As we look back at 2021, we have to acknowledge that the field of augmented and virtual reality has advanced a lot. Immersive games and apps are now available to an increasingly large number of people, because the technological barriers are now lower than ever. People who own older, average-performing devices can now play VR games and use AR shopping apps. All these are possible thanks to innovative AR and VR companies that helped democratize immersive technology.
The Positive Impact of Increased AR/VR Accessibility
The role of innovative AR and VR companies has never been more important for so many people as during 2020 and 2021. Faced with an unprecedented health crisis, the entire globe had to change its everyday life. Lockdowns and stay-at-home mandates have disrupted people’s lives at all levels: personal and professional.
The accelerated adoption of augmented and virtual reality has allowed millions of people to maintain a semblance of normality through:
- VR education and training;
- AR shopping experiences;
- Virtual museum tours, concerts, and sports games;
- AR and VR games;
- 360-degree movies.
Innovative AR and VR Companies that Transformed Our Lives
Let’s now look at some of the innovators who bridged the physical gap between people and made staying at home less isolating and lonely.
Valve is both a VR hardware manufacturer and content creator. The company created and operates Steam, one of the most active VR content platforms with nearly 20 million active daily users.
We have already included some of the games developed by Valve in our yearly best VR games articles, including the latest release Half-Life: Alyx in the article on the best upcoming VR games in 2020. We also included their high-end Valve Index VR headset in a list of some of the best VR headsets. And these are just two reasons why Valve is one of the most innovative AR and VR companies in 2021.
This VR company is revolutionizing the way people manage pain and anxiety. Away from their therapists and unable to access some of their medications, many people needed help at home in times of uncertainty and increased stress.
One of the most recent use cases of the technology developed by this innovative company is helping people find relief from the emotional trauma of contracting COVID-19. The simple and intuitive interface of their data-backed VR app can be easily used by any patient at home, even if it is their first time using interactive technologies.
Although this company does not focus precisely on the field of immersive technologies, we believe it belongs to our list of the most innovative AR and VR companies. As you may know, Qualcomm is a major producer of chips for smartphones.
However, the company is also hard-working on miniaturizing their chips, allowing them to be equipped on the next generation XR glasses, which aim to be sleeker, lighter, less obstructive, and more comfortable to wear for a longer period of time.
4. Magic Leap
Magic Leap was one of the fasters growing AR/MR startups from the get-go. They entered the market with the first innovative concept of a standalone headset and controllers and continued to improve on their technology.
Right now, Magic Leap has contracts with defense and public sectors, healthcare facilities, and big players in manufacturing.
5. 8th Wall
We end our list of the most innovative AR and VR companies with 8th Wall – the company that broke down the wall between the average user and augmented reality experiences. Their WebAR platform allows users to experience augmented reality in a mobile browser, without having to download an app.
This is a tremendous improvement for users who have older phones and low data plans. They no longer have to worry about storage space, data download, and whether their phone is powerful enough to support an AR experience or a game.