Welcome back to AWE Talks, our series that revisits the most engaging content from AWE’s catalog of conference sessions, meetups and virtual interactions.
This week, we return for Part II coverage of the recent dialogue between XR thought leaders Tom Emrich and Ori Inbar. They reunited last week to break down XR's momentum and moving parts as we enter 2024.
See the summarized takeaways below, representing the second half of the trends list they tackled... and be sure to check out Part I here.
Ori Inbar, AWE
Tom Emrich, Niantic
– Spatial computing continues to see both promise and peril as we enter 2024.
– What defines the industry now? Inbar and Emrich weigh in on 10 key trends
– Continuing with trends 6-10 (1-5 covered in Part I
), here's the highlight reel.6. The Race for AI Glasses?
– AR glasses with rich visuals used to be the endgame, but that changes with AI
– Though visuals are still valuable (AVP anyone?), AI is filling an important gap.
– This is exemplified by Ray Ban Meta Smartglasses and their multimodal AI.
– The value here isn't in a visually-robust UX but rather in relevant info and utility.
– Altogether there will be a continuum of devices from audio AR to full-blown AR.
– Somewhere in between are private large-screen experiences like Xreal Air.
– The latter could be promising due to a widely-appealing entertainment use case.
7. The Industrial Metaverse?
– While all the above continues to evolve, we can't forget about enterprise XR.
– This is where many of the consumer markets' adoption barriers are mitigated.
– There's also a clearer ROI story for various flavors of enterprise productivity.
– For these reasons, much of the XR action (read: revenue) is in the enterprise.
– According to Inbar, enterprise XR funding pitches still use the M-word.
– The metaverse still makes sense in the enterprise because it's more realistic.
– Building a virtual simulation of your factory floor is attainable and valuable.8. The Year of Big Tech in XR?
– Another key question: will the deep pockets of big tech continue to drive XR?
– Beyond Apple (covered in Part !), this includes several influential players.
– Microsoft is building real value in enterprise XR including Azure & Mesh.
– Meta is pushing boundaries across the device continuum noted above.
– Google has retracted from hardware but is a software powerhouse (e.g., Lens).
– Samsung will fill the hardware gap left by Google in partnering on a device.
– And Qualcomm, which is everywhere in XR, will be the third leg of that stool.
– Altogether Apple will be Apple in its vertical integration of a full spatial stack.
– Meta will do the same as it joins Apple's full-stack approach in the spatial era.
– Everyone else will partner to build spatial stacks: the PCs of the spatial world. 9. What Could Go Wrong?
– There's so much activity in all the moving parts above... what could go wrong?
– There are well-founded concerns over inequity, social isolation, and health.
– Safety, privacy, and security have to be baked into the products, says Inbar.
– They also have to be baked into the business models to truly have an impact.
– Emrich: Spatial computing could also go wrong if we expect too much of it.
– Manage expectations about what the technology can and can't do.
– 2024 will be great but AVP (or anything else) won't be revolutionary overnight.
– Keep in mind this is a long game, with worthwhile milestones along the way.10. The Year of XR Investments?
– What do investors' demand signals and objectives currently look like?
– The M-word may have disappeared from most pitches but what has replaced it?
– As always, fundamentals win, not buzzwords: Good ideas, teams, and execution.
– Inbar: Show traction, show value, show a path to revenue.
– Emrich: find real problems that need to be solved and uniquely solve them.
– Focus is also key: don't try to do too many things at once and boil the ocean.
– Meanwhile, all the trends above will create opportunity gaps in the spatial stack.For more color from Emrich & Inbar see the full video below, or skip right to the second half using this anchor link.