The popularity of video streaming has exploded in recent years. 85% of all internet visitors in the World watch video content, and within three years, researchers predict that 82% of all online content will be video. These are impressive statistics, but with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) growing at such a rapid pace, the future of video will look completely different. As technology continues to advance and capabilities and access improve, AR and VR
streaming will no doubt replace conventional video streaming.

How will AR and VR transform video streaming?

Instead of streaming videos, consumers will stream experiences. The sky is the limit, but here are a few of the innovative ways that AR and VR streaming will have a positive impact on vital parts of everyday life.

Transportation

With nearly 218 million licensed drivers in the South East Asia alone, the streets are fairly crowded. As congestion increases in transportation infrastructures of all kinds, AR and VR may play a surprising role in decreasing the number of people who need to travel on city streets or public transportation. Since AR and VR streaming will enable consumers to experience movies, cinematic experiences, and concerts from the comfort of their own home, non-essential transportation will be reduced, creating a faster, simpler experience when travel is essential.

Commerce

Many businesses are using streaming video platforms to change the face of eCommerce, and that trend will only evolve with the introduction of AR and VR. Consumers can try on clothing virtually or see how furniture will look in their homes. In this competitive, consumer-driven world, organizations that develop a video streaming platform for their products will have a distinct competitive differentiation over those companies who haven’t planned for the next wave of online video content.

Healthcare and therapeutic services

AR and VR have tremendous potential to help medical professionals from all specialties treat patients more quickly and in the comfort of their own home. Not only does this help prevent the spread of illness by keeping sick patients from sitting in waiting rooms with dozens of other people, but it also cuts down on traditional health care costs and overhead. With a full, 360-degree view of the patient, AR and VR give physicians a complete look at symptoms and physical conditions without compromising the quality of care. Patients with PTSD, anxiety, and other mental health problems may also benefit from the use of AR and VR in their treatment plan. Research shows that there is tremendous potential for AR and VR to help patients confront their fears through “exposure therapy” and learn how to manage their symptoms under times of high stress. And the benefits extend behind the
psychiatrists’ couch. Social workers who are enabled to use VR and AR with their clients can help them practice for potentially stressful situations like job interviews and court hearings, for example.

Emergency management

AR and VR are also making an impact on emergency management and first responder situations. By using the technology to gauge their surroundings before arrival on the scene. In the case of a police officer or EMT for example, the caller could show their location on an interactive map, which would show the officer or EMT the fastest and safest way to get to the scene, along with any potential hazards the responder should avoid.

Tourism

One of the most exciting new uses for AR and VR streaming is the tourism industry. With the ability to turn city landmarks into living history exhibits, many cities are pursuing the use of technology to highlight their past while bringing tourism into the future.
Hotels can use AR and VR to communicate special services and hotel features to guests or direct them to nearby landmarks or restaurants. Likewise, tourist attractions like theme parks and zoos can use AR and VR streaming to enhance marketing and boost philanthropy efforts–drawing their audience into their story like never before.

Training

One of the most logical and as of yet, underutilized uses for AR and VR streaming is the ability to train employees, volunteers, or other personnel through the simulation of real-world experiences. This is particularly useful in situations that are simply too dangerous to create in real life, such as a military exercise, hostage negotiation, or natural disaster rescue effort. It prepares the viewer for possible dangers and many different outcomes while keeping them out of harm’s way.

Distributed workforces, with employees and managers in separate officers around the world, can also benefit from the use of AR and VR as a training tool. It provides the same experience without bringing remote teams to a central location to train them.

When will AR and VR become mainstream?

While the use cases are plentiful, with new ones emerging every day, AR and VR streaming is not likely to become commonplace or widely utilized within the next three years. Here’s why:

Internet capability

Think of VR or 360-degree videos as a globe, made of hundreds of “flat” videos that are stitched together to bring the viewer inside the experience. In that sense, streaming AR or VR would be like streaming many flat videos at one time.
Current internet capabilities allow users to stream between 4k-8k videos, but not dozens at once. Eventually, 5G technology will solve this problem, but it will take time for 5G to become mainstream enough to enable AR and VR streaming.

Platform and devices

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Magic leaps and a handful of other companies are offering tools to develop a video streaming platform, but it is far more complex than developing other technologies like iOS and Android apps. The same holds true for devices, which are all either too cumbersome or too expensive for widespread consumer adoption.

Consumer readiness

Although AR and VR technology have been around for a while, they are still relatively new and mysterious to most consumers. It will take time for users to buy into AR and VR as an enhancement to their daily routine instead of a novelty. Just as consumers adopted smartphones as a vital component of their day-to-day, they will grow to adopt AR and VR over time.


What will the next five years be like for AR and VR?

Over the next five years, industries of all kinds will witness a significant impact from AR and VR technology. Much work needs to be done, however, for AR and VR (and even live-streaming) to provide an optimal experience. Codecs, storage, streaming operating systems, and infrastructures must all be explored and improved.
Uiza is leading the way in researching and developing the right technologies to serve the current streaming needs of the market, with video streaming SaaS technology and video APIs and SDKs that are engineered for maximum performance and low latency. The team is also keeping a keen eye on the future of building video platforms and technology to support AR and VR streaming. Stay tuned for ongoing updates on AR and VR research.

Credited to: Gareth (gareth@uiza.io)