According to a recent report released by SuperData Research, corporate R&D spend on virtual reality (VR) technologies will hit $4.03 billion this year, topping last year’s figure by almost $700 million. The report also suggests that the number is expected to rise to over $4.56 billion next year, which would represent an increase of more than 10-percent year-on-year. While gamers have traditionally been the focus of VR companies, the high prices of VR headsets and the powerful hardware they require have elicited a relatively muted response from the retail sector. That being the case, manufacturers have been looking at ways to make the technology more attractive for the enterprise sector, and have been touting its benefits in industries like real estate, healthcare, education, transportation, and engineering.
With VR companies starting to focus more on the enterprise sector, the report predicts that investments into enterprise VR will hit $167.95 million this year, which would be a significant rise over $46.73 million that was invested in the sector last year. Meanwhile, even as VR continues to hog much of the limelight, augmented reality (AR) has also been gaining prominence in recent times. A relatively new term has also entered the popular lexicon of late – Mixed Reality (MR). The research from SuperData now seems to suggest that investments in these two new technologies are also on an upswing, and will rise significantly in the years to come. According to the report, corporate R&D spend on AR/MR was significantly lower last year than investments into VR were, but is expected to overtake VR by the end of this year.
Corporate R&D spend on AR/MR stood at approximately $1.34 billion last year, the data suggests, but is expected to rise to $4.32 billion this year. The sector is also expected to maintain its momentum next year with an injection amounting to $6.87 billion, the report states. However, whereas VR is becoming more enterprise-oriented, AR and MR are likely to remain relatively consumer-focused for now. While investments into enterprise AR/MR stood at a $62.42 million last year, they're expected to hit $101.33 million this year. That figure is expected to rise further next year, reaching $270.15 million, bypassing the VR enterprise investments projected by SuperData Research for 2018.