“…within weeks!” That was the news from Bloomberg Technology. Alphabet Google has funded VR content development to promote their new Daydream, “a hybrid store and software service that Google hopes will be the dominant way people engage with virtual reality, much like Android is for smartphones”. Daydream will eventually be part of the new Android 7.0 Nougat release. When and how is anyone’s guess. Watch the 2:34 video with this article. Chris Neiger at The Motley Fool echoed this message as Google being a possible VR winner in 2016 because of Daydream.

Also, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jitendra Waral has recently painted a rosy business forecast for the VR/AR market. Sales may exceed one billion dollars this year, heading toward $21 billion by 2020. Mainstream adoption may take 4-5 year ts, with cost, content, Internet speeds, headset design, graphics power, and console design being the key factors.

Relevance to Immersive Analytics

GearVRwFemaleDon’t expect any impacts within weeks or even this year! Samsung S7 with GearVR is the best low-end VR tool we should expect well into 2017. However, watch for the emergence of VR video, as is promoted by Google with Hulu and YouTube. In contrast with the usual video-game focus, VR video may lead to an unexpected adoption pattern for VR by society. We may yet pry VR from the clenched fingers of video gamers!

Imagine watching the latest StarWars movie as an observer wandering through the action scene, able to immersively view everything around you. Take that, ugly Death Star! Now imagine taking the visual richness of Python mathplotlib or Javascript D3 with some smart animation and ability to apply pixels to any texture or 3D mesh shape. The potential for data-rich virtual worlds as immersive storyboards (albeit passive) is enormous. Take that, ugly dashboard!

The point is that the IA community should consider passive story-boarding via VR video as a first step for introducing immersive data worlds. Principle: Sense and understand before interacting and learning. Post 2017, developments like Daydream and the adoption of VR video may lead the way for IA adoption within professional circles.