Virtual vs Augmented Reality


This post was originally sent to our newsletter subscribers in April 2019. To be the first to receive exclusive trend forecasts from Glen Nelson Center, subscribe here.

Thanks to mega-hit movies like Ready Player OneThe Matrix, and Avatar, virtual reality (VR) dominates popular culture. In these movies, humans leave their real bodies behind and travel into entirely new worlds through technology. It makes for great science fiction - and VR is closer to reaching widespread adoption than ever - but Glen Nelson Center is betting on augmented reality (AR) to reach the large and diverse audiences we are committed to serve.

Instead of full immersion, AR superimposes digital elements on top of the real world. The ability to look through your smartphone camera and see a Pikachu in your front yard (aka Pokemon Go) is a great example of augmented reality. The fact that AR applications can be used on smartphones, instead of unwieldy headsets, is one of the key reasons that the market for AR content is growing faster than that for VR. With AR enabled on more than 500 million devices today, the global AR market is expected to reach approximately $134 billion by 2021. That’s a compound annual growth rate of 85.2 percent! In contrast, global VR revenues in 2021 are only expected to top $75 billion.  

At Glen Nelson Center, we are particularly excited to explore an underestimated segment of the AR market -- audio. When you listen to music on the radio while cruising down the freeway, the band (or orchestra) is not in the car with you. That audio content has been layered on top of your reality thanks to technology, an early example of augmented reality. Add location data to your audio content and bam! you have the potential to create truly transformational content that is highly relevant to global audiences.

This is why we are the lead investor in Voy, a new company exploring the frontier of audio augmented reality. Click here to read more about how Voy is creating an audio tour for the entire world.