Immersive technology can be transformative, but the rush to embrace VR and AR shouldn’t be made blindly.
But that’s what’s happening throughout technology as the press races to try and get lengths ahead of the curve.
On paper the $500 million acquisition of Oculus Rift by Facebook is being used as a harbinger of all things VR and AR to come.
Expectations for this system are way out of line with the reality of today’s markets.
To begin with, its price and computing overhead— a significant adder-- to gain access to or use the technology is way out of line with all but a few marketing models
Secondarily, I’m concerned by the practicality of any VR headset requiring a cord back to a host computer. The market trend is to cut, not introduce, more cords. To eliminate cords, issues with power needed to project and display VR images have to be addressed. Some of the new products under development are being designed to be used cordless.
There are also potential product liability issues in this nascent market: Could the projection system used in headsets damage a young person’s vision ? The same holds true for onboard headset audio. Some Audio equipment manufacturers already warn of auditory damage caused by exposure to loud music.
I suspect auditory and ocular warnings could be a part of the emerging VR landscape.
It’s not hard to imagine the negative effects of black box warnings on the sales of VR systems.
In the last week, unsourced stories have appeared claiming Google was workingon and would launch a VR headset. If it’s true, Google’s multi product family – which would begin with Cardboard as its “get acquainted” technology and scale up, could become the norm for this new technology.
In such a world it’s difficult for me to imagine a $400 jacked up headset surviving in open market competition, and it doesn’t matter what company name or logo is on the device.
Looking out at the future of virtual and augmented reality the big wins could go to infrastructure software suppliers that let movie and other studios quickly adapt existing content for a new media outlets.
But there’s a big hairy fly in that ointment too: Almost no technology companies have any real experience dealing with the professionals (i.e. Directors, screen writers, executive producers and studio execs) who control entertainment industry intellectual property
Dealing with a venture capitalist is a walk in the park when compared to dealing with hypersensitive and super controlling entertainment execs who license, movie content, story lines, screen presentation and other Intellectual property elements in the entertainment industry.
“Take your marks, speed, sound, action!” a new revolution is about to begin. --jim Forbes on 17 February, 2016.