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Can AR/VR Make Real Money for SPs?

Alan Breznick

If reality truly bites these days, then this seems an ideal time to start coming up with alternative versions of it.

So, it shouldn't be all that surprising that investors are pouring money into virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies right now. In the first three months of this year alone, AR and VR startups raised more than $750 million in fresh cash from venture capital firms, corporate funds and other sources, according to the latest figures from Digi-Capital. And over the past 12 months, VR and AR startups have raised a whopping $3.6 billion. Not too shabby, eh? (See CTA Bullish on AR/VR, but Challenges Remain and Time to Invest in Virtual Reality?)

But, while the Immersive Media Experience (IME) market is showing plenty of potential, one big looming question is whether the technology offers realistic new revenue opportunities for service providers. And, if so, where in the value chain are providers best positioned to be? Plus, how can operators efficiently develop and manage the extensive resources needed to support such high-bandwidth services?

At Light Reading's Big Communications Event (BCE) in Austin next month, we will be exploring these issues and more in a special session, entitled "VR, AR, MR: Identifying the Operator Opportunity." Joining me on the panel will be Streaming Video Alliance Executive Director Jason Thibeault and Arianne Hinds, principal architect of video and standards strategy for CableLabs, as well as other top AR/VR experts.

How can operators develop solutions for the growth of video, AR and VR? Boost your understanding of video and immersive experience trends -- join us in Austin at the fifth-annual Big Communications Event May 14-16. The event is free for communications service providers!

Here's the panel description:

    VR, AR, MR: Identifying the Operator Opportunity
    Augmented reality on mobile devices is projected to outpace AR/VR headsets this year and rack up nearly twice the installed base of the entire AR/VR headset market by 2021. The Immersive Media Experience (IME) market -- virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality -- will grow exponentially by 2021. But does IME offer realistic new revenue opportunities for operators, and if so, where in the value chain are they best positioned? VR and 360-degree video will also substantially strain network resources and mobile AR could create its own challenges for mobile operators. How can operators efficiently develop and manage resources for the support of such services, and how can they use network assets to better differentiate their own in-house services and gain a competitive advantage? Panelists will explore the best opportunities for operators in this burgeoning market, as well as examine the challenges of delivering quality experiences and the network requirements for supporting IME efficiently. They will also discuss the new opportunities for industrial VR/AR applications and the hurdles of developing common tech standards for IME formats.

It promises to be a mind-altering experience. So please join us Tuesday, May 15 for the Big Communications Event at the Austin Convention Center for this and other sessions. We'll do our best to keep it all real for you.

Hope to see y'all down in Austin.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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