CES 2017 and the year ahead….exciting times!

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2016 was a big year for virtual reality. But there is way more in VR than just being taken somewhere else with your head in a headset.

That’s what we found out after visiting this year’s CES in Las Vegas.

A truly action packed conference where the biggest global technology brands come together to show the world what the future holds for them. Walking the floor endlessly and looking at all the innovation on display, from Intel to Honda to Samsung, the one thing that came across very strongly was that VR was being utilised across most of the booths for marketing purposes.

It seemed to be the ‘weapon of choice’ to bring to life the ideas that these brands wanted to communicate to attendees. A very encouraging sign for all those of us developing VR & AR software as this vast adoption of the technology indicates a vote of confidence in its' value.

Car manufacturers used VR to ‘transport’ consumers to a driving experience.

Chipmakers used it to show how you can now ‘walk’ inside a digital world beyond just looking around in 360°.

Guitar makers used it to livestream their live music performances.

Network providers used it to showcase the power of 5G when streaming VR video.

And the list goes on…

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Even most of the panels had VR as the main topic of conversation.

People who attended previous years attested that they did not expect such fast adoption of VR in the major brand booths!

Furthermore, digital health also had a strong presence at the show. There were 31 new digital health tools presented at the show which is a sign that disruption in the healthcare space is around the corner and 2017 should hold a lot of innovation for all stakeholders. Our own VRinOR has already started contributing to the healthcare disruption as it appears more and more on lists of the best medical technologies for 2016!

To all of those who feared that VR is going to be another 3D TV flop we respond with all the above facts. VR is being utilised from all kinds of verticals in ways that no one, back in 2011 when Facebook acquired Oculus, could predict would be possible. From bringing to life marketing ideas and concepts to training surgeons in remote locations and even delivering music experiences in a completely new way.

Talking about the future here are also some of the predictions for 2017 which include Apple’s official entrance to the space and more standalone VR headsets.

What we predict will be the next big thing in the VR & AR space is the idea of a new mixed reality. That is where we believe things are heading based on our own personal experiences and interactions with people both from within and out of the VR& AR industry.

Arguably, this has already started. The gaming phenomenon that was Pokemon Go! brought basic augmented reality to the public in an accessible way.

HoloPortal is promising a world where live hologram hologgers broadcast their yoga classes into your living room, or their personalised language lesson into your classroom.

What’s more exciting is this experimentation marks the beginning of a more interactive mixed reality – where digital images are not only merely displayed floating in our real-world environments, but start to react to them.

The Microsoft HoloLens is the closest we’ve got to this new mixed reality so far, and while CEO Satya Nadella says it could be a “five year journey” into consumer markets, we’re already seeing exciting applications from developers and businesses.

One of Mativision’s objectives is to be able to introduce AR and the use of Hololens in the VRinOR platform helping deliver intraoperative applications for doctors and surgeons around the world. The HoloLens technology can already be used by businesses to sell more and be more productive: shops could show off hologram products in new engaging ways; insurance companies or architects could look beyond the walls of real-life buildings.

Given the time and taking into consideration the huge progress made in the space, it’s not ridiculous to predict a scenario where physically a surgeon could over overlay a live ultrasound on their patient which would change and update as they operate.

The operating room. The office. The trading floor. It’s time to imagine them all mixed up.