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Sony captures third of VR

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Strategy Analytics latest data on the VR headset market shows a decline in annual hardware revenues for the first time. As data in the VR Headset Forecast by Price Tier shows, this revenue decline is confined to the low-value segment, where Google’s Cardboard and Daydream products are losing traction. The VR Headset Forecast by Device Type shows continued growth in the Console and PC-tethered VR segments. Sony, Facebook (Oculus) and HTC are the big winners by revenue, as tracked in the VR Headset Platform Share data.

In 2018 VR hardware revenues declined slightly to $1.8B from $1.9B in 2017. The decline in shipments was much more dramatic, shrinking over 50% from 31m units in 2017 to only 15m units in 2018. Driving these changes is the evaporation of the market for low-cost VR headsets such as Google Cardboard, Google Daydream and Samsung Gear VR.

David MacQueen, Executive Director of Strategy Analytics’ VAR (Virtual and Augmented Reality) research program commented on the causes of this decline: “Brands and marketing agencies have transitioned budgets away from VR towards novel AR services such as Snapchat, so the giveaways of Cardboard headsets by brands such as the New York Times and McDonald’s have halted. Samsung and other vendors have largely ceased bundling VR headsets with smartphone sales. However, our research shows that consumers who have tried VR really enjoy the experience, and are seeking out higher-quality experiences with better headsets. The simple devices helped to drive demand, but their time is coming to an end. This is reflected in Google’s market share, which has dropped from a market-leading 21% in 2017 to 11% in 2018.

“The real winners in 2018 and 2019 have come from the higher price tier, higher-quality VR headset market segments, primarily those that are PC- or Console-tethered. Sony’s PSVR headset is continuing to sell well, and its position as the leading hardware vendor will be helped by the news that the PS5 will support the headset, removing fears of compatibility issues with next-generation consoles. HTC and Facebook continue to split the PC segment, which is expanding beyond consumer into enterprise markets, mainly around the design, training and education use cases. These segments will help drive growth in 2019 and beyond.”

David Kerr, VP at Strategy Analytics, says: “The data reflects a turbulent year for VR and a market in transition. With multiple carriers globally looking to VR as one of the use cases to demonstrate the potential of 5G networks, using VR as a marketing tool for 5G can be challenging. The right market entry strategy could define the winners and losers when it comes to VR and 5G.”

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Xero ramps up features and apps market at Xerocon London

New tools and products for small businesses and an expanded ecosystem have made the online accounting firm a formidable force

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Xero, the global small business accounting platform, this week unveiled new features for small businesses and an enhanced app ecosystem that underlines its formidable and growing presence in business software.

The new features of the Xero platform itself help small businesses better understand their finances, manage projects’ profitability, better manage their staff, operate and scale.

The new features were announced at Xerocon London 2019, where over 3,000 partners gathered.

The new features include:

  • Real-time, smarter insights with Business Snapshot: A new tool to go into pilot early next year, Business Snapshot gives small business owners an important, high-level view of their critical business metrics and important trends using beautiful visualisations to help them make decisions on immediate issues
  • Connecting Quotes with Projects to support job profitability: Easily estimate, quote and track jobs directly within Xero Projects, so all new work is accurately costed and projects are more profitable
  • Manage car expenses without the complexity or paperwork: Work-related car expenses are now easier to track and manage for all staff. Automatically calculate fuel and mileage expenses, and reimburse staff without the fuss
  • ​Automated payroll functionality eases employer paperwork: A new automated solution directly connected to HMRC removes tedious and time-consuming manual tasks for employers providing car or van benefit in kind to their staff during the tax year. 

“We have been working hard over the past year to develop new ways to give small businesses smarter, simple and seamless workflows that help them better understand their business and make crucial decisions about the future of their operations,” said Anna Curzon, Chief Product Officer, Xero. “With these new features, small businesses and their advisors can have deeper discussions about what’s working, what isn’t, and focus on how they can continue to grow and thrive.” 

Read on to find out about Xero’s deeper integrations with Microsoft Office 365, Google, HubSpot and others as it enhances its apps ecosystem

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3D printing set for $20bn boom

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3D printing is starting to be realized in a wide variety of industries, but its potential in the aerospace and defense industry is significant. The 3D printing industry was worth $3bn in 2013 and grew to $7bn in 2017. By 2025, the market is forecast to account for more than $20bn in spend, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The company’s report, ‘3D Printing in Aerospace & Defence – Thematic Research’, reveals that most major militaries and companies are exploring options with the technology. Some are still in the testing phase, while others are deploying the technology in final production. This is particularly true in the aerospace industry, where engines, aircraft and satellites are currently using 3D-printed components.

Listed below are the militaries that have taken an early lead in implementing 3D printing technology, as identified by GlobalData.

US Marine Corps

The US Marine Corps currently has the highest uptake of 3D printing of any military service worldwide. In particular, the additive manufacturing team at Marine Corps Systems Command has created the world’s largest 3D concrete printer with the ability to print a 500-square-foot barracks hut in 40 hours.

US Air Force

The US Air Force is integrating 3D printing into its supply chain. Overseen by ‘America Makes’, the US national additive manufacturing/3D printing innovation institute, it is investigating how current systems can be used to reproduce aircraft components for decades-old planes that may no longer have reliable sources of replacement parts, without minimum order quantities.

US Navy

The Navy has created new logistical units such as Navy frontline attachments, which can rapidly create spare parts for incredibly complex military equipment such as the F-35B – and are currently operational for this purpose. The navy has also worked with Oak Ridge National laboratory to produce the first 3D-printed submarine hull.

US Army

The US Army is working on 3D-printed, modular drone systems. The army wants 3D printers that can be deployed to a forward base camp and used to produce aviation backup when necessary for troops on the ground. This plan aims to create bespoke unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems and is said to be at an advanced stage of development.

Chinese Air Force

A 3D Systems ProJet 4500 printer has been acquired by the Chinese army and has been working on replacement military truck parts for the army’s fuel tanker fleet. A number of Chinese fighter jets are believed to be carrying 3D-printed parts and are currently in operation.

Russian Army

Russia has been testing multiple applications for 3D-printed parts in its newest main battle tank, the T-14 Armata. During the development process, 3D printing was used for prototyping, but it is expected that parts will be used in the final product, of which 2,300 have been ordered.

South Korean Air Force

Collaboration between South Korea’s InssTEK and France’s Z3DLAB is producing parts for South Korean warplanes that see heavy use along the border with North Korea. The aim is to upgrade existing components, rather than replace worn parts, with a new titanium composite material.

Information based on GlobalData’s report: ‘3D Printing in Aerospace & Defence – Thematic Research’.

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