ABI Research forecasts the market for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) immersive collaboration solutions will exceed US$400 million by 2025, up from less than US$12 million in 2019. The communication and collaboration market is seeing heightened interest and demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and expected lingering impacts of these unprecedented times are expected to accelerate the adoption of newer technologies like Extended Reality (XR) and increase growth rates of more established markets like video conferencing hardware, which is expected to approach US$4 billion by 2025, up from US$2.4 billion in 2019.
According to IDC capabilities can include see-what-I-see videoconferencing, digital instructions, real-time data access, knowledge capture, knowledge transfer, and more. A key component of any AR enterprise platform is its ability to keep a company's data safe and secure.
"As more companies move aggressively to leverage augmented reality to drive increased process efficiency, leverage remote workers, and facilitate faster knowledge capture and transfer, the role of the AR platform has become increasingly important," said Tom Mainelli, group vice president of Device and Consumer research at IDC. "Companies want a platform that brings together multiple capabilities that also ensures data remains secure."
Enterprises and governments’ inability to predict the reach and duration of COVID-19 means companies may need to depend on collaborative technology for extended periods.
Michael Inouye, principal analyst at ABI Research, commented that companies, like Facebook, have already amended work from home policies that extend beyond the current pandemic and provide early glimpses into what a new normal might look in the workplace.
“The communications market, much like streaming media, was already shifting to support a wider breadth of devices, services, and environments and the pandemic has accelerated these trends. The cancellation of events and inability to meet in person has driven demand for video calling services and tools and is opening new doors and exposure to more immersive solutions like XR,” Inouye added.
Immersive collaboration certainly has some big names like Microsoft, HTC, NVIDIA, Unity, and Facebook involved, but over 40 companies are targeting this aspect of the collaboration space. There have been some early market leaders like Glue, IrisVR, Spatial, The Wild, and VRtuoso, along with other companies offering different approaches to collaboration, ideation, or platform integrations like Imeve/Avatour, inlusion Netforms, Softspace, SPACES, and VR-on.
In Asia, the players to watch include Octagon Studio, EXA VR Park, ZipMatch, TaKanto, Hiverlab, and VizioFly.
“The high level of diversity in this aspect of the collaboration market will certainly be interesting to follow as the technologies, features, and services evolve and mature,” Inouye concluded.