Before deciding how to invest in mixed reality apps, it is worthwhile to be acquainted with this technology in more detail. What is a mixed reality? How demanded are the products using this technology? In what areas are mixed reality applications relevant? Perhaps the main question would be – what are the chances that mixed reality products will become popular and is there the possibility that financing their development will have merits similar to virtual reality investment options? The purpose of this article is to review the technology in detail, to show the scope of its application and, in the end, should answer the question: would the profits from MR applications reach the virtual and augmented reality revenue amounts?
What is Mixed Reality?
Mixed reality (sometimes also called hybrid) is a combination of virtual and common realities, which allows adding additional virtual layers and virtual objects to the real space. Mixed reality is aimed at the creation of new environments and visualizations where virtual and real objects can interact in real time. To gain a deeper understanding of the possibilities and operation principles of the MR, we first need to consider its constituents: virtual reality, augmented reality and expanded virtuality.
Virtual reality is a space that consists entirely of digital information and virtual objects. This means, first of all, that VR is disconnected from the real world. Virtual reality technology transfers its user from the real environment into a digital space. This technology is being developed for almost 35 years to the day. The main sphere of its application is the game industry. VR is still very expensive, so it is very difficult to make it widely available.
Expanded virtuality is a technology that allows bringing real objects into virtual reality. To illustrate the difference between virtual reality and extended virtuality, one can give the following example: a digital room. If a user, wearing a conditional “virtual reality helmet” can enter this virtual room, move around it and interact with digital objects through a virtual body – it is a virtual reality. If you can invite a real interlocutor, outfitted with similar equipment and located at the other end of the country or the world, and interact with them as well as with digital objects – this is an expanded virtuality.
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Augmented reality is a technology that allows complementing objects of the real world with various virtual elements (most often of the informational nature). For example, with a help of the AR technologies, a museum visitor can get additional information in their native language about the exhibit they are interested in, simply by pointing their phone at it. Augmented reality investments already bring sizeable revenues. For instance, Niantic Labs, the creators of the Pokemon GO augmented reality game, managed to secure funding of $25 million and got a lot of renown and media attention. Additional income Niantic earns by monetizing their game. Is it worth mentioning that owners of their stocks also receive notable profits?
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The technology of mixed reality, as mentioned, is the result of the synthesis of all three technologies. MR complements the real world with digital textures and brings virtual objects into reality. These virtual objects can interact not only with the user but also with objects of the real world. The task of technology is not just to bring genuine virtual objects into the user’s field of view, but also to fixate their location relative to real-world objects to ensure the productive interaction with the reality.
Where Does This Apply?
To begin with, we must understand that MR products are already present in the market and even more are in the development, it is not just some distant future technology. The headliner of the second attempt to make the technology of virtual reality publicly available – the renowned Google Glass – was initially invented with mixed reality in mind also. Of course, most of the project goals were not achieved; however, the problem of Google Glass was not so much that people rejected the novelty, but that they simply were not ready for it. In the modern smartphone-centric world, the scope of MR appliances is truly wide.
The possibilities to complement reality with virtual objects, as well as to allow the user or groups of users interacting with this objects, can be extremely useful in education. Medicine, chemistry, biology, physics or even architecture – the technology of mixed reality finds the usage everywhere. Creation of virtual visual training models, with the possibility to interact with them, is not only a huge benefit for students but also an opportunity to save money for educational institutions: virtual objects and models do not deteriorate and do not need repair.
Mixed reality also gives the opportunity to create a virtual workplace that completely imitates the real. This is a very useful property of mixed reality, applicable for the training of the personnel. For example, pilot training simulators can be exchanged to mixed-reality devices, thanks to which it is possible to simulate any flight conditions and all the interactions with the vehicle are emulated precisely. For many professions, the replacement of training simulators with mixed reality technology will prove to be not only useful but also save funds.
With mixed reality, you can recreate any environments and conditions, including combat clashes. The possibility of group interaction of users with virtual objects makes it possible to create whole grounds for the training of armed forces. This gives an opportunity to develop joint tactical actions of the detachment in various conditions without the use of expensive equipment (including explosives) and weapons, which can ultimately result in quality military training with a significant reduction in the costs.
Naturally, no new technology can bypass such a massive by the number of users and profits sphere as entertainment. Particularly it concerns the gaming industry. The introduction of virtual objects to reality is an excellent opportunity for computer games developers and publishers, as well as for those who organize various city quests or quest rooms today.
Technologies of mixed reality can also be useful for tourism: the capabilities to create virtual guides that interact with environmental objects while leading tours, supplementing the reality with various virtual objects and media files can be very attractive for many companies.
Is it Worth to Invest in Mixed Reality?
Already today, we can observe a tendency to reduce the business costs using virtual, mixed and augmented reality technologies. This suggests that virtual reality is gaining popularity among users and is becoming more accessible. Mixed reality, as the golden mean between expanded virtuality and augmented reality, has every chance and is actively moving towards becoming a new trend. Not to mention that funding the creation of mixed reality technologies, you would indirectly invest in augmented reality, expanded virtuality and virtual reality development. Is it profitable to invest in mixed reality apps? The answer is definitely “yes” – it is one of those technologies that will shape our future.
What sphere of application to select? This question is more complicated. It is important to remember that developing applications based on mixed reality is a difficult process that requires high qualification and deep knowledge from developers. That is why only real professionals can undertake such a task. If you have an idea of a product using a mixed reality, it would be most advantageous to discuss it with experts first. Investing into new projects or developing your own, you can eventually come to a real success. However, it is very important to make sure that real professionals will do the work on the product.