Following the Computer, Internet and Mobile revolutions - Augmented Reality (AR) is on the verge of becoming the next technology wave. The paradigm shift has already started and is affecting every part of society. Leading tech companies are investing and other key industry drivers include the need to better visualize products and information, exchange knowledge, increase productivity, and enhance entertainment. We have likely just seen the beginning of this digital revolution.
Key industry drivers
Visualization of products and information
Adding digital layers to enhance reality is useful in many situations, such as in logistics or at a tourist location. Another example is in e-commerce, where the inability to test products is a significant challenge. To address this, goods can now be displayed with AR technology to for example let consumers evaluate how clothes or furniture fit, without going to the store.
Efficient knowledge exchange and increased productivity
AR makes it easy to share practical know-how at a distance, which is of great value in hands-on professions such as medicine and industry field service. Remote education or guidance can, for example, reduce travel costs and decrease failure rates. Thus, AR can have a significantly positive effect on production efficiency and output levels.
Introducing fiction into reality gives the world new dimensions and entertainment producers are, therefore, finding AR to be a desirable technology. The development has resulted in more immersive experiences for online gamers and social media users. Pokémon Go and Snapchat are two examples manifesting the high demand and vast potential.
Major players are investing
The tech giants Apple and Google are two critical forces in the commercialization of the augmented reality market. Their software platforms ARCore and ARKit are fundamental parts of the ecosystem. Microsoft was early in the game with their release of its HoloLens glasses in 2015, while Facebook has established an AR studio, started with AR advertisement and acquired Oculus. All in all, it’s apparent that the world’s leading technology companies are committed to exploring the technology.
Today’s high and increasing smartphone prevalence is providing the hardware to make AR accessible for millions of people. The next step, AR glasses, are also continually becoming better and cheaper. The technology is used worldwide and supported by major tech players as well as smaller companies. To fight the tough competition, constant innovation is necessary, pushing the development forward. Investors are also willing to provide capital as the market is growing rapidly. The technology can be used in countless applications and we have likely just seen the beginning of this digital revolution.