Forget wearables -- the next hot, must-have electronic device will be virtual reality headsets and projection devices.
According to ABI Research, shipments of virtual reality and augmented reality devices will explode, from 3 million in 2015 to 55 million in 2020. “It’s not a new field, but it’s being fueled by both consumers and enterprise [business],” Eric Abbruzzese, ABI research analyst, tells Marketing Daily. “And we’re getting better products and lower prices.”
Right now, the devices fall into three types of categories: stand-alone, mobile-reliant (headsets like Samsung’s Gear VR and Google Cardboard, which connect to phones), and tethered (like Oculus Rift, which connects to some sort of external device). Mobile-reliant devices will likely see the biggest early success, Abbruzzese says.
Of the two formats, virtual reality -- which creates an immersive environment -- will likely have the most consumer success, largely through the gaming market. Augmented reality, which puts a layer of graphics over existing scenery, will be successful in enterprise markets, with applications in logistics, engineering and automotive, according to ABI.
The only thing slowing down adoption is the lack of content, which is already being developed for devices such as Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift, although the latter has yet to hit the consumer market. That will likely keep the devices from reaching must-have status until 2016, Abbruzzese says.
“For now [content] is limited, and that could turn consumers off,” Abbruzzese says. “We’re predicting 2016 to be when enough people will have heard about the products and we’ll get the big producers on board.”