Market Insight

CES 2016: Welcome the dawn of immersive media

January 19, 2016

Tom Hackenberg Tom Hackenberg Principal Analyst, Embedded Processors

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It is often the case that Hollywood and Science Fiction Literature set the stage for fantasizing about the future of technology. Many in innovative technology fields spend years or even decades trying to turn a fantasy vision into reality. In television, technological ideas such as the holodeck in Star Trek, or the computer generated worlds in movies such as Brainstorm, The Lawnmower Man, Tron and The Matrix are classic examples of movies inspiring technologies. Today, one class of fantasy-to-real-world emerging technology innovations includes Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and similar developments that can be collectively called “Immersive Media”. With this technology, the user’s environment is transformed through digital sensory enhancements creating artificial sensory experiences. CES 2016 highlighted that 2016 will be the dawn of the commercialization of Immersive Media.

Although we have seen technology tinkering for decades in virtual reality, the technology has been expensive, cumbersome, and some cases just plain nauseating. Four things at CES demonstrated that 2016 will be the dawn of Immersive Media for the masses.

  1. Thanks to innovations in graphics such as NVIDIA’s Kepler, AMD’s Radeon, ARM’s Mali, Vivante’s Vega and Imagination’s PowerVR graphics solutions, 3D images can virtually come to life with the low latency and vivid detail that can overcome some of the nauseating attempts at past immersive technologies.
  2. Immersive gaming platforms vendors have announced releases scheduled for 2016 including Oculus’ Rift, Sony’s PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, and a host of emerging players. 
  3. Possibly overlooked, was the rapid growth of 360 degree cameras from companies like Vuze, Giroptic, 360Fly, Ricoh, Nikon, with the promise of more to come in 2016. With the use of 360 degree cameras, the ability to create real life settings for use in augmented reality or virtual reality will enable rapid content development and new use cases. The popularity of drones at CES further increases the possibility that 360 degree views will be captured for use in 360 degree settings for a host of new content creation.
  4. The final sign that immersive media will come on strong in 2016, was the number of vendors at CES using immersive technology to demonstrate products from cars to kitchens, enabling the customer to enjoy a personalized experience with the product.

Any of these signs could be dismissed as tinkering technology in fantasy land, but combined, they add up to a likely disruptive immersive experience beginning in 2016. 

Read additional CES 2016 highlights and insights from the IHS analyst team, Spotlights and Searchlights at CES 2016

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