AR and VR are gaining popularity, but still haven't achieved mainstream use. Home furnishings and real estate could help change that, said roOomy's Taylor Wilding.
For Wilding, head of business development for RoOomy, which offers virtual design services, talked with TechRepublic about why home decor will be what finally gets the masses interested in AR and VR.
Patterson: Since 2016, augmented reality and virtual reality has been just around the corner. In fact, we've seen companies like Microsoft release the HoloLens for developers, and Apple released the iPhone 10 for the public, but AR and VR has not really resonated ... I wonder if we could first establish a baseline. What's the reality of the AR and VR business right now?
Wilding: Everything since September, when it came into our pockets, and when I say us, came into our pockets, the masses here in the US especially with the iPhone users and AR kit being released. It became a convenience at that point. It really is something that we're living in today. It's in a lot of people's pockets, but the hard part now is education. It's letting them know exactly what that power is in their pockets as some of them just don't know what is truly is today.
Patterson: We certainly see games and I think that games definitely bring augmented reality to the public, to consumers. What's the reality of AR and VR applications right now for businesses.
Wilding: Yeah, I think the most viable use case that we see today is in home furnishings and then also of course with roOomy, we've taken that and mended the gap between home furnishings and also real estate. Those to me are some of the most viable use cases. However, as we see technology evolving with folks with mix reality applications and hardware that, who knows. The sky is truly the limit as to what we're going to be able to do here in the near future with mixed reality that's coming out.
Patterson: When we look at applications like the HoloLens we certainly think about industrial manufacturing and other uses. What are other companies doing in the space that really can seem like the killer application, or the thing that makes businesses go, "Ah, I understand augmented reality for my business and why I need to spend money on it?"
Wilding: Yeah, that's a great question. So I think there's an awful lot of hardware out there that lends itself to augmented reality, one of them that you just mentioned being HoloLens. However, to us and the reason why we've kind of chosen the handheld devices for our applications to date being the iPhone and also Android devices is that it's a true utility. It's in everybody pockets. I think that with business and as we see it more as a viable application with businesses today, manufacturing is definitely one of them. Seeing the pipe, seeing how things are laid out in an industrial application, but we're looking for something in more utilitarian fashion that can be used by everybody. As everybody that you know, that I know, is A, has home furnishings, that's 100%. Everyone that has somewhere to live has home furnishings and B is that someone either most of the time either rents or owns a home via an apartment or and actual home. For that reason there's a lot of applications beyond just what we're working on today.
Patterson: Taylor, help me understand the next, say, 18 to 36 months. What types of steps will AR and VR make?
Wilding: I think it's very exciting. I think the technology itself is gonna continue to grow as we're just really launching into these software only versions on Android and on ARKit. So ARCore being Android's version and ARKit being Apple's version of the software only applications or software within our handheld devices. The next 18 to 24 months I think that we're gonna see a whole lot of use cases outside of what we see today that I'm not even aware of. We've been approached by many different verticals that are not really on our roadmap per se, that are interested in some sort of augmented reality application anywhere from the local Christmas in the park looking to really spice up their activities here in December, November and December. You know bringing Santa to life and things like that. So really just an engaging application that people are looking for well beyond what's out there today.