The worldwide market for augmented reality and virtual reality is set to grow at a staggering rate during the course of the next five years, according to a new market forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC), with industrial sectors like manufacturing and construction set to become leading adopters of these immersive technologies.
IDC predicts that global spending on AR and VR products and services will jump from $11.4 billion in 2017 to $215 billion in 2021, representing a compound annual growth rate of 113.2% per year for the next five years.
Around the world the consumer market currently accounts for the largest share of AR/VR adoption, but in the US and Europe discrete manufacturing and process manufacturing already represent the second largest share of the AR/VR market, and are set to overtake the consumer market within the next few years.
“Augmented and virtual reality are gaining traction in commercial settings and we expect this trend will continue to accelerate,” Tom Mainelli, program vice president, Devices and AR/VR at IDC, explained in the firm’s market report. “As next-generation hardware begins to appear, industry verticals will be among the first to embrace it. They will be utilizing cutting-edge software and services to do everything from increase worker productivity and safety to entice customers with customized, jaw-dropping experiences.”
Virtual reality currently accounts for a larger share of the overall market that augmented reality, thanks in large part to the consumer games market, but as industrial sectors continue to integrate immersive technologies into their systems and processes IDC believes augmented reality will surge ahead of its VR counterpart from 2019 onwards.
The most common use cases for AR/VR technology in industrial sectors today are on-site assembly and safety, and process manufacturing training. However, IDC predicts that within the next five years those use cases will be surpassed by industrial maintenance and public infrastructure maintenance.
Needless to say, the widespread adoption of AR/VR technologies will mean the industrial workforce will need to be trained on the use of these technologies. However, beyond upskilling the current workforce it’s likely some industry leaders will also begin to create new jobs for dedicated AR/VR Specialists, who will be tasked with integrating these technologies into the firm’s operations in addition to training employees on how to use them. Just one of the many jobs of the future that will be created as a direct result of the industry’s digital transformation.
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