2020 has past and many of us really would like to see the back of it, even though the start of 2021 does not seem very different at all, most of us believe that with vaccines being deployed on mass, there is light at the end of the tunnel, 2021 should get us through this period of uncertainly, we hope. But whilst we have had to deal with this global pandemic, there have been some great leaps in technological advances in 2020, that has only happened because of COVID, such as; testing and vaccine development, remote working and video conferencing software, contactless delivery, online learning, and one area that has seen significant growth is virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies, let’s take a look at the developments in these two immersive technologies and what we are likely to expect in 2021.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world shutting down government offices, museums, sports centres, restaurants, bars, heritage sites, pretty much everything at one point or another, except for supermarkets it seems. With so many of us working from home, communication and collaboration tools started to extend over to AR and VR, and with so many places shut, some governments and businesses looked at virtual and augmented technologies to allow us to experience museums, cities, sports centres, parks and even in the international space centre in accurate 360-degree photos and videos all from our own home, it is also expected that once the pandemic is over, these technologies will be continued to be used as a free taster before buying products or services for instance.
Here are some of the developments that we have seen in 2020.
- NASA SLS VR Experience
- German National Tourist Board promotes Germany as a tourist destination with VR experiences
- Meta-AR release app for collaborative AR in STEM classrooms
- Debuts and Virtual Concert experiences within Fortnite game see millions of user’s logon worldwide
Virtual and Augmented Reality within the Tourism industry
With VR and AR touted as a bit of a gimmick pre-COVID times we are now seeing, especially within the tourism industry, significant efforts to step-up recovery by promoting countries, cities and places of interest as potential destinations for travel, and certainly, Germany seems to be leading this effort by taking their viewers on virtual tours of castles, palaces and many outdoor pursuits, further developments of the technologies in 2021 will see one-on-one virtual experiences with tour guides around the world, giving consumers the benefit of experiencing the destination before they travel, such technologies could be extended to hotels by giving them a significant competitive edge whilst providing their customers with a great experience before they have even booked their trip.
AR and VR will continue to grow in 2021, accelerating the growth of 5G networks, running virtual sports events, eye tracking and facial recognition enabled applications, remote assistance and remote learning are just a few areas that we will see growth in 2021, these technologies should certainly be considered for helping with the recoveries of our economies.
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