mixed reality

Mixed reality is going to transform the world. Source: Shutterstock

The rise of mixed reality and the next generation of AR devices

EVERYONE knows how augmented reality (AR) works these days, it’s everywhere. Macy’s and Ikea have AR applications for customers and Honeywell is using AR to train employees.The reality is that there’s a lot more AR out there than we care to admit.

Mixed reality (MR) – the most sophisticated technology and the successor to VR and AR technology – is also seeing widespread adoption. What exactly is it? Here’s how Microsoft describes it:

Mixed reality is the result of blending the physical world with the digital world. Mixed reality is the next evolution in human, computer, and environment interaction and unlocks possibilities that before now were restricted to our imaginations. It is made possible by advancements in computer vision, graphical processing power, display technology, and input systems.

According to a new Research and Markets report, the global AR & MR market will reach US$198.17 billion and US$3.68 billion, respectively, by 2025.

The competitive landscape for the AR and MR devices is shifting towards a more aesthetically pleasing form factor which can be incorporated in the day into the daily lives of consumers. These technologies are compatible with devices such as smart glasses, head-up displays, and head-mounted displays, among others.

Forecasts of AR and MR dominance are getting “real”

The market is rapidly expanding, driven by continuous advancements in technology and innovation. It has been a home to changing market dynamics as the established players and new market entrants from various complementary industries try to capitalize on the gains from this lucrative market. The established presence of smartphones and tablets has been one of the major driving factors for the industry.

The impact for this driver is kept high for the next two to three years, owing to the aggressive infrastructural development pertaining to this industry. Investments from leading industry players and the vast presence of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) has also contributed to the growth of the overall augmented reality and mixed reality market.

However, privacy issues and technical challenges such as limited battery life and image latency are some of the major concerns working against the massive proliferation of these headsets.

With the presence of industry stalwarts such as Microsoft, Apple, and Google, the AR and MR market is expected to transform all the present major industry verticals, while growing at a CAGR of 65.1 percent and 72.0 percent respectively, during the forecast period (2018-2025).

The device types that have been prevalent in the AR market include Head-Mounted Displays (HMDs) and Head-Up Displays (HUDs) whereas the device type prevalent in the MR industry include only HMDs.

In terms of revenue, HMDs generated more revenue than HUDs in 2017, with the primary reason being the widespread adoption of HMDs in application areas such as industrial, healthcare, automotive, aerospace and defense, among others, as compared to the limited usage of HUDs in the automotive and aerospace sector.

Who’s doing what and where with AR and MR

AR headsets are being utilized in all the major industry verticals including healthcare, aerospace and defence, education, engineering, warehousing and logistics, and enterprise solutions, among others.

Although, the market for these devices is still evolving, yet more and more companies are experimenting with AR devices to increase their productivity and reduce the process downtime.

The industrial sector dominates the MR industry, both in terms of value and volume, which can be attributed to increased application areas such as manufacturing and designing, construction, remote maintenance, and quality check, among others.

Geographically, North America dominated the global AR and MR market in 2017 and is expected to witness a strong growth during the forecast period, in terms of volume and value. This dominance is mainly due to presence of prominent industry players such as Microsoft Corporation, DAQRI, and Magic Leap.

However, Asia Pacific is expected to witness the highest growth in the AR market during the forecast period (2018-2025). Europe, on the other hand, is expected to witness the highest growth in the MR market during the forecast period – according to Research and Markets.