The future of mobile is already anchored in VR

By June 16, 2016
Avenir du mobile dans la réalité virtuelle

The Paris ACM SIGGRAPH evening – the French edition of the US SIGGRAPH conference and exhibition on the latest computer graphics and interactive techniques – with which L'Atelier BNP Paribas partners, took place on 8 June at the L’Atelier premises in Paris. This provided an opportunity to take another look at how mobile devices have changed our lives on a day-to-day basis and also at the changes that may yet be in store for us.

Back in 2008, Mary Meeker, a well-known Venture Capitalist in Silicon Valley, announced that by 2014 people would no longer be accessing the Internet through their desktop computers but via mobile devices. All the signs were there for her. Since 2007, 9% of all mobile device users have had access to 3G, but it was the launch of the iPhone 3G in 2008 which really heralded the new era. Though at the time few people could have imagined that the iPhone 3G would sound the death knell of the Palm Treo and later on even the iconic Blackberry, the iPhone 3G launch has proved to be a visionary move. A study of the market in the United States by global media measurement and analytics company comScore showed that in 2014 out of 5.3 hours per day spent on the Internet, people were using their mobile devices for 2.6 hours a day and spending just 2.4 hours on their desktops.

The present: marked by the app surge

Moreover, buoyed by the Millennial generation, the proportion of mobile in Internet consumption has now reached 60%, with a 50% surge in one year alone. This extraordinary figure really shows to what extent mobile has ‘disrupted’ our lives, and far more quickly than the arrival of desktop computing or even the Internet. But aside from the figures, we should look at the way people use the technology. The first major change had already been observed by Chris Anderson, trend-spotter at emerging technologies magazine Wired. In 2010 he wrote that the web as we then knew it was dead. In his article ‘The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet’, he explained that apps would sweep away the web in the form of the ‘html’ pages with which we had become so familiar.

‘The Dawn of Mobile VR’, keynote speech by John Carmack, Technical Director at Oculus VR

So, is it true or false? The first thing some of us do in the morning is look at our emails, and we tend to do so from an app rather than looking at our messaging inbox on our desktops.  And so the day goes on. The comScore report reveals that 86% of the time spent on mobile devices in the United States is spent on apps. When you add to that a television connected to a dedicated app store and video games consoles working on the same principle, it looks as though app designers are set to have an exciting future. That prediction could be further extended to embrace video, half of which is watched nowadays on mobile, and even the social networks, which are today the main basis for activity on mobile devices in Europe and the USA.

The future: trending towards VR

So what will the ‘next big thing’ be? There seems little doubt that it will be virtual reality (VR). We all know VR on the big screen and also on consoles and PCs using HTC Vive or Oculus Rift headsets. However, video in 360° VR on mobile or equivalent – YouTube, Facebook, Google Cardboard, et al – looks certain to generate more major habit changes on mobile devices, given that the smartphone manufacturers are showing the way, along the lines of Samsung and its Gear VR headset when you buy a Galaxy S7.
Nevertheless, many startups are also trail-blazing in this field, with between 5,000 and 10,000 specialising in virtual reality. So we can predict not only that VR will become mainstream but also that in future it will go a long way to determining the content we consume on our mobile devices.


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