Market Reality: Computer Vision Shown the Money

Computer Vision Shown the Money

Every Friday, Next Reality reviews the latest headlines from the financial side of augmented and mixed reality. This Market Reality column covers funding announcements, mergers and acquisitions, market analysis, and the like. This week's column is led by two companies cashing in on visual inputs.

Baidu Acquires Machine Vision Startup

China's internet search leader Baidu, Inc. announced on April 13 that it has acquired xPerception, a visual perception software and hardware developer, for an undisclosed sum.

Co-founded by Dr. Bao Yingze and Dr. Chen Mingyu, former engineers at Magic Leap, xPerception will integrate into Baidu Research. The team will continue developing simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) technology for visual perception, which allows machines to see their own environments. This technology can be applied to Baidu projects for augmented/virtual reality, autonomous driving, and artificial intelligence.

Visual perception for machines looks to be an emerging field for augmented reality, with the Microsoft/DJI-supported ISAACS program at UC-Berkeley developing similar technology.

3D Capture App for Tango Devices Leads to Funding for GeoCV

GeoCV, a 3D capture startup, announced on April 13 that it has attained $1.8 million in seed funding from Runa Capital, Emery Capital, and others.

The New York-based company has developed an affordable solution for capturing 3D environments using their software and Tango-enabled devices for viewing on augmented/virtual reality platforms or web browsers. The software is currently in a closed beta.

Image by Anton Yakubenko/Vimeo

"Real estate is a beachhead market, where agents can include a 3D virtual tour in their listing. Other brick and mortar industries such as construction, interior design, insurance and property management will follow. User-generated content creation tools are the longer-term future when everyone has a 3D camera in their pocket and can easily view in AR and VR," said Anton Yakubenko, GeoCV co-founder and CEO in a press release.

Market Tracker Identifies Companies to Watch in AR & VR

ABI Research has compiled a database of 244 companies operating in augmented and mixed reality technologies representing a global market expected to exceed $95 billion in total market revenue by 2021.

While the list of companies is expected to grow, 45% of the current population focuses on applications, software, and content distribution as opposed to core technology, application development tools, and other services, with 66% working across a combination of these practices.

Further, enterprise solutions dominate the landscape, accounting for 94% of shipments in 2017, and will continue to do so, with an expected share of 89% in 2022. The leading verticals for smartglasses among the enterprise sector are expected to be energy, manufacturing, and logistics, claiming nearly 60% of smart glass shipments in 2021.

"Increasing demand led to a more compelling, albeit complex, market," said Stephanie Lawrence, research analyst at ABI Research in a press release. "There is significantly more opportunity for companies across business models than even six months ago, with a need for devices, content, developer tools, professional services, and more to drive growth."

Can Augmented Reality Disrupt Contact Center Market?

A new report from Frost & Sullivan suggests that the declining contact center systems market is ripe for disruption through innovation, features, and functionality, including advanced technologies like augmented reality, as well as competition and pricing.

The report, titled "Growth Opportunities in the Global Contact Center Systems Market - Forecast to 2020," states that total market revenues are expected to continue in decline over the next three years, though analytics, the only growth category in the market, will continue to grow.

"The contact center systems market is mature and vastly competitive, and companies need to differentiate offerings through seamless integration of applications, new interaction channels, and increased use of rich analytics capabilities," said Nancy Jamison, principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan, in a press release. "Stakeholders must encompass the vast changes in adjunct technologies that will impact customer care, including Big Data, Internet of Things, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), video, and augmented reality."

Augmented reality remote support applications, like those provided by Scope AR, could impact the contact center systems market. Image via Scope AR

Augmented reality applications from the likes of Upskill and Scope AR confirm the potential as disruptive innovations and features for contact center systems. Likewise, with data visualization being a strong suit of augmented reality, the opportunity exists for developers to provide solutions in the growing analytics category.

Augmented Reality Expected to Spur Education Publishing

A new report estimates that the publishing market for primary education instructional materials will approach $8.56 billion by 2019, with augmented reality cited as a catalyst.

Published by Research and Markets, "Publishing for the PreK-12 Market 2016-2017" reviews market trends based on emerging technologies as well as public policy changes. The report includes companies such as Discovery Education, McGraw-Hill Education, Rosetta Stone, Inc., and Scholastic Corp., among others, in its analysis.

"Schools and the instructional materials industry are still trying to figure out the needs of students and educators, how best to meet those needs and what roles the instructional materials industry will play as schools turn increasingly to digital devices as their chief learning tools," the company stated in a press release.

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Cover image via Baidu/xPerception

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