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August 16, 2017
Immersive experience—The 4th wave in tech: Learning the ropes
By: Kamen Kamenov

Welcome to the first post from a series on all things Augmented & Virtual Reality.

It’s an exciting time for AR/VR and since my team and I have had a strong focus on it over the last couple of years, I thought I’d share some of my knowledge and experience with you. My posts will be easy for everyone to grasp—I’m excited about the trends in AR/VR and the opportunities for consumers, businesses and of course Accenture.

In this post I’ll explain a couple of things—what AR & VR and the term "The 4th Wave" mean. Before I do that, let’s make a few key acronyms clear, which will be used in this post and throughout the series:

  • AR – Augmented Reality

  • AV – Augmented Virtuality

  • VR – Virtual Reality

  • MR – Mixed Reality

  • VC – Virtuality Continuum

So…
  1. What is AR & VR?

  2. The Virtuality Continuum, as you can see below, is a scale that extends from the completely real to the completely virtual environment. On it you’ll also find the level definitions of the four main types of reality.


    Mixed Reality

    Note that AV & AR together make up the MR section, but the term Augmented Virtuality is rarely used, whilst AR & MR are often used as synonyms. Google Tango, Microsoft Hololens, and Occipital Bridge are all examples of platforms and technologies that don’t exactly fit in a single section along the Virtuality Continuum.

    Confusing definitions or not, AR & VR are the new cool kids on the block and are quickly taking over as The 4th Wave in technology.

  3. What is The 4th Wave of Tech?

  4. In short, it is the next big thing in technology after 1) PC, 2) Web/Internet, and most recently 3) Mobile. Digi Capital’s founder Tim Merel believes it has "The potential in the long run to disrupt the smartphone and tablet market", and its impact could be even faster and even stronger than the impact Mobile had on PC & Web.

    It’s still early days for AR/VR/MR but, as I write this, they are in peak hype cycle with sales and investments in the area growing exponentially over the last several and next few years. There are many challenges and many unknowns that tech companies, investors, businesses and consumers face, including the following and more:

    • Is the hardware necessary to elevate AR/VR to becoming a real market opportunity available today?

    • Are consumers inclined to switch from mobile and move to AR/VR?

    • Are enterprises making the right moves to gear themselves up for the transition?

    • Are tech innovators backed up by enough capital to stay alive for the foreseeable future?

    The answers to these questions are not straightforward and it’s almost impossible to make an accurate prediction about exactly how big The 4th Wave will be but one thing is for sure—everyone should be paying close attention. My team and I certainly are and in future posts I will be exploring further topics such as the art of the possible in AR & VR, what factors are currently seen as critical to success, what are we, as Accenture, doing about it and more.

Happy to hear your thoughts and ideas—get in touch via kamen.kamenov@accenture.com!


Here are my sources for this post, in case you’d like to do some further reading:

  1. A TAXONOMY OF MIXED REALITY VISUAL DISPLAYS by Paul Milgram & Fumio Kishino (https://cs.gmu.edu/~zduric/cs499/Readings/r76JBo-Milgram_IEICE_1994.pdf)
  2. Virtual and Mixed Reality are the 4th wave (http://www.digi-capital.com/news/2016/07/virtual-augmented-and-mixed-reality-are-the-4th-wave/#.WLMeUzuLRaR)
  3. The Market Curve: The Life Cycle Of New Technology Markets (https://techcrunch.com/2012/04/01/the-market-curve-the-life-cycle/)
  4. Augmented/Virtual Reality revenue forecast revised to hit $120 billion by 2020 (http://www.digi-capital.com/news/2016/01/augmentedvirtual-reality-revenue-forecast-revised-to-hit-120-billion-by-2020/#.WLMebzuLRaS)
  5. BMW to mix real world with virtual car showrooms (https://www.ft.com/content/3d1f01c6-d1d1-11e6-b06b-680c49b4b4c0)
  6. Magic Leap Whale Hologram (https://vimeo.com/166303206)
  7. Virtual and Augmented Reality (https://www.citi.com/commercialbank/insights/assets/docs/virtual-and-augmented-reality.pdf)

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