From reality to virtualization, it is a long process of commercialization. Who can go to the end? I am afraid it is not necessarily the most sturdy sprinter on the market today, but a more endurance runner.
Wen Hao understands
Source 丨 understand notes (ID: dongdong_note)
After Google released Project glass (Expanding Reality Glasses) in 2012, VR, AR, and MR gradually entered the field of vision. The Internet giants and startup companies are all optimistic about this field, and the market has experienced rapid development from 2014 to 2016. The industry usually refers to 2016 as the first year of VR.
However, after the first year, the entire VR industry began to recover. From 2016 to 2017, the application market did not appear to be rapidly popularized. At the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, which opened on January 9th this year, there were only 46 games and VR exhibitors in attendance, a decrease of 36% compared with 72 in 2017.
Is VR not working? Why is the market experiencing such a cold wave?
Recently, I understood the notes and interviewed Microsoft vice president, marketing and consumer division, equipment and mixed reality marketing director Elizabeth · Hamlen, her development and prospects for VR, MR, AR, and the past year The reasons for the slow development of VR and the role played by Microsoft in the virtual reality process give its own unique insights.
MR achieves four major advancements and will have breakthrough development
"MR is definitely a trend. It will have a significant breakthrough." The entire industry, the market, and consumers are very excited about this because MR's technology does give people unlimited possibilities and can accomplish many things that we couldn't do before. "Elizabeth · Hamlen believes that the outbreak of MR will not be too far away, and this is exactly why Microsoft has fully promoted the MR ecology."
The temporary resurgence of VR does not mean the disappearance or decline of the industry, but only a return to rationality after being initially over-focused and touted. In her view, any revolutionary technology development requires a long process, VR is the same, and it is impossible to achieve leapfrog development.
According to reports from GfK China, despite the slowdown in the growth of the VR retail market in 2017, the innovative market is regaining the favor of investors. In 2017, the investment in the global VR retail market exceeded 2.5 billion U.S. dollars, of which the most concern for investors was the R&D of AR/VR technology and smart glasses. Judging from the current situation, investors are still optimistic about this industry, which will be a new platform for the future, following PCs and mobile phones, so capital will continue to pay attention after a short review.
HoloLens, launched by Microsoft in early 2015, is still impressive. This is a very advanced AR product. At that time, the industry caused a sensation as much as Google Glass three years ago. The HoloLens launched at this time is more similar to the conceptual product. The technology is advanced but the cost is high. Although it attracts the attention of many developers, the popularity is somewhat slow.
At the end of last year, Microsoft introduced the MR head-up with the world's top five PC makers, and the price was only a fraction of that of HoloLens. Perhaps this is the generation of products that are most likely to trigger the market.
Elizabeth · Hamlen analysis, the past VR market has not been flying, and now the capital and consumer markets are very excited about the emergence of MR, there are roughly four reasons:
First, it used to be a platform to use VR. This approach is too tedious.The MR is an overall platform from the inside out. There is no need to set anything in the room and plug it into the computer to use it.
Second, in the past, a major pain point of VR devices was easily caused by dizziness.Almost all the vendors did not pass this hurdle, but the severity of the halo was different. The new generation of MR completely solved this problem, and the testers did not experience any dizziness.
The third is the price factor.At present, the prices of big brands of VR products on the market are very high and not conducive to popularization. The hardware technology of MR has matured, and the finished product can be quickly reduced to the price segment that ordinary consumers can accept in the future.
Fourth, the ecology of VR has been developing slowly, with few developers and few applications.Windows Mixed Reality will bring a richer experience, and more and more Windows MR-compliant applications will be available for download directly from the Microsoft App Store.
So, will launching a new MR device after AR mean that Microsoft will abandon AR? Will you be involved in VR in the future? In this regard, Elizabeth · Hamlen stressed that VR, AR, MR development is a long journey, the end user will see a single category, namely MR. “The appearance of this device should be like a pair of glasses, very light, easy to carry, but also have a good immersive experience. ”
From this perspective, VR and AR are just two concepts that existed at the same time in the early stages of technology development. However, as technology advances, the ultimate AR will merge with VR. "We don't think we need to worry too much about conceptual differences. For Microsoft, MR covers AR and VR. "Visible, Microsoft's full launch of MR this time, there is no AR, MR, VR's "Music" distinction, but toward the future of the final form, virtual and reality combination of lightweight glasses began to move forward.
MR will be the next generation platform, Microsoft's role is ecological promoters
In 2017, Microsoft released the Windows Mixed Reality (Windows Mixed Reality) platform, which has extensive cooperation with the world's five largest PC vendors. The MR head-mounted devices and motion controllers from Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Dell and Acer have been on the market. These head-mounted and motion controllers are sold for as low as $399 and are compatible with the new generation of PCs. In the past few months, with the successive listing of major manufacturers' MR equipment, an ecosystem has been fully launched.
