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AWE USA 2024 event has just ended, but it has left a lot of food for thought for all XR, AR, and innovation fans. If you missed the conference, this article can help you grasp some essential points of the AWE.

AWE, or Augmented World Expo, is one of the most significant annual events dedicated to innovations and technologies such as AR, VR, and XR. Beyond the vast and cutting-edge expo, the conference features a plethora of panel discussions, workshops, and keynote presentations to foster networking opportunities, ideas exchange, and a learning environment.

Every year, hundreds of speakers come to share their views on the development of technologies in their industry, for example, gaming, sports, advertising, and even healthcare.

In 2024, representatives of Meta, Qualcomm, Snap, IKEA, Amazon, the creators of Oculus Rift, and XR developers and studios joined the conference as speakers, and for three days, they discussed a variety of topics, problems, and prospects for technology.

Mythbuster: Technology is stuck

It is common that technology begins to pall over time, with each new update regarded not as progress but as a natural step forward. Therefore, after the jaw-dropping breakthrough of VR and AR technologies in the 2010s, many fans began to think that there would be nothing brand-new in the industry.

In the opinion of Palmer Luckey, one of the creators of Oculus Rift, such a comparison is entirely unfair. After all, if we look at the development of the industry, comparing where we were ten years ago and what we have now, we will see excellent results. The first version of the Oculus Rift DK1 weighed almost 400 grams and had a resolution of only 1280x800, but now fans use devices that weigh 127 grams and have a resolution of 5120 × 2560. You can say the same truth about the entire industry without a doubt. Our technologies allow us to create more immersive experiences for viewers and users. There are many XR studios, AR software, and hardware solutions for advertising, and even whole stadiums with 4K HDR video boards and tens of thousands of LED panels, without which it isn't easy to imagine our world today.

So, the industry is developing. Moreover, the peak is still a long way off as many challenges remain unresolved, and there are still numerous areas where it is worth to utilize XR, VR, and AR in the future.

Challenges yet to overcome

Naturally, many speakers emphasized the industry's problems that have yet to be overcome. Points such as device fragmentation, complicated UI, and content fragmentation in AR adoption are among the most discussed issues, and they are familiar to every user who has worked with a variety of virtual reality devices.

Many experts are already offering new high-performance and low-power solutions, and such attention to significant shortcomings gives hope that the next generation of technology will be free of these flaws. After all, the development of XR depends on the development of technology in general.

Technology diffusion

It's great to see more people from industries beyond the tech sector attending such conferences and sharing fascinating use cases. For instance, XR is already being utilized in healthcare, not just at the management level but also to meet the needs of the end users.

Retail and marketing are experimenting with new solutions for various promotion strategies. Moreover, technologies are gaining popularity even among conservative clients like the financial industry, helping them humanize the brand and build relationships with their users. XR, VR, and AR have expanded beyond the gaming, media, and entertainment sectors. Instead, we are witnessing increasing use cases aimed at achieving business objectives across various industries.

The mixed reality sphere will transform in the next 5-10 years, enhancing its ability to transport users to virtual and fantastical places, offering immersive experiences and new forms of storytelling. Although it may be hard to imagine now, someday, technologies will overcome the challenges highlighted during AWE USA 2024. Perhaps then we'll face other problems and different solutions, but this outlook is quite encouraging and inspiring nonetheless.