Monday, 6th December 2021
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AR/VR competition heats up

ABI Research’s latest market tracker report pinpoints more than 80 new companies in the AR and VR space all bidding on an immersive future.

In the quest to offer new immersive realities to the enterprise and consumer markets, more companies are joining the pursuit and many established companies are expanding their collaborations with hardware and software providers, enriching their portfolios by supporting more verticals, and/or covering both AR/MR and VR solutions to meet enterprise and consumer demand. Global tech market advisory firm, ABI Research, has tracked over 750 companies that operate or support these technologies, highlighting both new players and companies that have ceased operations. Trends surrounding enterprise digitization continue to push the market forward, while consumer opportunities are beginning to slot into a realistic market rollout and size.

“AR and VR companies enrich their product portfolio by supporting more verticals and by covering both AR/VR solutions to meet customers’ expectations and assist businesses efficiently move in the digital age,” says Eleftheria Kouri, Research Analyst at ABI Research. “Enterprise oriented use cases remain the focus of AR and VR, with AR continuing growth in remote expertise and training while VR moves from a consumer entertainment focus to more corporate VR training and simulation opportunities. Consumer companies and use cases still show promise, with retail and e-commerce apps still flourishing, but not at the rate that other enterprise pathways offer today.

AR and VR companies tend to expand their partnerships with more hardware and software providers to increase the value of their services. Oculus and HTC remain the main leading players in VR, while HoloLens, Vuzix, and Realwear are primary smart glass providers in AR. Some consumer opportunity is beginning thanks to hardware players like North and nReal. Apple’s official role in the space is still to be determined. Other notable names have been part of M&A in the past year; PTC acquired TWNKLS, Apple acquired Akonia Holographics, and UltraHaptics acquired Leap motion. A handful of small startups were also acquired, hinting at a maturing market with increasingly capable operators.

“Platform providers are expanding portfolios to be more all-inclusive, supporting more devices and more use cases where appropriate,” says Kouri. “Enlarging the total addressable audience is critical to stay competitive in a market increasing in scale and competition. Content development tools are expanding in kind, with democratized opportunities in ARKit and ARCore, as well as more established development tools like Unity seeing broader AR/VR integration, providing more flexibility and new opportunities to developers. These factors combine for an end-to-end strengthening of AR/VR offerings across consumer and enterprise,” Kouri concludes.

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