We’re almost 2 weeks into the new year, so it's only fitting to take a moment to reflect on the whirlwind of virtual reality (VR) developments and experiences that defined our journey in 2023. It's been a year filled with innovation, collaboration, and immersive adventures, from groundbreaking product releases to exciting events.
Let's reflect on the major milestones in this frontier and explore what the future holds
Advancements in Hardware:
Companies like Meta ,HTC and Sony launched next-generation VR headsets such as the Meta Quest 3, HTC Vive XR Elite and The Sony PlayStation VR 2 that boasted enhanced resolution, wider fields of view, and improved haptic feedback. These technological leaps have made VR experiences more lifelike and immersive than ever before.
Rise of Augment Reality (AR) Integration:
The integration of AR into everyday applications became more prevalent. From shopping apps allowing users to virtually "try on" clothes to educational platforms overlaying interactive lessons on physical objects, AR's potential began to be fully realized, especially with the integration of AI into the mix.
An example is Example is the IKEA Place App which allows users to visualize Furniture Shopping with Augmented Reality
It works using Product Visualization which allows Users can select furniture items from the IKEA catalog within the IKEA Place app, place virtual furniture in their real-world environment using their smartphone or tablet camera, Users can walk around the virtual furniture and view it from different angles to get a comprehensive understanding of how it fits in their home allowing them to make informed purchasing decisions.
Also Reducing Returns By allowing users to visualize products in their own spaces, this app helps in reducing the likelihood of returns due to mismatched expectations. The IKEA Place app is an excellent example of how AR can be integrated into a retail application to improve the customer shopping experience and bridge the gap between the online and offline shopping worlds.
Meta Quest 3 Takes VR to New Heights:
On the VR hardware front, Meta took the plunge with the release of the Meta Quest 3. The advancements in technology were nothing short of awe-inspiring. It offers a slimmer form factor, dramatically improved performance and a fine-tuned focus on mixed reality (MR) capabilities via new color passthrough cameras and a depth sensor. It's not just a device; it's a portal to boundless virtual realms. As VR enthusiasts, diving into the Meta Quest 3 experience was like stepping into the future – an experience we eagerly shared with our community.
AI Expo in Joburg and the Roaring Rage Expo:
Our journey extended beyond product launches. We had the privilege of being part of a few Expos in South Africa, where industry leaders converged to explore the limitless possibilities of artificial intelligence (at the AI Expo Africa), design (at Decorex Africa), and last but not least, tech and gaming (at the Rage Expo). The energy and innovation were palpable, reaffirming our commitment to staying at the forefront of technological evolution.
A recap of Decorex Africa below
Our favorite Expo from 2024 has to be the Rage Expo, an event that resonates with every gamer's heart. It’s South Africa’s award-winning go-to mega event for video gaming, technology, esports, geek culture and digital entertainment, has been bringing people together for two decades. Surrounded by the pulsating beats of the gaming community, we connected with XR enthusiasts who share our passion for pushing the boundaries of reality.
A Glimpse into the Future:
As we enter into the second week of 2024, our eyes are firmly set on the horizon with new product launches in the works , the Apple’s Vision Pro which will be available for pre-order on the 19th of January. The journey definitely doesn't end here; it evolves. The blogs on African Technopreneurs and 180by2 will continue to be your gateway to the latest in extended reality (XR). Expect more insights, reviews, and immersive adventures tailored for businesses, creative agencies, content creators, travelers, and XR enthusiasts.
Thank you for being part of our incredible journey. Here's to a future filled with limitless virtual possibilities!