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Every year, the Swedish media announces the Christmas gift of the year. In 2015, it was a robot vacuum but last year it was a VR headset. Far more interesting, I’m sure you’ll agree. In fact, 2016 was the year that saw technologies like VR and AR come crashing onto the scene with prime spots and the newly published Ericsson ConsumerLab report 10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2017 examines trends like this in more detail.
The report suggests that four out of five users believe VR will be indistinguishable from reality in only three years. Half of the people who answered the annual survey told our researchers that they are interested in gloves or shoes that allow you to interact with virtual objects. Holiday gifts? Check!
Speaking of VR, I recently visited our partners at King’s College in London, preparing for some super cool stuff that we are going to show visitors at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2017. It was there that I spoke to a VR headset designer, who told me that VR on mobile is one of the most social tools we’ll ever use and that he believes that friends will share and trade experiences with a mobile phone connected to a snap-off front panel on VR goggles.
This really blew my mind because, intuitively, I think the opposite — that VR could make us all anti-social.
The easiest application will be in education, he continued, where kids could experience scenes in history instead of simply reading about them.
I tried VR for the first time during this trip. It was truly engrossing and simply beautiful: I did ‘paintings’ and added snowflakes that fell softly around me. Just like Alice, I fell down a rabbit hole and laughed along with a huge Cheshire cat.
What’s more, there was no delay — thanks to the super-fast and dedicated network in the lab. Applications like VR are perfect illustrations of why we need great networks at the foundation of a Networked Society.
After this experience, I developed a new, deeper understanding of the optimism people display for virtual realities and I can finally participate in conversations about this topic.
This brings me back to the 10 Hot Consumer Trends, which have been the topic of our coffee breaks since they emerged. Mixed Reality? Two in five people believe smartphones will learn their habits and do stuff on their behalf? If this means re-scheduling my meeting for me when I’m stuck in traffic, please be my guest! Send in my hotel receipt to the office if I’ve paid with a mobile app.
More than one in three that took part in the ConsumerLab study said they’d like to “edit out disturbing elements” around them in life. I can see where they are coming from. My colleague Stephanie told me she would like to eliminate heights so she could travel on tall escalators, fix things in the house or on the car with projected instructions, and have a digital assistant helping her recognize faces.
Make sure you download the report 10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2017 and have a listen to our Ericsson ConsumerLab Podcasts – The Voice of the Consumer for more detailed insights into consumer trends in the Networked Society.
Dodi Axelson is Head of the News Desk and Editor in Chief at Ericsson. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, she leads a team that promotes Ericsson technology and innovations for employees as well as customers and journalists, in channels ranging from internet to intranet to social media. She has been asking the important questions ever since she started her career in newsradio in Seattle, Washington.
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