The Virtual Reality Trends to Expect in 2018
What does virtual reality hold for 2018? Well predictions about the technology going mainstream have been coming year after year and it is becoming a reality. The growth trajectory for virtual reality has been impressive and it is finding uses in realms few of us had ever imagined. While the real deal, a fully immersion experience, is still decades away, virtual reality is already being used to create some truly mind-boggling experiences.
On the mainstreaming of virtual reality applications into our everyday lifestyles, we just have to throw our gaze at the exponential growth that the industry has seen over the past few years. Not too long ago in 2014, there were only about 200,000 virtual reality users globally. In 2017, that number exploded to a whopping 90 million and is projected to hit 171 million by the end of 2018. In the not so distant future, it is not unreasonable to expect more than a billion virtual reality users. It is going to be a gigantic industry and it is not just possible to fathom the depth and creativity of VR innovations that we expect to experience a few years from now. But what are some of the trends that we can expect to see in 2018?
Expect to see more VR Advertising
Currently, this seems to be the default VR application. Many advertisers have jumped onto the VR bandwagon to offer innovative marketing to their target markets. Some of the leading global corporations or brands have already rushed in to offer their users interactive VR advertising that give their prospects a very realistic immersive 360-degree experience with the product. Even Google is experimenting with VR adverts that will be responsive to users’ eyes.
More 360-degree VR Videos to Roll In
Research by the virtual reality advertising platform Omnivirt shows that 360-degree videos got a higher level of engagement than ordinary videos and other forms of content. Their research was based on the analysis of a sample of clicks, completions and engagement from over 1000 of their campaigns.
The Omnivirt research shows that brands from diverse verticals are now embracing 360-degree advertising and the content quality is getting better and better which spells good tidings for the user experience. Many of the leading brands such as IBM, Ford, Microsoft, Honda and NASA have already embraced the 360-degree video advertising concept and we can expect many smaller and medium sized brands to join the bandwagon in the coming year.
Improvements in the Immersive Experience
A fully immersive virtual reality experience may still be decades away but that does not mean we aren’t making small incremental steps towards that future. In 2018, we can expect the virtual reality to get a little realer. It won’t be a quantum leap; it might not even be discernible but we will be moving closer towards an immersive experience.
There are already some “interesting” developments in this endeavor. For example, a technology company, HEAR360, has already introduced an 8-ball “omni-binaural” which is a spatial audio microphone capable of capturing 360-degrees of audio to create an immersive sound experience for users. The user is able to hear sounds from all directions. This innovation will come in handy when merged with other immersive VR innovations.
Expect More VR Developers
Development of talents in the technology industry generally follows the money and trends. People equip themselves with skills in the key growth areas where their skills will be in high demand. Due to the exponential growth in the VR industry, we are also seeing an unprecedented growth of talent in this area. There will be a huge demand for VR developers in the near future who will be needed for jobs such as VR consultants, VR programmers and software developers, VR interaction designers, VR content designers, 3D modelers, VR hardware engineers and many others. These jobs will pay really well.
Some of the leading pioneers in VR development such as Google are also creating platforms that can tap into the talent of VR developers to create and monetize future virtual reality content. Google is doing this through its Google Cardboard VR platform. This will be something akin to Android in smartphones. All these ecosystems are opening up opportunities that will be exploited by skilled VR developers.
More Mainstreaming and Lower Costs
More mainstreaming of virtual reality technology will result in greater availability and lower costs which will in turn lead to even greater mainstreaming. In short, we are going to see more exponential growth and better accessibility to VR products and experiences. Already, we are seeing Oculus and HTC involved in an aggressive price war for some of their products.
In 2018, the trend will be greater mainstreaming. We are going to see more applications, more VR products and certain price adjustments that will bring VR gadgets within the reach of millions of consumers.