'Realism Redefined: Trends in AR/VR and the Opportunities Ahead' GV Expo Keynote Preview

"VR delivers a sense of presence like we've never seen before."
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Steve Koenig, senior director of market research at Arlington, Va.-based CTA (Consumer Technology Association), will deliver Government Video Expo's keynote address, "Realism Redefined: Trends in AR/VR and the Opportunities Ahead" on November 29 at 12 p.m. Register here to attend. CTA's vast cache of market research is free to members and available for purchase, at the CTA store .

Tell us a bit about CTA.
SK: We are a non-profit trade association and our body of work really spans B2C, B2B studies both domestic and international. We also engage with both sides of research, quantitative and qualitative analysis. We are on track this year to publish 35 studies on topics including artificial intelligence, 5G networks and many more. We look into high-tech retail and how technology is remaking the retail environment. We've looked at consumer sentiment surrounding the use of drones and smart home technology adoption. We've even looked into the growing world of pet tech—GPS enabled collars, all kinds of automated feeding systems and a lot more.

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Where does your information come from? Do you poll people directly, do you assemble material from polls that other companies have taken? Do you talk directly to manufacturers, to consumers?
SK: All of the above. It just depends. To put those terms in more research lingo, this is what I was just kind of describing, earlier, when I said we do B2C studies, consumer studies, where we survey consumers or households. And we do B2B research that involves in-depth interviews with people in a particular industry and we do focus groups with consumers.

Our mission is to grow the consumer technology industry. Our membership includes the people who make consumer tech products—everyone from Apple to Ford Motor Company—but also silicon manufacturers, the semiconductor industry, companies like Qualcomm and Intel, content companies like Netflix and 20th Century Fox. Also the newest breed of companies involved in the so-called "sharing economy" like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.

Demand for this kind of research must be increasing at a tremendous rate.
SK: You're exactly correct. The pace of innovation continues to quicken. When I started at CTA, the big topic was “digital,” the shift to digital. These days everything is connected. It is the Internet of Things. When I started here 14 years ago, Amazon was a shadow of what it is today. Brands like Google and even Apple were nothing like what they are now.

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Can you give us a sense of what you plan to discuss in your talk about AR and VR?
SK: AR and VR have come at the market from different trajectories, and we're still trying to figure out the various applications and use cases both for consumers and industry—and I would use that term very broadly, to include retail sales marketing, content creators, "Hollywood" production companies. In other words, hardware and software manufacturers.

VR delivers a sense of presence like we've never seen before. People are still figuring out ways to tell stories where you're actually putting the audience inside the story, inside the action. VR is pushing outside of entertainment and gaming to find new use cases.

AR is finding its footing more in the B-to-B space, like with Google Glass 2.0, and for manufacturing applications. There have been some really compelling statistics: 15 to 25 percent productivity gains using AR in industrial commercial applications, whether it's picking inventory in a warehouse or helping people perform other tasks like that.

Now, AR is trying to push into the consumer market, and the Trojan horse for this is the smartphone, with iPhone 8 and the Galaxy S8 and others. I think we are poised for a real seismic shift in the mobile experience, with a wave of AR applications coming that will reside on our smartphones, and that will probably change a lot of the apps that we're already accustomed to using, like Google Maps.

I would say that attendees can expect, in addition to perspective on what's happening now and what's next, we'll also be able to quantify opportunities: How many million dollars in market opportunity do we anticipate? There will be some hard numbers and forward-looking forecasts that will describe our expectations for growth in this market.

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