The global augmented reality market is expected to be worth $300 billion by 2025, as 5G is injecting new vitality into the cutting-edge technology and promoting its use in sectors like education, social networking and gaming, according to a white paper published by Huawei Technologies Co.
The tech giant's AR Insight and Application Practice White Paper has called for a joint push across the entire industry to widen the application of AR in more sectors and build a vibrant ecosystem of 5G plus AR.
Bob Cai, chief marketing officer of Huawei's carrier business group, said AR can truly enable the convergence of the physical and digital worlds, and it will see massive adoption in five prioritized industries: education, social networking, shopping, travel and navigation, as well as gaming.
Cai said the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and prompted more enterprises to embrace AR technologies. Huawei is making use of AR to demonstrate its leading products and solutions online, to make communication far more efficient during and after the pandemic. Huawei is also using AR to achieve the quick delivery of 5G base stations, greatly boosting delivery efficiency, the senior executive said.
According to the white paper, at present, due to the high price of professional AR headsets, it is difficult to popularize them in the consumer market, but they have already played their part in the medical, manufacturing and logistics industries, as professional AR equipment can free hands and create value in many work scenarios.
With technological advancements, the white paper forecast that AR headsets will become more popular in the consumer market. By 2026, products under $500 will dominate the sector and see explosive growth. At the same time, consumer AR headset shipments are forecast to exceed 53 million units.
He Chengjian, director of the Shenzhen Communication Management Bureau, said information communication technology services represented by AR can potentially be adopted across a wide range of industries, including industrial production, e-commerce, real estate, home decor, culture, sports, tourism, healthcare, and education.
"AR applications have become a key engine for digital transformation and will profoundly change production methods and how we live," He said.
The comments come as wider use of 5G technology is expected to open up new possibilities for virtual reality and AR technologies, and the industry is now at the tipping point of growth.
Tuong Nguyen, senior principal analyst at research firm Gartner, said earlier that 5G will become a huge enabler of the VR and AR industries. It will open up many possibilities by providing high bandwidth, low lag times and massively collaborative on-demand contextualized experiences.
High-quality VR will become possible in places where 5G is available because the technology will enhance the sense of "presence", the feeling that consumers are really "there" inside the experience. In addition, 5G will cut the cord connecting many VR headsets to PCs, with the cloud taking over the heavy lifting, Nguyen said.