We’ve been hearing for a while now that virtual and augmented reality are the next big things, and will be especially prominent in a 5G world. 2016 fell short of hitting the banner-year figures originally predicted, but analysts remain confident VR and AR will grow steadily over the next several years.
By 2021, Greenlight Insights forecasted the global VR market will bring in $74.8 billion in revenues, and International Data Corp. expects total VR/AR headset device shipments will hit 99.4 million the same year – up tenfold from 2016’s shipment figures.
And now legislators are jumping on the VR/AR bandwagon as well.
Members of Congress this week came together to form the Congressional Caucus on Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality Technologies for the 115th Congress. The group is reportedly meant to give the emerging technologies a boost via several sets of friendly and curious ears on Capitol Hill. The Caucus will be co-chaired by U.S. Representatives Bill Flores (R-Texas), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.).
“As these technologies continue to advance and grow, this ‘Reality Caucus’ will work to foster information sharing between Congress and our nation’s world-leading technology industry,” the co-chairs said in a statement. “These technologies have shown tremendous potential for innovation in the fields of entertainment, education and healthcare.”
As the technologies continue to develop, the caucus noted questions around privacy, intellectual privacy, and other concerns will inevitably arise. The Reality Caucus, they said, offers “an opportunity to educate our colleagues and others to ensure Congress is doing all it can to encourage – rather than hinder – these enterprising fields.”
The initiative was quickly lauded by industry groups like the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the trade association that represents the U.S. video game industry.
“The dynamic technology and explosive growth potential of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality will spark the creation of thousands of American jobs and billions of dollars in investment for the U.S. economy,” Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA, commented. “ESA applauds the leaders of the VR/AR/MR Caucus for their incredible vision and energy. With the support of congressional leaders, these new technologies will provide unparalleled new opportunities.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations