I won’t be surprised if, within a week of posting this article, the AR Intelligence portal is hacked and renamed the AR Heretic. This is because there is an unwritten rule in business that you don’t spook the horse that is pulling the cart of gold. The wheels are rickety and the axels are bent, but everybody is doing their almighty best to keep the cart rolling at any cost.
Back in October of 2016, when I first started AR Intelligence, I reviewed the VR / AR landscape and was surprised to find that a technology which had so much promise also had so few trade shows, conferences and symposiums. As well, when I looked at the events, I saw that attendance, both in terms of vendors and visitors, was meager in comparison to other industries I had worked in.
As an example, this year I attended the Wearable Technology Show in London and I was struck by how very small the show was. It was only a portion of a single hall. Not only was the show as a whole small, the portion devoted to VR / AR was underwhelming. Half of the talks were nothing more than mind numbing marketing pitches. A handful of VR / AR vendors were exhibiting and most of them were only able to show prototypes, with the promise that they would start shipping production units “very soon”. I even spoke with an exhibitor who admitted that he had no business concept, and he had one of the largest booths! In short, little legitimate substance was to be found. Things get worse when you try to plug VR / AR into a larger technology show, such as CeBIT, where my conversations with attendees paint a very dismal picture.
What I find odd is, although there are hardly enough eyeballs to go around, there has been a literal explosion in VR / AR events. At current count, I am finding 15 VR / AR events in the coming twelve months. Of these, six are Wearable Technology shows in Europe and USA. This, when the London show this year was so small and weak? AWE is claiming 200+ exhibitors and 200+ speakers – how many exhibitors are going to have shipping products in 2017 and how many speakers will be saying something you haven’t heard a dozen times over already? The numbers simply don’t line up with the current market reality.
I have been attending trade shows for 30 years and fully understand that it takes time for an industry to develop, but the hype surrounding VR / AR has grown way out of proportion to the current market opportunity.
While 2017 may be the breakout year of VR / AR technology, it may also be the year that numerous event organizers lose their shirt. Even with the tremendous growth that the market is currently experiencing, there is a limit to how much hot air a balloon can take before it bursts. Folks – cancel half the events! The pool is too small this year.
Below is a table of events that I am finding today. Did I miss any? I would also love to hear back from attendees on their impressions of the various events.
|Event Name||Country||City||Start Date|
|VRLA Expo||USA||CA||April 14, 2017|
|The International Investment Forum in Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality||Switzerland||Zürich||April 20, 2017|
|Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit||USA||CA||May 10, 2017|
|Wearable Europe 2017||Germany||Berlin||May 10, 2017|
|4th International ARVR Innovate||Ireland||Dublin||May 11, 2017|
|VR World||UK||London||May 16, 2017|
|Augmented World Expo||USA||CA||May 31, 2017|
|Web3D 2017||Australia||Brisbane||June 05, 2017|
|VR & AR World||UK||London||June 13, 2017|
|WAVE Congress||UK||Coventry||June 22, 2017|
|Wearable Technology Show||USA||CA||October 03, 2017|
|ISMAR – The IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality||France||Paris||October 09, 2017|
|Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit||USA||Boston||October 17, 2017|
|Wearable Berlin||Germany||Berlin||October 20, 2017|
|Enterprise Wearable Technology Show||UK||London||March 13, 2018|