This is the eighth year that Augmented World Expo (AWE) USA has been produced, and every year, living AR and VR legends Ori Inbar and Tom Emrich keep outdoing themselves. The expo in of itself is a great annual showcase of how the industry itself is evolving, and where it is poised to head for the remainder of the year.
In between unveiling the Meta 2 DK's award-winning operating environment and having expo attendees try it out for themselves, we managed to chat with enthusiasts and industry veterans and newbies to get a pulse on where they think the industry as a whole is headed. Here are the biggest things we learned:
Neuroscience and Psychology Go Hand in Glove with AR and VR
The basis of our AR work here at Meta has always been grounded in neuroscience and user research. Since our founding in 2012, we've firmly believed that understanding what the brain wants will help guide the way AR experiences are created, essentially enhancing and complementing the way we do work (a natural machine, if you will). Organizations like Lowes, the largest home improvement retailer in the US, have increasingly turned to neuroscience to research how people interact with VR and AR – and that's a good (if not, "must-do") thing!
For example, Lowes Labs's founder and Executive Director Kyle Nel and his team found that customers are more likely to try out home improvement projects if they try them out in VR first, as opposed to merely watching a video of the projects being done. For those of us who have been working in AR and VR, it seems like a no-brainer and it confirms what we intuitively know. However, it is refreshing and validating to see that AR and VR are indeed versatile and highly practical media for storytelling, home improvement, and everyday work.
AR and VR Content for the Enterprise and Consumers are Becoming More Sophisticated
Compared to past expos, we noticed that organizations at this year's AWE have shown off more sophisticated and dynamic AR and VR applications and content. This shift towards producing content that goes beyond the usual remote assistance and training applications for both businesses and consumers bodes well for the industry as a whole – a win-win for both the makers and innovators and end users.
Meta CEO and founder Meron Gribetz takes a sticky note from the iPhone and places it in the Meta Workspace (Serrano)
And while analysts like Gartner predict that the AR is headed into the "trough of disillusionment" and VR is climbing the "slope of enlightenment", we believe that increased collaboration among both content producers and manufacturers will greatly advance the AR and VR industry in leaps and bounds more quickly than we'll realize. And as evidenced by the long lines for various booths at the expo, we think the best (content and apps) are yet to come:
With the awesome (no pun intended) and inspiring apps and technological breakthroughs on show at AWE this year, it's clear that AR and VR are here to stay – and we couldn't be more thrilled to see what others come up with. And to those of you who are reading this, we encourage you to start exploring AR and VR if you haven't already, and to ultimately start thinking about how we all can shape the next computing platform.