Entering the New "Reality"

May 2016

If you were at or watched Facebook’s F8 conference and witnessed their 10 year roadmap, you may have noticed how the company plans to continue to invest in not only Virtual Reality with its Oculus, but also into augmented reality as well. They even stated that future headsets would be the size of a normal pair of glasses and would be able to not only handle AR, but VR as well all in one platform. Considering the social-networking leader’s Q1 revenue jumped 52% year over year to $5.38 billion, topping the consensus estimate of $5.26 billion. It would be safe to assume that they have a good idea of where the market is heading.

It is nothing new that these technologies are becoming more and more prominent and focused on by several big name players such as Samsung, HTC, Google, and Microsoft. Rumors have been flying around about a possible Google Headset in the works with the release of Android N’s second developer preview where there are references to virtual reality capabilities. Furthermore, "VR" is an entire content track at Google I/O this year, with seven sessions dedicated to virtual or augmented reality, based on the schedule posted by Google.

So ok we established that this is important and worth paying attention to. However, where are we exactly with these reality technologies? Is it at a mature state at this point where the barrier entry for producing a successful application have been reduced that any developer can produce a VR or AR application? What’s the difference between VR and AR? What does it take to build one of these “new reality” applications? What problems will they solve? What industries will it disrupt and who will be building these applications? Will it only be important to the gaming industry? Are we scratching the surface with these platforms? What can we predict these platforms will become in the near future?