Projections of the financial might of the Virtual Reality market range from $16 billion to $200 billion by 2020, depending on the adoption of the technology. With the help of innovative hardware, VR content developers and programmers are poised to turn such projections into fruition. The crafting of modern head mounted display, or HMD, is a perfect case study when examining how high-class tech is creating opportunities for new applications. HMD’s remove limits and make unbounded opportunities for collaboration possible. VR software developers like Tsunami XR are crafting solutions for the workspace challenges of tomorrow using solid HMD tech.
While HMD technology only goes back roughly 50 years, the market as it stands today is sufficiently carved out by a handful of major players. A report by Statista.com shows that in 2017 Sony dominated the market of VR devices selling more than 1.7 Million Units. Facebook's Oculus sold 700,000 units and HTC coming in third selling half a million units. Here is a rundown of VR offerings by these titans of HMD’s.
No discussion of HMD’s would be complete without mentioning Oculus. The brain child of Palmer Luckey, Oculus had its earliest beginning’s in Luckey’s parent’s garage. Finding a lack of low-cost, high quality VR equipment but realizing that the prices in motion tracking and VR display tech, Luckey developed the oculus rift. The Rift made Luckey the leader in Virtual Reality hardware for video gaming. Facebook took notice of Luckey’s success and acquired the company in 2014 wanting to take VR in a more social direction. Oculus is still making the Rift and has begun offering cheaper alternatives such as the Oculus Go and the Oculus Gear VR.
Dominating the market share of HMD sales is Sony, making up roughly 30% sales. The company has a history in the VR space dating back to 1997 with its first commercial offering, the Glasstron. It was almost 20 years later though when Sony executives decided to begin development of Project Morpheus. Project Morpheus eventually became the PlayStation VR, a virtual reality headset which was released in October 2016. As of December 3, 2017, over 2 million PlayStation VR units had been sold.
It may come as no surprise that Microsoft, the tech behemoth, has shown a strong entry into the HMD realm with its product the HoloLens. The Microsoft development team has focused extensively on holographic technology and the HoloLens reflects that with as the device lends itself to AR or Augmented Reality. Marketed as the world’s first entirely-wireless and self-contained holographic computer, the Microsoft HoloLens projects images over one’s normal visual field so that you can see AR 3D holograms in the world around you. Unlike it’s contemporaries, the Microsoft’s HoloLens was not designed for gaming but instead is intended for the workplace. Microsoft has shown examples of how the HMD can be used in everything from health care to the classroom. Microsoft will surely maintain footing in the Virtual experiences of tomorrow.
Google has also been making moves in the HMD space. Their investment in the Magic Leap start-up has created waves by bringing advances in “light field” display technology, 3D mapping, gesture tracking, and telepresence. Magic Hands is in good hands with their chief futurist, science fiction novelist, and VR guru, Neal Stephenson, at the helm. But perhaps one of Google’s major contributions to the VR field comes in the form of the Google Cardboard. The Google Cardboard is a do-it-yourself approach to mobile VR, that enclosures Android phones in a cardboard headset that can be built for less than twenty dollars. While the Google Cardboard may not offer as an immersive experience of other HMD’s, the price is hard to beat and is opening VR up to a larger cross section of the population.
Emerging Applications for HMD’s and VR
The Tsunami XR company is using HMD and other VR technology to bring business solutions to global clientele from many different industries. The San Diego company is developing virtual workspaces that enable global firms to speed cycles of innovation, encourage distributed teamwork, enhance finished product quality, and lower overall costs. While the VR industry started to cater to the “weekend” or recreational VR user, Tsunami XR is bringing the technology to the “Monday through Friday” VR user for the workplace.
Such business forward applications of VR do not always require the use of HMD’s, but the seamless amalgamation of various technologies is how companies like Tsunami XR are fostering virtual collaboration. Top executives and managers for companies in manufacturing, energy, automotive, construction, and aerospace sectors have begun to ask, “What can VR do for me?” Tsunami XR CEO Alex Hern and the team at Tsunami XR have answered with a resounding, “A lot more than you think.” While workplace VR has come along way in the past decade, the demands and uses for such tech are only beginning to develop.
Connect with Alex Hern of Tsunami XR on LinkedIn