Virtual and Augmented Reality Market Journey to the Mainstream

Sep 29, 2016, 09:00 ET from FinancialBuzz.com

NEW YORK, September 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

One of the more interesting recent market trends and potentially blockbuster technological breakthroughs is the move of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) into mainstream. According to BIS Research (Business Intelligence and Strategy Research), a market research and advisory company, the global The AR and VR market is estimated to grow over $161 billion and $17 billion by 2022 at a CAGR of 85.4% and 44.5% respectively through 2015-2022, with North America leading the market. Vuzix Corporation (NASDAQ: VUZI), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), Facebook, Inc. Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC)

From the research it is clear that Augmented Reality is about to become the more prominent product of the two. AR devices are essentially smart glasses, and the target demographic for smart glasses includes not only the average high tech enthusiast but businesses and industrial clients as well. Similar to smartphones, smart glasses are intended to run applications designed to incorporate the advantages of the gadget, meaning that an abundance of features are available for the user's convenience, including a camera, a phone, GPS navigation with map display, graphical display, speaker, scheduler, barcode scanner and many more, all displayed in high definition in front of the user's eyes, keeping the hands free.

Several companies are currently at the forefront when it comes to innovations in this segment. Vuzix Corporation (NASDAQ: VUZI), a manufacturer and seller of eyewear technology for various purposes, has developed a portfolio of products over the years. Vuzix has smart glasses, video eyewear, augmented reality and virtual reality devices in its portfolio, which have won 13 Consumer Electronics Show Innovations Awards and several wireless technology innovation awards. The smart glasses, M100, is the company's most popular product as of yet.

Just yesterday, Vuzix Corporation (VUZI) announced that it has begun shipping units of the next generation of smart glasses, the M300. The device is being shipped only to select enterprise customers and VIP developers. The devices are initial DVT (Design Validation Test) units, which are going through final certification. Soon Vuzix will also begin shipping the M300 DVT's to key end users ad clients such as DHL, SAP, GE, Boeing, and others to begin the migrating process from their existing Vuzix products to the M300.

Another popular product of Vuzix Corporation (VUZI) is the iWear Video Headphones. This is a virtual reality device which includes a pair of video headphones, with a mobile wearable video display and gaming solution featuring dual high-definition displays. The device is capable to display 2D and 3D video and advanced interactive Virtual Reality and 3D titles.

As a semiconductor, Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) has shown great interest in VR and AR. Last Year Intel has invested $24.8 million in Vuzix Corporation (VUZI), and this August has announced a partnership with Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) to bring virtual reality into the mainstream. Currently VR headsets require high-end computers with expensive graphic cards, which most people don't possess and have no intentions to buy, therefore fixing the problem is crucial in order to introduce the products to a wider audience.

Speaking of Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), their approach to augmented reality is the most innovative in the market, and also the most expensive. Microsoft's HoloLens costs $3,000 and is the first fully self-contained, holographic computer, enabling you to interact with high-definition holograms around the user. The device already has hundreds of apps to download. Recently the Lowe's home improvement store chain announced that it will expand a pilot program using the HoloLens allowing consumers to virtually design kitchens.

Facebook Inc.  Oculus Rift VR headset device, which has an OLED display 1080×1200 resolution per eye, a 90 Hz refresh rate, and 110° field of view. The device creates a virtual 3D space, allowing for the user to be immersed in a virtual world while sitting, standing, or walking around the same room. The device is designed for gaming purposes and comes with special controllers. The Oculus Rift costs $599.

Recently it was reported by Engadget that Alphabet Inc  is still working on their version of a VR or AR headset. Not much is known about the mysterious device, but it seems that no phone or computer will be needed to make the headset work. This will not be Google's first attempt in this sector, as few years ago the company failed to successfully launch Google Glass.

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