From AR to MR, Microsoft has steadily walked for three years without too much market hype, and it is not as aggressive as HTC is in VR. In understanding the notes, there are two reasons why Microsoft did not advance:
First, Microsoft considers future commercialization of MR as a long-term strategy and one of its most important strategies.In Microsoft's CEO Satya & middot; Nadella's new book "Refresh" mentioned: Microsoft's future is the most important of the three core computing platforms, the first is mixed reality, the second is artificial intelligence, and the third is quantum Calculations. This is Microsoft's three directions after the PC Internet and mobile Internet. It can also be seen that mixed reality plays an important role in Microsoft's strategy.
Second, as Elizabeth · Hamlen said, the development of VR, AR, and MR is a long journey.Therefore, there are a lot of technical problems, product problems, and application problems in the middle, and companies need to solve them little by little. Promoting the healthy development of the ecological environment in this field is the long-term approach, not through short-term speculation. "One step to the sky."
So, for MR, Microsoft has been relatively stable and involved as an eco-advancer. In fact, in the face of some future new technologies and new products, the entire industry is still unsettled because "lucky" and uncertain, and Microsoft is more willing to first "hedge" a way out.
For example, in 2012, the global PC industry encountered a bottleneck in innovation, and many hardware manufacturers could not find a future direction. At that time, Microsoft introduced an innovative Surface that led the industry to switch to a two-in-one product type. “In the PC field, we have created our own products and set a good example for the entire industry. Then the OEM partners have also learned and deployed this product very well. The parties therefore have their own brands of innovative hardware. " Elizabeth · Hamlen said.
Another example is HoloLens' innovation. The core competence of Microsoft lies in the platform, not the hardware itself. However, in the early days of the MR industry, hardware manufacturers could not find the direction of innovation and dared not blindly invest too much money in hardware innovation. And Microsoft, which has financial strength and technical strength, chooses to come to the industry and try wrong.
In order to make a model for hardware manufacturers, Microsoft developed HoloLens itself and then promoted good technology to the entire ecosystem. Elizabeth · Hamlen said that as leaders to do is: "make sure that there is always enough innovation to promote the entire industry to move forward. For example, the main OEM partners of head-display equipment are all studying the key inside-out tracking technology in HoloLens, so as to promote the improvement of the entire ecosystem. After joining their own innovation capabilities, they will be able to produce their own brand of rich hardware products, and consumers in the end market will therefore have more choices. ”
With the foundations of how HoloLens has driven developers in the past few years to explore, today's work on MR's ecology is also a lot easier for Microsoft. Microsoft not only collaborated with the world's most mainstream PC makers to develop mature, low-cost MR products, but also worked hard with content providers to enable more applications to run on MR.
HoloLens has "made" 200 operations, and the next challenge is to scale
The development process of VR in China is somewhat similar to the rhythm of the world, and it all entered a trough in 2017. According to the latest report from GfK China, the overall online market for VR in China has been constantly adjusted in 2017. Consumers’ buying tendencies have begun to shift towards quality experiences. Manufacturers have also adjusted new product strategies accordingly. The product structure in the market Great changes have taken place.
From its retail research data, it can be seen that in 2017, the annual retail sales of China's VR overall online market reached 830 million yuan, an increase of 11% year-on-year. In 2018, the adjustment of the market is basically completed, and it will re-enter the growth period. The retail sales will increase to 1.17 billion, an increase of 41% year-on-year. GfK’s optimistic expectations for the Chinese market are basically in line with Microsoft’s judgment.
When HoloLens entered the Chinese market in May 2017, the high price of 30,000 yuan limited its popularity, so it was mainly applied in some key industries.
According to Jared Andersen, China's strategic director of Surface and HoloLens products, HoloLens, who had just entered China for less than a year, has been used in the most famous General Hospital of People's Liberation Army (301 Hospital). Through partner solutions, doctors can use HoloLens to perform knee, back or hip surgery. The total number of such surgeries currently performed by HoloLens has exceeded 200.
A more important aspect is that through the application of HoloLens technology, this high level of medical services will be able to be extended to various regions in China. "Regardless of the background of the patient, it is possible to enjoy a very high standard of medical services. The most typical application is remote surgery. Medical resources are scarce in remote areas, and doctors in first-tier cities can use HoloLens to guide remote surgery in real time. ”
"This is not a science fiction novel, nor is it the scene that will happen in the future. This is something that has actually happened." "Jared Andersen told me to understand the notes. Although it seems to the general public that the popularity of the VR industry is not rapid, it has been adopted very quickly in educational, medical, manufacturing, and some government departments, and there have been mature cases." .
For Microsoft, the next biggest challenge is scaling. “The user’s interest has now been generated and the demand has already emerged. We need to make great efforts to expand the ecosystem, and at the same time improve the overall capabilities of the partners in the ecosystem. This work still needs time. ”
Currently in the medical field, Microsoft China already has two partners, but compared to the huge demand in the medical industry, Microsoft also needs large-scale, high-level partners to develop more and better applications.
HoloLens has been successful in several industries since it landed in China. Jared Andersen believes that with the maturity of MR technology, various costs will be greatly reduced. At the same time, Microsoft will also provide more partners with better applications through ecological support. "Overall, the past few years have been the bedding period for this technology and application, and it may soon enter the stage of scale development. ”
Sprinters are fast, but their battery life is weak. With the mentality and thinking of long-distance runners, the MR market will usher in more players to reach the end.