Skip Levens explains how building modern technology infrastructures will aid the growth of AR, VR and VFX

Mars Volume virtual production training Mars Academy (2)

As AR, VR, VFX and digital twinning continue to grow in popularity, so does the demand for more content and subsequently, for faster and higher-performance data storage and processing, better content production workflows and improved content management.

Take VR, which has long been viewed as an impending breakthrough technology, even as far back as the early to mid-1990 and as technology advances, its market growth has increased sharply over the last few years.

By 2030, the VR and related AR markets are expected to grow from US$28.5bn (£22.7bn) (in 2021) to US$200bn (£160bn), while other areas such as gaming, VFX, and digital twinning are also expected to develop significantly, ushering in a boom era of content creation—and demand for related skillsets across these sectors.

Elsewhere, technological advancements in both the movie and gaming industries have made special effects more realistic, increasing the demand for digital creations. And techniques like LED volumes for virtual production (the Mars Volume virtual production stage is pictured above) have revolutionised the production process.

Leaving the legacy behind

However, meeting these demands presents a significant challenge for content creators due to the widespread use of legacy and outdated data storage systems and platforms. For many creators, handling the surge of unstructured data from diverse sources such as high-resolution media, IoT, and AI/ML will require a technological leap to bring infrastructure up to date and ensure it can keep pace with the speed of change elsewhere in the technology landscape.

Among the data storage technologies most suited to these use cases is NVMe flash – a technology specifically designed for solid-state memory and capable of providing the performance required by demanding workloads like VFX rendering and animation.

In contrast to traditional spinning disk storage technologies, data can flow to and from NVMe drives as fast as the network connection can transport it. This, in turn, minimises the latency problems that many content creators will be familiar with, by processing millions of concurrent operations needed to power apps and experiences across today’s data-hungry content applications.

The rapidly expanding markets for VR, AR, gaming, VFX, and digital twinning are driving tremendous demand for high-definition content. Overcoming legacy storage limitations and harnessing the full potential of NVMe is crucial for creators to thrive in these growing sectors. In terms of technology infrastructure, these hardware advancements and software improvements for data management and workflow orchestration will define the success of creatives in these exciting markets.

Creators will be constrained by technologies that simply were not designed to handle the massive scale of unstructured data that comes hand-in-hand with the current wave of content innovation. Looking ahead, the ability of creatives to stay relevant in these emerging markets will depend on building modern technology infrastructure that speeds data management, facilitates data enrichment and improves workflow orchestration.

Skip Levens_Quantum

 Skip Levens is marketing director, Media and Entertainment at Quantum