With virtual and augmented reality technologies set to explode into the mainstream in the coming years, major tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Sony, and brands such as IKEA and Pokémon are making sure they have a piece of the action. In fact, in a recent survey, IDC predicts the VR and AR markets will grow by over 100% in the next four years.
We managed to get a brief interview with Steven Kan (left) who heads up global strategy for AR and VR at Google. Kan gives his views on immersion, commercial use and gaming in VR and AR.
Could you tell us about your experience and your position within Google?
At Google, I'm responsible for identifying new growth opportunities in AR and VR and ensuring Google is well positioned for long-term success in the AR and VR industries.
To some people, VR & AR are seen as a gaming platform but how important are the practical uses of VR & AR?
Gaming is important, but there are so many exciting use cases for AR and VR beyond gaming. I'm excited about AR/VR because immersive computing has the potential to be the next general computing platform after mobile, not just a set of new features enabling better smartphone and PC gaming. With that in mind, I expect to see AR and VR used in many areas including communications, productivity, shopping and search.
Augmented and virtual realities will enable totally new experiences for people across the world. Image: Billetto Editorial, Unsplash
What have the major breakthroughs been so far for VR & AR?
It is still early days for AR/VR with far more innovation ahead of us than what has been accomplished so far. That said, what has been accomplished in the last two years is very exciting. While there have been specific technical and commercial successes, the major breakthrough is that a new industry has been started with contributions across the full technology stack from silicon to software.
How will VR & AR affect the future of the user experience?
AR and VR will touch almost every area of user experience, pushing UI from 2D to 3D to enabling new forms of storytelling using 360-degree VR video to communicate space and place. One transition that I'm really excited about is how AR will enable content to be associated with real-world spaces rather than with URLs or keywords.
In the same way a song can bring about strong memories, people can have meaningful associations with spaces and I think we are going to see some very exciting applications in the coming year that will enable people to share and communicate based on content associated or tagged with spaces. It's going to be a lot of fun.
If unlocking the commercial potential of augmented and virtual reality is of interest to you find out more and hear from other industry professionals at TechXLR8 2018. TechXLR8 is taking place June 12-14, 2018. To find out more, click here. Pre-registration is now open and it's free -- register your interest here.