ban’s parent company, Luxottica.
It is said that a voice assistant will also be introduced to the glasses which emphasizes the growing trend of voice assistants in virtual & augmented technology. Zuckerberg mentioned in a recent comment that virtual reality feels and looks unnatural at the moment. He believes that the technology will grow into itself as more developments are produced. He stated that it will become the most human and social technology platform yet. The path to seamless and perfect VR technology is still very far away but big tech companies are doing their most to make it happen.