It’s January, and the XR space is barreling forward as usual. Despite the holiday and new year period, the XR industry rushed out of the gates this month, with CES 2024 leading to significant announcements that could shake up the enterprise XR market.
Following last year, which saw the XR space experience a down-tick from a major 2022, 2024 is now looking to be a more busy year with major computing firms, most notably Apple, entering the XR device market and potentially spurring another wave of AR/VR/MR investment and adoption.
However, the waves of XR are strong and unpredictable. To forecast the year ahead and speak on 2023, XR Today gathered some of the industry’s leading minds to help our readers navigate what can seem like complex waters.
This month’s featured guests are:
- Kevin ‘O Donovan, Co-Chair, Industrial Metaverse & Digital Twin Committee, VRARA
- Jay Latta, Founder and Speaker, The Fusionists
- Amy Peck, Founder and CEO, EndeavorXR
- Samantha Tauber, Founder and Chief Executive, VNCCII
- Letitia Bochud, Director, Virtual Switzerland and Chair of the Board of Directors, XR4Europe
- Satyamrut Uttarkabat, Project Manager and Metaverse Expert, Sumeru Digital Solutions
2023 Reflections and the year Ahead
To kick off the conversation, reflecting on 2023, and looking ahead towards a busy 2024, Kevin noted that event after event in 2023, and “announcement after announcement,” an increased number of people are looking at some of the technologies enabling XR in industry/enterprise such as simulation applications that leverage digital twins, or some are “just getting their heads around the art of the possible, so I think that’s been an excellent year,” he remarked.
Jay added that the “best moment in 2023” was the ways professionals in architecture and science used XR and other immersive technologies, therefore showcasing “how valuable this technology is.”
Jay also said:
The second best moment was to realise, after several talks with Kevin, that Metaverse is not dead. Maybe the term is dead, but the technology is living on; it’s a very essential part, especially when we are transitioning towards software, defined towards building the industrial Metaverse.
2023: The Rise of GenAI in XR
2023 was really the year for generative AI. The rise of Chat GPT and rival services dominated mainstream headlines from the technology sector and beyond.
At first, some audiences believed that the newly emerging technology would replace the hype and investment cycle XR experienced the previous year. However, this was far from the case. Because once general hype died down, industry experts – XR and beyond – quickly figured out how genAI could enhance XR products.
Obviously, the rise in generative AI in the world of creativity has opened up a whole Pandora’s box, let’s say, for creatives to be able to implement AI in their workflows. – But in terms of specific technologies this year besides generative AI, AR has been huge. Obviously, social AR and seeing musicians implementing that in their live performances.
Moreover, Amy Peck explained how “generative AI is behind these [XR] virtual environments and this [XR] technology.” She added:
I think all of us have always been talking about the convergence of technology as opposed to these individual technologies. They are going to now combine and be fundamental in every business, and I’ll say that digital twins are, in my mind, an anchor technology for every single business in the world today.
Will the Apple Vision Pro Dominate in 2024?
Amy also explained how “there have been a lot of pivotal moments” in 2023. However, the much-touted Apple Vision Pro announcement – and next month’s marketplace debut – is “not the end all be all.”
However, Amy believes the new device will be an “important marker in the evolution of the technology” that brings XR hardware into the hands of consumers.
It’s an important marker in the evolution of the technology and really bringing the hardware into the hands of consumers because they largely don’t care now, but I think they’re going to start to care more.
The leading industry figure also quickly acknowledged the potential of Meta’s already available MR headset, the Quest 3 – “Meta’s new device is phenomenal,” Peck added.
Amy also said:
I think it’s another step towards true mixed reality and the magic wayfarers. I see a lot happening with standards. We’re starting to see the big players get behind file formats and thinking about interoperability and actually working together and all playing nicely in the sandbox. That’s a really, really important component.
2024: The State of XR in the EU and India
The EU and India are making significant strides within the XR space. Companies, experts, commissions, and leading engineers in each region are helping to broaden the standardisation of XR development and implementation at an enterprise level.
But the areas also work to establish a true base for XR incubation and adoption up-ticks. The European Commission is working on Metaverse legislation to help standardise the technology and educate end-users on leveraging AR/VR/MR.
In Europe, in general, there was one big month, it was July 23 because the European Commission voted and started working on the virtual worlds and web 4.0 initiative, and that has been huge because we’re going to be part of it. We’ve been in discussion for public policy making, and this is really something that will not only help people understand the technology, democratise the technology, but also help with the interoperability of it, and that’s really a big thrill here, especially because we’re so fragmented in legal systems, etc.
Moreover, Satyamrut noted that “in terms of the Indian market, two things have worked, one is spirituality and the training and education sector.”
Satyamrut explained that India is “a young country, with a lot of young people. So there are a lot of talents. There are a lot of opportunities in the education sector – people, schools and colleges.”
Satyamrut added that while there are “a lot of other projects,” the two aforementioned sectors provide the best outcomes in 2023. “We are slowly fine-tuning to particular use cases with training on these topics,” he said.
To learn more and experience the full-length conversation, please check out our latest Big XR News Show.