AR, VR, and Mobile Device Shipments with Embedded Vision to Exceed 460 Million by 2021

07 Mar 2017

ABI Research anticipates strong growth in the machine/embedded vision market for mobile, AR, and VR devices with shipments forecast to grow from just over one million units in 2016 to more than 460 million by 2021. Devices, such as Google Tango-enabled ones, with dedicated machine vision hardware like sensors and coprocessors will be led by mobile devices with a smaller number of VR and AR devices rounding out the forecast. ABI Research does not include devices with software-only embedded vision into this market.

“While the market is still nascent, tethered VR products rely on machine vision by nature and other device categories already include embedded vision in their near-term product road-maps,” says Michael Inouye, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “The mobile space is particularly intriguing, as many devices can already perform several vision applications with software alone—Blippar, for example, won Best Mobile App for Virtual or Augmented Reality at MWC 2017. Readily available software-based vision applications greatly expand the potential user base, but the added robustness and accuracy afforded by dedicated hardware will engender new use cases. This is especially true in enterprise and commercial settings; building off an already extensive foundation, mobile devices with dedicated embedded systems will support an extensive range of use cases and needs.”  

In the mobile space, companies and end users will over time find more applications that leverage vision hardware for security, photography/video, navigation, and more. ABI Research finds indoor positioning to be often cited as a likely candidate. Other industry trends like standalone VR, along with the emergence of mixed and merged reality products, will likewise push embedded vision both in the home and at work. 

“Our market forecast is aggressive and counts on several major mobile device manufacturers releasing models with embedded vision,” concludes Sam Rosen, Managing Director and Vice President at ABI Research. “But current sentiments point to 2019 to 2020 as a key inflection period where the applications enabled by embedded vision will increasingly become integral elements of our day-to-day activities. There is also a confluence between some device categories, such as mobile and mobile-reliant VR, that further support these trends, but ultimately the applications will decide how pervasive embedded vision truly becomes—as of today, we’re optimistic.”

These findings are from ABI Research’s Machine Vision in Augmented and Virtual Reality Markets report.

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