Mixed reality is the mix of reality, virtual reality and augmented reality. Within a year, we’ll all be in it.
Today you’re reading this post on a Facebook Wall. In a year, you’re more than likely going to be reading, watching or connecting in a virtual Facebook Room.
Last month Mark Zuckerberg did the first live demo of what he called “Social VR”, where he went from the Oculus Connect 2016 stage in front of the audience, to Mars, to his office, to his home.
Within a few minutes he did everything with his two demo buddies from playing chess, to sword fighting, checking messages and ending with a selfie of his VR self with his real dog (called Beast) and his wife, Priscilla (who made a video call to his virtual self and asked him “Why do you look like Justin Timberlake?”).
2016 was the year that all the major VR and AR platforms launched (Oculus Rift, Microsoft Hololens, HTC Vive and Playstation VR). They join smartphone headsets like Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard, growing the number of people using VR headsets to 20 million by the end of 2016.
2017 will be the year of hyper-growth: By the end of 2017, there is a predicted 10x growth in people using mixed reality wearables, to 200 million…
Remember the speed with which smartphones grew? Within five years they beat PCs as the main way we connect online. The speed with which we switch from mobile screens to wearable screens is expected to be even faster – as we grow from 3.4 billion to 6 billion online in the next four years.
This coming shift has led to an unprecedented alliance between the top Silicon Valley VCs and accelerators (incuding Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners, and 500 Startups), creating the $10 billion “Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance” to invest in the industry together instead of competing with each other.
How fast is this wave coming? Just yesterday the British press reported on the reaction to Google announcing their plan to flood British Classrooms with a million VR headsets, calling it “Educational Cocaine”. This week Google Earth became fully accessible via VR, allowing you to fly to any part of the world in 3D, and Alibaba let buyers shop in VR during this month’s record-breaking ‘Single’s Day’. Facebook themselves are expected to launch their “Social VR” within the year.
Companies like NextVR are already live streaming concerts and sports events in virtual reality. Founder David Cole says “With virtual reality, anyone in the world can attend any sporting event, any concert, any award show, and not only attend – they can actually sit in the best seat in the house.”
Startups like Magic Leap, already worth $4.5 billion, will have their light field glasses launched in the the next 18 months. When launched, the current bulky VR and AR headsets today will be reduced to glasses and contact lenses with hyper-realistic digital images mixed with the real world.
As Forbes’ David Ewalt wrote after seeing Magic Leap’s demo, “Throw out your PC, your laptop and your mobile phone, because the computing power you need will be in your glasses, and they can make a display appear anywhere, at any size you like.”
It’s hard to imagine that most of us won’t be using smartphones in 2020. It’s also hard to work out what we could or should be doing to prepare for this coming wave.
Here’s what we are doing at Entrepreneurs Institute:
> We’re staying focused on the problem we’re solving for our community and our customers – which is the need to access the best knowledge and network to support their progress wherever they are on their entrepreneurial journey.
> We’re partnering with mixed reality developers to help solve that problem more effectively (From creating virtual rooms for global masterminds and meetings within GeniusU, to live streaming our larger summits in virtual reality).
> We’re starting with the minimum viable product and then scaling as we grow engagement, with a commitment to staying on the front edge of the wave.
When faced with new technology, you have three options: Sink, swim, or surf. My recommendation is always take the third option.
How could you anticipate using mixed reality to provide solutions and service to your customers more effectively? Start the journey today as you may be sitting on the next billion dollar idea.
First there was websites, then social media, then mobile, and now – the fourth platform to drive the Internet – mixed reality. This fourth time, the opportunities are even greater than in the previous three – from travelling to any place and any time, to meeting anyone anywhere, to recording any experience to relive whenever, forever.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” ~ Arthur C Clarke