IEEE Survey at CES Reveals: I Can See Clearly Now That Viewers Are Gone

More than half of CES survey respondents see an end in sight for immersive virtual reality headsets by 2030; education sector can benefit most from AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality) technology

15 January 2016 – At CES 2016, IEEE, the world’s largest professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, conducted a survey that asked booth visitors to answer a range of questions regarding the future of AR/VR technology. More than 1,535 participants took the survey. According to the findings, the use of VR headsets might not have the staying power that is predicted with this new, emerging technology. When questioned about the year AR/VR technology will advance to the point where immersive headsets will no longer be required, more than half (52 percent) of respondents believed this will occur in well under two decades, by 2030 (watch the video). On top of the 52 percent, another 21 percent of respondents predicted this to be a reality by 2035, 15 percent by 2040, and 5 percent by 2045.

AR/VR Makes the Grade

When asked which industry would most benefit from the widespread adoption of AR/VR technology, 36 percent of participants indicated that the education sector would see the biggest impact and translate well in areas including virtual classrooms and AR/VR-enabled textbooks. Other notable industries included engineering (24 percent), healthcare (16 percent), and communication (nine percent).

“We are on the cusp of utilizing a technology that will have a profound effect on a variety of industries, such as education, healthcare, and business,” stated IEEE member Todd Richmond (watch the video), director of advanced prototype development at the Institute of Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California, USA. “Immersive capabilities such as AR, VR, and mixed reality provide a whole new medium for communication and experience. Working in academia, I see endless possibilities to how augmented and virtual reality can enhance the learning experience by offering a more interactive element to information for students as well as act as another teaching tool for educators. It’s encouraging to see, based on the results of the survey, that consumers are able to align the value of this technology in other areas besides entertainment.”

What Happens Under the Knife Stays Under the Knife

Although AR/VR has the potential to aid in the medical field, especially when it comes to providing patients with an overview of upcoming surgical procedures, the majority of survey respondents were strongly against getting a “sneak preview” through this advanced technology. Sixty percent of respondents noted an eight to ten on a scale regarding their comfort level with this option (with one being very comfortable and ten being not comfortable at all). Of this group, 34 percent chose ten as their response.

The Entertainment Factor

By using this technology that can provide an experience of being virtually anywhere, IEEE employees asked participants to rank the first place they would go using virtual reality. Thirty percent of respondents chose the moon/Mars/outer space as their primary location. Traveling through time came in next at 19 percent, followed by a sporting event (18 percent), a popular city (16 percent), and extreme remote locations, such as a secluded beach or the top of a mountain (11 percent).

According to the results, the US is favored to be the first country to reach mass adoption of AR/VR, accruing 58 percent of the votes from participants. Japan was the second-most-popular country at 21 percent, followed by China (12 percent). Brazil, India, the UK, and “Other” (if desired country was not listed) were also considerations but only reflected a small percentage of the results.

About the Survey

IEEE hosted a short survey at its booth during CES 2016, which ran from 6 to 9 January, asking participants their thoughts on the future development and application of AR/VR technology. The total number of survey respondents garnered was 1,537. 

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