CCS Insight has predicted that 24 million augmented and virtual reality devices will be sold by 2018, saying it could be one of the most disruptive technologies for a decade.
“We believe it has tremendous potential and it's not just about expensive high-end devices such as the Oculus Rift. For only a few dollars, consumers can dip their toe in the water with an inexpensive cardboard holder for a compatible smartphone,” said Ben Wood, CCS Insight's Chief of Research.
“We expect this democratisation of the technology to deliver growth not just in affluent mature markets but also in emerging markets where smartphone penetration is stronger than ever."
And it’s not just the consumer market that CCS Insight estimates VR and augmented devices will have an impact on. Augmented reality is also starting to gain traction in industrial and business arenas. The firm believes Europe is currently the largest test bed for this technology, with numerous blue-chip companies across all sectors evaluating its capabilities – examples being in warehousing and fulfillment roles.
"Despite the reputational damage done to the consumer smart glasses segment by Google Glass, companies have realised augmented reality can be used to increase productivity and cut costs. Over the next two years we're going to see the technology move out of trials into full-scale deployments. Companies that embrace augmented reality will gain a competitive advantage," added Wood.