One of the biggest trends in IT is the merging of the real and digital worlds: so-called virtual and augmented reality applications (VR/AR) are already being embraced by a growing number of industry sectors, including manufacturing, logistics, healthcare and commerce. The upcoming CeBIT trade fair is dedicating a special section to this exciting area of technology, and establishing a new platform and meeting-place for VR/AR developers, suppliers and end users.
Hannover. The range of possible applications for networked visualization solutions is virtually unlimited - whether in the servicing and maintenance of machinery, order picking in warehouses, the development and marketing of new products, the operating theatre or the school classroom. The business world is understandably excited about the commercial potential of this technology. In fact, analysts at the US consultancy Digi Capital are forecasting sales worth up to 120 billion US dollars by the year 2020. The bottom line: virtual and augmented reality have progressed way beyond their initial status as niche technologies in the computer gaming industry, and boast the potential - according to major industry players - to become the next big thing.
In the public perception the different technologies involved are frequently confused. In actual fact, there are very clear differences. For immersion into virtual reality, a so-called head-mounted display is used to register movements. The user is thus largely or totally shut off from his immediate surroundings. Augmented reality applications, on the other hand, are designed to enrich the real-world environment with digital objects or content. Data glasses are not strictly necessary for this: an AR app on a smartphone is adequate for simpler applications. Some exhibitors were already highlighting this mega-trend at this year’s CeBIT. But the greatest potential according to industry experts lies in so-called "mixed reality" solutions, where physical and digital objects not only co-exist, but also interact. One example is the HoloLens from Microsoft, already launched in the USA and Canada, and soon to be marketed in Germany and other European countries.
The age of Industrie 4.0 and the Internet of Things presents enormous opportunities for VR and AR solutions. At the same time, buyers and decision-makers face significant challenges. Which applications are a good fit for the product or marketing portfolio of their own business, what do they cost, and what kind of changeover scenarios are likely to work best? CeBIT 2017 will provide answers to these and all the other questions that this new mega-trend - virtual visualization - inevitably raises.
Featured for the first time at CeBIT from 20 to 24 March 2017 will be a dedicated ecosystem for developers, professional VR and AR users, and manufacturers of hardware and software. The main focus of the new CeBIT display area "Virtual & Augmented Reality" will be on the presentation of new, business-specific applications.
Located next to the display section "Drones & Unmanned Systems" in Hall 17, the new presentation enables visitors to discover the potential of these cutting-edge technologies for themselves, and to engage directly with the community of VR and AR developers, innovators and users. As well as an exhibition section, the new community hub offers live showcases, a dedicated conference, lounges and meet-up areas.
The new display area "Virtual & Augmented Reality" has the support of the Virtual Dimension Center (VDC), the EDFVR (first German association for virtual reality), and the software and consultancy company SALT AND PEPPER.
"Virtual and augmented reality is not some short-term trend in the gaming industry, but something that offers huge potential for the entire business world. We are delighted to be establishing a meeting-place, together with our partners, that brings together creative VR and AR experts with the international business community, and gives birth to new, disruptive business models", says Oliver Frese, Board member of Deutsche Messe AG and responsible for CeBIT.
"As a partner of Deutsche Messe, our mission is to ensure that business users are better informed about virtual reality (VR). Now that VR is really starting to take off, it is particularly important to foster close communication between all the players involved. We want to get corporate buyers and IT officers talking to manufacturers of hardware and software, we want to highlight the practical applications, and show what the future potential might be", says Dr. Christoph Runde, Managing Director of the Virtual Dimension Center (VDC).
"VR & AR technologies are revolutionizing whole sectors of industry, and are becoming increasingly important for complex projects, such as the planning of a production run. This technology can also be an effective tool for training personnel who are constantly having to adapt to changing working conditions. As a partner for CeBIT we want to work together with Deutsche Messe to get the premier VR/AR event for serious content in Europe off the ground, and we look forward to demonstrating the added value of this exciting technology live to as many people as possible" says Timo Seggelmann, CEO of SALT AND PEPPER Software GmbH & Co. KG and founder of Virtual Spice.