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Augmented Reality: Technology of the future now

Augmented Reality (AR) will pick up pace in 2019, and we could start to see the emergence of augmented reality (AR) in the estimation of Print and Signage

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that allows virtual three-dimensional content to be overlaid onto the real world. It is closely linked to virtual reality (VR), but augmented reality has always been touted as where the money is.

Why? It’s all about figures rather than demand – VR has shifted close to around 82 million units worldwide, but augmented reality tech which can be found in most modern smartphone’s peaks at over three billion worldwide.

The AR market will explode in the next year

According to Digi-Capital the AR/VR market will reach $150 billion by 20201 and a large majority of that will be taken by AR which accounts for $120 billion. The latest market study by Juniper Research2 shows that enterprises and industrial markets will be biting a large piece of the pie this year.

This will be due to the global technology explosion we are seeing and improvements in software as well as the preponderance of wearables such as Microsoft HoloLens and nreal Light.

Advancement of mobile-web AR

2019 will usher in an interesting phase where native apps generally will become the preserve of services and utilities that genuinely add value (retailer loyalty, banking apps, music subscription service, etc.) as well as games. Enabling rich mobile AR experience to be delivered directly on a mobile web page will give businesses much more control over distribution and marketing of their content.

Development of Consumer MR

Immersive Mixed Reality experiences offer enormous potential for both education and business alike, but the consumer proposition is just not there yet to give the price-point of dedicated hardware devices. However, companies such as Nintendo5 is a perfect solution to bridge this gap and manage expectations given its price point.

AR becoming an always-on communication channel

As AR is embraced and becomes more widespread, it could lead to a shift from single-instance marketing campaigns, and more toward a consistent communication channel that drives a direct dialogue with end user that contextually relevant. This could end up users being a part of a world where digital discovery is permeant and driven by daily information and utility – not just transient moments of surprise and delight.

Pushing the boundaries of innovation in print and signage

Innovation has always been a driving factor of Augmented Reality. In the Print and Signage industry there have been new, bold concepts which allow customers to build a quote using a mobile application, with the added functionality to view their product in AR in a real environment. Companies such as IKEA have invested a lot in allowing customers to view their catalogue in AR. The AR Print prototype (main headline image above) is an estimation application built for iOS and Android that allows users to estimate the cost that revolves around creating an A-Frame, Flex Box or large format poster. The application uses ARCore3 (Android) or ARKit4 (iOS) depending on the phone and works using the camera on the back of your smartphone.

Augmented Reality was very crude a few years ago when it was in its infancy. However now we are seeing faster development and evolution because of key drivers, such as the increasing number of mobile devices, not just phones and the extended functionality of internet speed (5G). Also, with the improvements in technology the hardware that drives AR is getting smaller and we are seeing AR devices being built into wearables. For consumers, the technology needs to get down to look like a pair of glasses, only then will it see mass adoption.

Final thoughts

In reality, business can adopt technology that is at a scale which is already 3-5 years old, as it propagates through their tanker-like structures. It is now inevitable that the era of spatial computing and story-telling is here to stay and in an increasing age of information and experience we expect more of the services, products and packaging around us. The area of computer science devoted to AR will bring on a new age of assistance and it WILL happen very soon. This is great news for business as it can get an advantage over the competition by exploring what is possible in Augmented Reality right now, and set themselves up to be well-placed for the future.

One thing is for sure it is good be aware of the term that is Augmented Reality in 2019.

Article by Raj Kaul – Innovation Developer at Clarity Software



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