2018 was a year of maturation for xR in the enterprise. Training emerged as the darling of IT professionals and strategists all over the world, and adoption came in meaningful numbers. Organizations have larger budgets than the average consumer and they have shown substantial ROI in many and varied use cases. The growth being observed by Greenlight Insights is bolstered by upcoming improvements in both the quality and cost of headsets and components, plus the emergence of 6.6 DoF standalone VR and enhanced cloud functionality for the enterprise. We see increasing mainstream enterprise adoption in 2019.
Apart from sussing out the top compelling use cases of xR technology, Greenlight Insights expects to see the following developments in xR enterprise hardware for 2019:
- In keeping with previous GLI Forecasts for enterprise xR, defense applications will continue to see the most significant growth into 2019, driven by historically compelling use cases such as training and warfighter readiness. Promising signs include the completion of the first USAF pilot cohort to train in a new VR system replacing traditional simulators, as well as the award of a $480 (32h 0m) (32h 0m) (32h 0m) (32h 0m) (32h 0m) (32h 0m) million government contract to Microsoft towards the creation of next-gen “Integrated Visual Augmentation System,” combat headsets to be used in both training and combat scenarios.
- More affordable HMDs encourage the deployment of historically successful enterprise use cases, such as training and simulation, to customer-facing applications. Specifically, usage in the retail and marketing sector, in applications which involve carrying a narrative or demonstrating products, is among the highest growth sectors for VR according to market forecasts from Greenlight Insights.
- The growing number of options and rapidly improving quality of consumer hardware is stressing providers of high-end enterprise VR components. Troubled companies such as StarVR can expect increased competition from multifaceted OEMs such as HTC, who leverage experience in the consumer electronics space and a broader range of hardware to fulfill a wider variety immersive tech applications in the enterprise. In other words, next-generation, enterprise-focused HMDs must provide a significantly better ROI if high-end xR providers are to remain competitive with established consumer OEMs.
- 2018 saw the rise of head-mounted AR across a variety of applications, enabling hands-free computing and an increase in overall efficiency for workers in manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, AEC, and other industries. An increased focus on IoT, driven by broad enterprise access to 5G networking in 2019, could be a significant driver of head-mounted AR in many sectors, as networked information and data display become increasingly centralized, and frontline workers become responsible for managing more and more IoT information as part an already demanding workflow.