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Looking Ahead: The 6 Largest AR/VR Segments

Large investments by tech giants like Samsung, Microsoft, and Facebook (Meta) and global adoption by consumers have propelled augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to the main stage. By 2024, the AR & VR market is expected to reach US$297 billion.

Its growth is spurred on by technological advancements and consumers' increasing demand for new, more immersive content.

Mobile network operators (MNOs) can use this massive opportunity in AR and VR technologies by finding an eSIM provider to enable their eSIM services.

eSIM for AR and VR

The embedded form-factor eSIM is better than physical SIM cards for AR and VR technology. They don't take up much space (certainly no need for a SIM card slot). More importantly, they make data services more straightforward, convenient, and accessible.

In particular, eSIM liberates AR and VR users from the physical constraints of Wi-Fi connectivity. MNOs can use this as a selling point to industries that require data connectivity for their AR and VR applications in the field (e.g., oil fields and oil platforms).

MNOs can also use eSIM to provide consumer AR and VR users with try-and-buy packages. They can give free eSIM data connectivity for a time, allowing them to overcome the concerns consumers have about getting a subscription plan without first knowing how good a service a carrier can offer.

The Opportunity: 6 AR and VR Segments

Operators can offer eSIM to consumers and industry users in the following market segments disrupted heavily by immersive AR and VR experiences.

1. Video Games

AR video games moved from fad to trend back in 2016 with the release of Pokémon GO. Since then, AR and VR have been a ubiquitous, mainstream platform for the video game industry. And mobile AR gaming is just the start.

More affordable headsets and improvements in content and design have allowed VR development companies to enhance the gaming experience provided by such technologies. Unlike before, games like Fallout 4, Edge of Nowhere, and Robo Recall offer polished VR gaming experiences.

AR & VR video games have also delved into the wellness and health sectors. Box VR and Beat Saber are two VR games that allow players to carry out an effective exercise routine while still experiencing immersive gameplay.

2. Art

While video games currently hold the lion's share of VR experiences, another interesting application of AR & VR is storytelling. Virtual reality, in particular, is enthusiastically displayed in the art industry through various forms.

From interactive exhibitions in museums and performances in theatres to VR art exhibitions, this range of VR experiences enables the public to engage with these environments in unprecedented ways.

Philadelphia's Franklin Institute and the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles have created new exhibitions using VR's immersive technology. Through VR glasses, public members can interact with the exhibits that blend the real and virtual space.

3. Live Events

Live events, such as New York Fashion Week, major music festivals, and sports, have always been relegated to a select few individuals. Venue spaces can only hold so many people, so most members of the public miss out on the entertainment experiences these events offer.

Even with TV broadcasts, the experience is not as immersive.

This is where VR technology comes in. Unlike TV broadcasts, VR revolutionizes live events, providing something new and engaging. With VR headsets, consumers can access some of the most exclusive entertainment experiences without the frustration of those events (long lines, bad weather, the long journey home, etc.).

For attendees of one of these live events, there are numerous AR applications to improve your live event experience. Coachella provided an AR experience in a past event through its welcome app. The marketing team for Coachella included AR “easter eggs” that were activated once attendees arrived on site.

The features available through the welcome app added a new layer of immersion for the music festival, creating a powerful and memorable event experience.

4. Tourism

VR and 360-degree video services allow consumers to virtually travel far-flung places without leaving their homes. This has opened up new marketing opportunities for travel agencies looking to promote destinations.

Through VR and 360-degree video, prospective travelers can view a promotional video of a destination, positively influencing the decision-making process. Further, VR travel experiences increase accessibility, education, and heritage preservation.

5. Social

Social media has forever changed the way people communicate. Now, platforms like Facebook and X are ubiquitous in everyday life. VR is expected to transform social media and how people interact via social networks.

Currently, there are several social virtual reality experiences available to consumers. vTime, Rec Room, and VRChat are immersive virtual social spaces where people get together to socialize, play games, and even interact with celebrities.

Facebook's acquisition of tech startup Oculus VR in 2014 signaled the social media giant's desire to pioneer virtual social networking. Since the purchase, Facebook has been developing numerous applications for the VR space, such as Facebook Spaces and the Oculus Quest.

The transition was completed when the company rebranded to Meta in 2021. It should only be a matter of time before Facebook and other social networks become fully immersive.

6. Retail

The customer shopping journey is set to be transformed with augmented and virtual reality applications. Retailers seek to employ AR and VR services to introduce shortcuts through the customer journey, from awareness and exploration to purchase and advocacy.

Retail depends primarily on augmented reality compared to other market segments that rely heavily on virtual reality services. As the primary go-to engagement method, AR can convey unique product and brand online information and bring that wealth of knowledge to life in the retail space.

