Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies are positioned for record growth in 2018, according to new research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). And the latest exhibitor update on CES® 2018 – the global stage for innovation, owned and produced by CTA – shows a record-setting footprint for both AR and VR at the upcoming show, Jan. 9-12 in Las Vegas.
The forthcoming U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts report from CTA projects AR/VR headsets and eyewear will sell 4.9 million units in the U.S. in 2018 (a more than 25 percent increase from 2017) and see U.S. revenues of $1.2 billion (almost 10 percent year-over-year growth). CTA also projects sales of consumer-focused AR eyewear will accelerate considerably within the next five years.
The AR/VR sector will also reach record levels of exhibit space at CES 2018. The Augmented Reality Marketplace will expand to a record 10,900 net square feet (NSF) – 10 percent larger than in 2017. And the Gaming & Virtual Reality Marketplace will grow to 34,100 NSF – an 18 percent year-over-year increase and its largest-ever CES footprint.
“We’re thrilled with the impressive growth of AR/VR, reflecting that the sky is the limit with these emerging technologies,” said Karen Chupka, senior vice president, CES and corporate business strategy, CTA. “At CES, you’ll discover new ways to sense and experience the virtual world – innovative examples of why the value of AR/VR extends from gaming and entertainment to education and healthcare and beyond.”
Last year, CTA’s AR/VR Working Group approved industry definitions to help companies explain to consumers the broad range of technologies and experiences available, including:
Augmented Reality (AR) overlays digitally-created content into the user’s real-world environment
Mixed Reality (MR) is an experience that seamlessly blends the user’s real-world environment and digitally-created content, where both environments can coexist and interact with each other
Virtual Reality (VR) creates a digital environment that replaces the user’s real-world environment
Additionally, CTA’s AR/VR Working Group under the association’s Technology & Standards Program – accredited by the American National Standards Institute – will soon complete its work on technical definitions covering a broad spectrum of the AR/VR industry. These definitions will provide support for future projects addressing best practices for consumer experience including MR, XR, Outside-In Tracking and Six Degrees of Freedom or ‘6DoF.’
“It’s up to us in the industry to help consumers understand all the technology and content available right now in the AR/VR/MR space,” said Mark Turner, vice president, Corporate Partnerships & Strategy, Technicolor; and chairman of CTA’s AR/VR Working Group. “The investments we’re seeing in these immersive technologies, coupled with other innovations – like wearables and voice search – point to an exciting future of truly pervasive personal computing. A future where your physical environment can morph between being your digital workplace and your digital fun place.”
CTA’s membership is expanding and evolving in line with this emerging tech sector’s growth. CTA welcomed more than three dozen new AR/VR members in 2017 – including Black Box VR, creator of a virtual reality gym; HaptX, maker of haptic gloves for training and entertainment; and VR biometrics content platform StoryUp – bringing the association’s total AR/VR membership to over 100 innovative companies. Among the current members of CTA’s AR/VR Working Group: Amazon, AMD, Dolby Laboratories, the Fox Innovation Lab at Twentieth Century Fox, GoPro, HTC Vive, Intel, Magic Leap, Meta, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Oculus, Reverge VR, Samsung, Sony, STRIVR, Technicolor and Translink Capital.