Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality… and Microsoft’s great new Go-to-Market Strategy

The virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) markets become more and more interesting…and mainstream. Crosscheck here with Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies from 2015: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3114217 …and 2016: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3412017

Sure it will still take a bit, but I bet you it will go much faster, more common and longer-lasting than the (home) 3D market. You wonder why I’m so sure about that? Well, let me name the current players, and a fantastic strategy……the currently dominating market players at first, following a recent Business Insider report (http://www.businessinsider.de/microsoft-shows-off-hololens-power-2016-10):

  • Google,
  • HTC,
  • Samsung,
  • Sony, and
  • Facebook-owned Oculus.

(get some details about their VR headsets here: Google Daydream View, Oculus RiftHTC ViveSony PlayStation VR and Samsung Gear VR)

And now…the new kid in VR-town: Microsoft
Well, some of you might say now: huh? Microsoft? What about that Microsoft HoloLens?
Oh well, that’s an augmented reality headset.

Let me quickly get into some basics on VR vs. AR:
Virtual reality (VR) uses a headset to block the world around you and deep dive into stereoscopic, 360-degrees virtual worlds, to make you forget where you are and feel like you are anywhere else. Leading VR headsets are connected to a powerful gaming PC via cable, others use a console or a smartphone to display content to a user.

Augmented reality (AR), in contrast to VR, blends the live view of your real world, either through a camera or directly through clear lenses, along with virtual objects or animations put into/on top of this real situation. AR is able to analyze your surroundings and add content to it so that the virtual may seem interacted with the reality. This way you could see Pokemon Go monsters, or any other digital object, sitting on your couch for instance.

Alright, so we got that.

Now, what about Microsoft? Natya Sadella, Microsoft’s CEO, initiated a great strategic move: Microsoft is going to create a new, more advanced, VR+AR headset…and provide it to their partners for OEM business. Wanna know some of those partners? …here we go:

  • HP,
  • Dell,
  • Lenovo,
  • Asus, and
  • Acer.

You know what that means? Hm, maybe bundles of (all) new laptops and PCs with VR/AR headsets from Microsoft?

Plus, the current market players will continue to bring the technology to smartphones and consoles anyway.

So…the only thing left for mainstream is…?
Content!! (ok, besides a bit more hardware power to get rid of cables, and to improve the display resolution ;))

But yes, the VR/AR content needs to be created…and it will be…
Not only the applicability in private and business of VR/AR is much bigger than with 3D. Also, the invest is smaller.

Let’s look at some facts of that upcoming Microsoft headset – an excerpt from above mentioned Business Insider report:
Less space requirements. The devices will have inside-out tracking, a technology also introduced during Facebook’s Oculus event, that allows the headsets to track users’ movements without additional sensors. This means the devices require less room, which could encourage buyers with limited space to purchase them. Low price point. The devices will start at just $299, vastly undercutting many existing products from competitors, like PlayStation VR and HTC Vive, which can cost as much as $800.”

And what are some of the areas/industries leveraging VR/AR already and within the next few quarters?

  • Healthcare/medical, i.e. teaching students and realtime surgery support,
  • Media and Entertainment, mobile, console and PC gaming,
  • Travel/tourism,
  • Publishers,
  • E-commerce merchants,
  • Social platforms, and
  • …of course: Marketing/ads

So, now…content is key to attract more users……let’s build some… 😉

Cheers,
Sebastian Grodzietzki

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