IKEA, Sephora, and ASOS have all experimented with AR's ability to enhance retail engagement. These retail technology pioneers have helped consumers visualize their products through mobile apps. IKEA uses AR technology to enable consumers to manipulate virtual furniture within their homes. ASOS uses AR to help customers find products for their body types.

Through these AR applications, retailers can build consumer confidence and reduce returns.

Looking Towards the Future

With the continued maturity of AR and VR happening exponentially, these technologies have a bright future. The six market segments highlighted in this article scratches the surface of the future possibilities of AR & VR and the opportunity that awaits MNOs with an eSIM cloud platform to offer eSIM AR and VR device connectivity and support.

Unleashing New Realities: eSIM's Role in AR and VR Evolution.

The journey of AR and VR from mere concepts to technologies shaping our reality is remarkable. But what's the catalyst behind their transformative journey? eSIM technology, a protagonist in this digital narrative, isn't just a supporting character but a key enabler. Imagine changing your virtual environment in VR just as quickly as you switch between mobile network operators with eSIM. No more being tethered to Wi-Fi; your AR and VR devices can connect anywhere, anytime. Isn't it fascinating how removing a tiny physical SIM card can unlock a world of possibilities?

A Seamless Blend: eSIM's Integration in the Gaming Realm

Remember when gaming meant being glued to your screens, detached from the world? AR and VR have changed the game, literally. But here's a thought: could the reliance on fixed connectivity points limit these experiences? Enter eSIM technology, making gaming experiences as boundless as the virtual worlds they explore. Imagine you enter the real world mid-game, but your game seamlessly transitions from your home Wi-Fi to mobile data without a glitch. Doesn't this seamless connectivity transform how we play and where and when?

The Art of Immersion: When Technology Meets Creativity

Art, in its essence, has always been about breaking boundaries. So, what happens when art meets a technology like eSIM that's all about erasing limits? It's a renaissance of immersion! Picture walking through a virtual gallery, each artwork more vivid than the last. Now, imagine if your connectivity fails. The magic fades. eSIM ensures your immersive journey remains unbroken, enhancing not just the accessibility but the very experience of art. Could this be the masterpiece of modern technology?

Revolutionizing Retail: The eSIM Advantage

Shopping has always been a sensory experience, but AR and VR have taken it into another dimension. How? By allowing us to ‘try and feel' products virtually. But, pause for a moment – what if connectivity issues disrupt your virtual try-on? eSIM swoops in as the hero, providing uninterrupted connectivity and making virtual retail therapy a smooth, continuous joy. Isn't it intriguing how a technology primarily designed for communication quietly becomes the cornerstone of our shop?

The Future is Now: eSIM's Promise for Tomorrow.

We've explored the now, but what about the future? With eSIM, the end isn't years away; it's the next device you connect, the next game you play, and the following art piece you immerse in. As AR and VR evolve, doesn't it make sense that how we connect becomes, too? With its promise of flexibility, simplicity, and continuity, eSIM isn't just a technology for today; it's the key to unlocking the boundless potentials of tomorrow. So, are we ready to step into this new era?

Summary

In this journey through AR and VR, we've seen how integral eSIM technology is in pushing the boundaries of our experiences. From gaming and art to retail, eSIM's role in providing seamless, uninterrupted connectivity has proven to be a game-changer. It's fascinating to realize that our future experiences, the way we interact with virtual worlds, and even our shopping habits are being shaped significantly by eSIM technology. As we look forward, one thing is clear: eSIM is not just about connectivity but endless possibilities. So, as we embrace AR and VR, we also assume eSIM, the unsung hero of our fully connected future.

Frequently Asked Questions

What technology is used in eSIM?
eSIM technology involves an embedded SIM card, meaning there's no physical SIM card and no need for a SIM slot. The network operator updates information over the air, allowing for multiple profiles on a single device and easy switching between networks.

Is there a disadvantage to eSIM?
One potential disadvantage is that not all carriers support eSIM yet, which might limit your options. Also, the old one must be operational while transferring your eSIM to a new device. If it's lost or damaged, moving your eSIM can be challenging.

Why is eSIM not popular?
eSIM technology is relatively new and not yet widely supported by all network operators or devices. However, its popularity proliferates with the rise of incompatible devices and network providers offering eSIM services.

What is the difference between eSIM and virtual SIM?
An eSIM is a non-removable SIM card embedded in a device containing all the information traditional SIM cards have. A virtual SIM, on the other hand, assigns a mobile number without a physical SIM card, often used in apps or services that require a temporary phone number.

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