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IBC 2018 Analysis: VR Industry Poised for Strong Growth

The 2018 IBC conference and exhibition featured more than 1,700 of the world’s top technology suppliers and over 400 prominent industry speakers. One of the world’s most influential media, entertainment and technology shows, the International Broadcasting Convention leads the debate on the latest trends and developments. This year’s IBC indicated that the virtual reality (VR) industry could be poised for strong growth over the next couple of years.

Headset-less holographic 3D projector set for 2020 release

The most revolutionary product at the 2018 IBC was a prototype holographic projector – the R150MP – designed and built by Light Field Labs. This holographic 3D projector will be able to generate VR experiences without requiring users to wear headsets. Jon Farafin, the company’s CEO and founder, said that the R150MP could help construct holographic walls and may eventually lead to holodeck experiences (when you use holographic projections to enable physical interactions in the virtual world).

Key Points
  • Point cloud compression may soon have an industry standard
  • Headset-less holographic 3D projector set for 2020 release
  • IBC 2019 will take place in RAI, Amsterdam
  • IBC has a capacity of 90.000 visitors interested in audiovisual content, hardware, software & services.

Karafin indicated that this ground-breaking technology could be brought to market as early as 2020. According to the Financial Times, the cost and awkwardness of existing VR headsets is a “major stumbling block” preventing widespread adoption of VR technology. The upcoming release of the R150MP is one sign that the VR industry could grow markedly in the near future.

The 2018 IBC also highlighted the strides made by the point cloud compression industry. According to Marius Preda, chairman of the MPEG for 3D graphics group, the industry is likely to agree upon an industry standard within the next couple of years. Preda said that point cloud compression capture will be ready for download as a fully-fledged application “within two years.”

The global VR market – incl. software, hardware, service & content – is predicted to grow to $74.8 billion by 2022.

The strongest evidence that VR may be positioned for imminent growth came from VR Industry Forum president Rob Koenen. During the IBC VR Masterclass, Koenen predicted that growth in the VR market would be realized as soon as “next year,” citing statistics from Greenlight Insights. According to reports, the global VR market – including software, hardware, service and content – is predicted to grow to $74.8 billion by 2022.

Koenen also pointed towards the falling prices of VR headsets as a prime reason for increased VR adoption over the next few years. HTC’s share price soared after they cut the price of their headsets last year, and Koenen noted that standalone wireless devices offering three degrees or six degrees of freedom (3DoF, 6DoF) are now “a fraction of the price” of wired VR headsets from a few years ago.

The International Broadcasting Convention took place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands between September 12-17, 2018. Next year’s edition is scheduled for the same dates in 2019.