One the hottest things lately in information technology is the area of Virtual/Augmented Reality(VR and AR for short). Companies from Facebook, to Google, to Sony, and so on are all launching forays into this area, and working to make it the Next Big Thing. VR and it’s cousin AR are not exactly new things. After all, all manner of video games for quite some time have presented a form of VR, and AR has been represented in a fashion by entries such as maps to Pokemon Go. Further, interactive real time social VR has been represented by virtual worlds for a number of years in titles like Second Life, There, and so on.
So it would be easy to dismiss the latest hype, except for one small point: the technology is finally catching up to the vision.
In the past, VR and AR were presented on 2d screens with 3d emulations. Haptic feedback was limited, and full immersion was something that required extremely expensive equipment and computing power. In short, it was far out of reach for any practical application. So the result was that VR ended up being a niche, limited to gaming and creative social virtual reality, and without leaps in technology, it was stuck there. But that is becoming less of an issue now, and while it has yet to go fully mainstream, it appears that we are on a path that will result in such an outcome within the next two-to-five years.
How will it change things? Well, it’s going to affect everything from enterprise business to entertainment to social gatherings. It’s going to allow real time interaction and collaboration far beyond what is possible now via Skype, or WebEx, or by phone. I’ll say more in subsequent posts, but hold onto your seats, this space is going to get hot.