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Virtual and Augmented Reality Markets are Projected to Grow

NEW YORK, August 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --

According to data provided by the International Data Corporation (IDC), sales of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) headsets are expected to grow at a fast pace with a 5-year CAGR of 57.7% from under 10 million units in 2016 to almost 100 million units in 2021. IDC indicates in the research report, "Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker," that in terms of dedicated devices, AR continues to be in the background of VR. AR is more difficult to achieve from a technological standpoint. IDC projects that VR headsets will continue to lead in terms of volume, while AR will have a much bigger impact overall on the industry. AR headsets offer a major opportunity in the commercial segment, around vertical markets such as healthcare, manufacturing, field service work, design and more. Vuzix Corporation (NASDAQ: VUZI), Adobe Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ: ADBE), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB), Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD)

"It is very clear to us that augmented reality is the larger of the two plays here when looking at AR and VR combined," said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers. "We believe that many industrial jobs will fundamentally change because of AR in the next 5-years, and these are much more opportunistic markets for dedicated AR headsets than the consumer market. We expect commercial shipments to account for just over 80% of all AR headsets shipped in the next 5 years."

Vuzix Corporation (NASDAQ: VUZI) announced yesterday that, "Cyber Timez, a Vuzix VIP partner has received a purchase authorization in partnership with the Wounded Warrior Program to deliver Cyber Eyez, a smart glasses based visual aid software to assist American veterans with low vision and blindness, wounded warriors and veterans.  The Wounded Warrior Program, an approved Ability One vendor, is an organization with the mission to assist our nation's wounded warriors, both men and women who have sustained permanent injury as a result of their tour in combat in their recovery efforts, which often includes employment assistance. 

Cyber Eyez leverages advanced AI engines to enable users with low vision and blindness to be more independent in a sighted world. Users can experience their world and get things done efficiently and independently. By using a high definition camera and an optical character recognition engine, Cyber Eyez provides highly accurate text recognition and provides the ability for virtually any text or signage read to the end-user in real time with no internet connection while still maintaining privacy.  Cyber Eyez on the Vuzix M300 Smart Glasses enables many American veterans with low vision and blindness to magnify anything in their environment up to 15 times, read any text in over 100 languages, identify over 16 billion objects, recognize over a thousand colors, scan barcodes to identify products and even detect moods on faces."

"This is a tremendous opportunity for Vuzix to leverage our smart glasses and augmented reality technology to help American veterans, including our nation's veterans and wounded warriors impacted by low vision and blindness improve their overall quality of life," said Paul Travers, President and Chief Executive Officer at Vuzix.

Adobe Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ: ADBE) earlier in June announced that it has acquired all SkyBox technology from Mettle, a global developer of 360-degree and virtual reality software. The acquisition comes at a time when increasing numbers of creators, global brands, media and entertainment companies are investing in 360/VR and are looking for innovative solutions in this immersive medium. "We believe making virtual-reality content should be as easy as possible for creators. The acquisition of Mettle SkyBox technology allows us to deliver a more highly integrated VR editing and effects experience to the film and video community," said Steven Warner, vice president of digital video and audio at Adobe. "Editing in 360/VR requires specialized technology, and as such, this is a critical area of investment for Adobe, and we're thrilled Chris Bobotis has joined us to help lead the charge forward."

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.  Microsoft HoloLens transforms how you work with 3D data by pioneering advances in 3D design, productivity, and collaboration.  The HoloLens is an augmented reality headset.  On July 10th, Microsoft announced the expansion of its Mixed Reality Partner Program.  In an official Microsoft blog, Jeff Hansen said, "we are excited to announce that due to growing demand from partners and customers, we have created the Mixed Reality Partner Program, which expands the agency readiness program to welcome systems integrators and digital agencies around the world. All existing HoloLens Agency Readiness Partners will be grandfathered into the Mixed Reality Partner Program."

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) announced on March 8th, that they're making 360 photos and videos even more immersive and easier to discover with the launch of the Facebook 360 app for Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus. The app introduces an innovative way to explore Facebook 360 photos and videos.  With over 25 million 360 photos and over 1 million 360 videos posted on Facebook to date, there's plenty of great content to discover in Facebook 360. The app is an all in one shop for catching up on what you may have missed from your friends and others you follow, diving into the 360 photos and videos you've saved.

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) revealed in April that it has acquired intellectual property (IP) and key engineering talent from Nitero, a pioneer in millimeter wave solutions capable of enabling future generations of wireless Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) headsets. The acquisition provides AMD with a broader portfolio of IP capable of enabling VR headsets and solution providers with key technology required to create more immersive computing experiences. "Unwieldly headset cables remain a significant barrier to drive widespread adoption of VR," said Mark Papermaster, chief technology officer and senior vice president of AMD. "Our newly acquired wireless VR technology is focused on solving this challenge, and is another example of AMD making long-term technology investments to develop high-performance computing and graphics technologies that can create more immersive computing experiences."

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