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What experts expect from enterprise augmented reality and virtual reality in 2020

February 12, 2020 in AEC | 4 min. read
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Industry experts and analysts anticipate 2020 will be a breakthrough year for AR and VR in the enterprise sector. Wonder why? We invited 15 AR/VR leaders to share their perspectives and insights in our new report “Top 2020 Trends: Enterprise AR & VR.” 

According to Deloitte Consulting Managing Director Allan Cook, “Every ten or 15 years, there’s an impactful shift in the way people use and interact with technology and data… Mixed reality is going to be the fourth shift [after the PC, the internet, and mobile], and it will be as big as each one of those earlier shifts.”

On the surface, that statement may seem like a stretch. But the business impact of these technologies, which are well documented across numerous industries and enterprise use cases, support such a bold claim. 

For instance, using VR for employee training improves pass rates and significantly reduces training time compared to traditional classroom lecture models. Likewise, when directions and data are provided in AR across field guidance and maintenance scenarios, human error can be eliminated entirely.

These impressive results have led many enterprises to test the waters, yet few have fully taken the plunge. A recent Harvard Business Review Analytic Services study found that 87% of large companies are currently exploring, piloting, or deploying mixed reality, but the vast majority are still in the exploratory or proof-of-concept stages.

That’s going to change this year, according to 15 industry experts and analysts who contributed to our new report, “Top 2020 Trends: Enterprise AR & VR.” Below, we share contributions from three individuals featured in the report, who explain why 2020 will be a defining year.  


Read the full report

Enterprise XR grows up

XR has proven to be a paradigm shift for enterprise in terms of boosting productivity, cost-savings, and learning and development, particularly in relation to highly skilled and specialized areas ranging from surgery to spacecraft engineering. Yet where so far we have seen pioneering companies work largely on an experimental trial-and-error basis, this next decade will see research catching up to meaningfully support this deployment on the ground. 

Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, enterprise stakeholders will increasingly have the information and expert guidance at their disposal to tailor and customize solutions optimized for their specific industry, goals, and needs. 

Academic research is now being conducted all over the world to investigate not if XR works but how it works and what considerations must be taken into account when designing content. One recent example is this article published on Frontiers in Psychology, which identifies significant differences in how people retain information in the short and long term depending on whether content is delivered in “active” or “passive” VR modes. 

As more such studies are conducted, and more use cases are shared among enterprise stakeholders across an expanding ecosystem of different industries, we will move on from the heady days of experimental exploration and marveling at the power of immersive technologies towards more targeted, considered, evidence-based and industry-specific approaches. 

In other words, enterprise XR is about to enter its grown-up phase.

VR goes mainstream

After all the hype in previous years and the so-called nuclear winter of VR, the technology is climbing back fast with real, meaningful adoption. This momentum is fueled by the success of more approachable, yet performant, stand-alone devices like Oculus Quest, which launched only six months ago.

The consumer success of devices like Quest is driving real content sales with more titles crossing the $1M mark, and at the same time exposing more people to the superpowers of the technology. These newcomers will wonder how to implement them for work, resulting in a pressing need for education and enablement.

After a few years of testing applications, many verticals and use cases have proven ROI. The perception of gimmickry has given way to real business value. 2020 is going to be a critical, yet not glamorous, time for enterprise VR. The industry will need to put in the arduous work of scale: establishing infrastructure, integrating workflows and connecting a comprehensive ecosystem.

The venture capital community has also been paying attention to the surge in demand in both enterprise and consumer VR. 2020 will bring a new wave of investments and, therefore, more startups and innovation in the space.


Did you know Unity is the leading platform for creating AR and VR content?

For more insights like these, follow Alice and Maria on Twitter for more nuggets of AR/VR wisdom and check out our report: “Top 2020 Trends: Enterprise AR". You can also learn more about how spatial computing is changing frontline work on our blog.

February 12, 2020 in AEC | 4 min. read

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