How can a company receive $1,9 billion in funding, be valuated $6bn and not even have launched a commercial product? There must be some magic here. Precisely! Adi Robertson is right to ask “why do people keep giving Magic Leap money?”

One of the obvious reasons is that investors believe Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) will become disruptive technologies. At Forrester, we agree extended reality will change the game even though it may take longer than many expect.

Earlier this year, we made the call that VR is not yet ready for B2C marketers.  However, there will be a lot more opportunities in the B2B and B2B2C environments. Also, AR will scale much faster than VR. Indeed, over the past few months, major digital powerhouses have announced drastic changes to their AR initiatives (e.g., Apple’s ARKit, Google’s ARCore,…), making software available on their platforms to let brands build new experiences and to reach wider audiences with such experiences.

I’ve been analyzing AR and VR for several years, and I’m excited to deliver a speech at Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum London: Breakaway Customer Experience, November 14/15. I will share our perspective on why AR will drive more opportunities than VR in the short term and highlight how pioneering brands have been using extended reality effectively.

In particular, I’ll explain the key findings of my latest research on how AR will grow in several phases:

  • Mobile AR will facilitate offline online experiences in the next 3 years.
  • New devices (think AR smart glasses and head-mounted displays) will slowly create handsfree AR experiences around 2020.
  • Standalone and integrated AR experiences will accelerate in the next 5 to 10 years. Lines between AR and VR will get increasingly blurry if a single head-worn device enables you to seamlessly switch between an opaque screen for an immersive VR experience recreating a virtual world, to a transparent one for AR applications enhancing the world around you.
  • AR will start emerging as a third state in the next 10 years. Is there anything like a third world between offline and online where people could share experiences? Will people really “stand around looking at blank walls” as described by Mark Zuckerberg? We believe the answer is partly yes but this future will arrive in a decade from now and only when an AR Cloud emerges. As theorized by Ori Inbar, an AR Cloud – a shared memory of the physical world – will power the entire world to become a shared spatial screen enabling multi user engagement and collaboration.   With such a soft 3D-copy of the world, information will be reorganized at its origin – in the now and in-situ, enabling AR experiences to persist in the real word across space, time, and devices.

Our agenda for this event is quite packed with 30 sessions featuring Forrester analysts as well as leaders from Sainsbury’s, DBS Bank, AccorHotels, Stanford University, PKO Bank, DataStax, and more. You can access the full agenda here.

Join us at CX Europe on November 14 and 15 to hear from our speakers, to participate in lively conversations, and to network — your registration cost will be reduced by £200 if you use the code CXE17BLOG. See you in London!