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How smaller VR players can compete with big tech

Big tech companies such as Alphabet, Facebook, Samsung and Sony are major competitors in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality, but a number of small firms are coming into focus ahead of the Mobile World Congress, the globe's largest event focused on mobile devices and apps.

Unlike the virtual and augmented reality gear of bigger players that focus on gamers and entertainment, small firms like Vuzix and Atheer make headsets used at work.

Leap Motion demonstion at CES 2016 in Las Vegas.
Harriet Taylor | CNBC
Leap Motion demonstion at CES 2016 in Las Vegas.

Vuzix, for example, produces a headset used by DHL warehouse workers and also on the Airbus plane assembly line, according to the company's website. And even though Atheer headsets are still in the developmental stage, they're already being tested by the likes of Duke Energy, according to the company.

Read More What to expect from Mobile World Congress

Both small VR companies will be showing their wares at the Mobile World Congress next week.

Augmented reality technology will eventually be widely used in the energy, industrial, insurance, construction and health-care industries, said Vishal Shah, Atheer's vice president of business development, in an email.

Shah predicts that augmented reality technology will first be used to fix and assemble heavy machinery, and some time after that, be adopted in the world of sports, gaming, drone operation and more.