While most new technologies experience a slow market entrance, 360-degree video will likely skip that trend, thanks to its ties to virtual reality (VR) and early investment from major technology players including Facebook, Samsung, and YouTube. ABI Research forecasts professional grade cameras and mid-tier, prosumer 360-degree cameras to hit nearly two million shipments by 2021, with consumer 360-degree cameras to top four million by the same year.
“The most prominent force driving 360-degree video content and hardware is VR,” says Eric Abbruzzese, Senior Analyst for ABI Research. “And though VR has been experiencing a period of content starvation due to its novelty, small early install base, and the high cost of premium VR, support from major content platforms will lessen this for 360-degree video.”
360-degree video market activity is abundant across both consumer and enterprise applications. In regards to enterprise, Nokia already signed a multi-year deal with content giant Disney to use its OZO camera, and stated that VR and 360-degree video is a core business component as it restructures around forward-looking technologies and product line expansion. Additionally, wearable camera market leader GoPro, experiencing a slowdown in its core market, has its own professional-grade, 360-degree multi-camera rig and will likely release a consumer-grade, 360-degree offering in the near future.
VR’s role in 360-degree video cannot be understated either. While viewing 360-degree content can be done on a computer or mobile device, the most compelling and natural viewing experience is in VR. And as the desire for content surges, ABI Research forecasts nearly 70 million mobile-based VR products to ship, like Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR, by 2021.
“It is rare to see a culmination of factors as powerful as what’s happening for 360-degree cameras and video,” concludes Abbruzzese. “Decreasing average selling prices for VR hardware and 360-degree cameras, the possibility for 360-degree camera integration with mobile devices, network and bandwidth improvements for 4K and HDR content that are also enhancing 360-degree video streaming, and a slowing wearable camera market all are creating a rich and promising next step for 360-degree video.”
These findings are from ABI Research’s Consumer, Prosumer, and Professional 360-Degree Cameras. This report is part of the company’s Smart Home, Transformative Technology, and Video, OTT, and AR/VR sectors, which include research, data, and analyst insights.
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