These days we get to hear so much about Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). These technologies are being used increasingly in different sectors including entertainment, construction, manufacturing, finance, health services, and teaching and training.
Commercial support and use of VR and AR is strong. Giant tech firms such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook have made serious commitments toward these technologies. Walmart is already using 17,000 Oculus Go headsets for employee training. In 2019, it’s expected that Vive and Oculus will produce stand-alone headsets with powerful and dedicated in-built computer technology. According to Forbes, more than 2.5 billion users will have installed AR-based products on their smart gadgets by 2023. Revenue for the AR industry is forecast to hit $75 billion by 2020.
Since both terms are related, it is easy to confuse them even though they refer to two different things. As these technologies become more widely used, it is important to understand their differences.
- Investors with an intention to add VR and AR stocks to their portfolios
- Students who are finding the technologies interesting in their line of study
- IT professionals who are expected by their organizations to have deep understanding of VR and AR for advisory purposes
- Any other emergent technologies enthusiast
VR is a technology that transports the user from the world as they know it and immerses them into totally different real-world or imagined environments. The most popular VR devices today are Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Google Cardboard.
When you put on a VR headset, it’s like you are blindfolded. Things change dramatically when the device is turned on. Your senses are expanded from within with experiences that are totally different from the world you were in a few seconds ago. The immersion is so profound that some users report feeling like they are truly inside the virtual environment.
Just like the word suggests, AR adds something onto the user’s current reality. It enhances your current state of presence, usually by adding digital information on the image of something. Examples of AR applications include Pokemon GO, which is a gaming and fun app, and Layar, which is an information app that provides you with information about places you visit.
The main difference between VR and AR is that AR doesn’t move you away from your current state of presence. Rather, it enhances your interaction with the current environment.
Understanding the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality is important. Knowing where opportunities for business and investment lie is even more important.
There are many reasons why an investor should consider adding VR and AR stocks to their portfolio. These technologies may not have yielded the expected transformation over the last 30 years since their first introduction but they are poised to drive major disruption in various sectors. If you are an investor with a long-term eye, you may well invest in top VR and AR stocks for the following reasons:
- Diversify your portfolio with stocks that expose you to two of the fastest-growing technologies.
- A number of VR and AR companies are working on immersive learning products for the education sector, which could open up endless opportunities.
- VR and AR systems can streamline many processes involved in the highly popularized field of big data analytics. The uptake of these technologies is expected to be explosive in the near future.
- VR and AR stocks expose your portfolio to the multi-billion gaming industry. Gaming companies are increasingly adopting VR and AR to enhance players’ gaming experience.
- Both technologies are already advancing the healthcare system. A good example is Google Glass that is already being used to perform operations.
Many forward-thinking companies keen on creating superior customer experiences and value for their shareholders are turning to VR and AR. In 2018, The Venture Reality Fund reported that VR and AR companies had grown by 50 per cent compared to their size in 2017.
Most of the growth, the fund reported, was due to increased sales of mobile AR apps, AR smart glasses, SDKs, 3D tools, display components for head-mounted displays, and enterprise applications. Revenues for both technologies are expected to skyrocket to more than US$160 billion by 2020. This growth is evidence of why now might be a great time to consider investment opportunities presented by these two technologies.