From GPS locations to the new IKEA catalogue, augmented reality seems to be everywhere lately. But what is it, and how is it different from the other trend ‘virtual reality’? The answer is simple: Augmented reality allows the consumer to merge reality with something virtual, so it is a technological addition to something we perceive in real life. Virtual reality on the other hand brings the consumer into a whole new dimension, and is always combined with a wearable, which allows the consumer to “enter” that new virtual world. 3D products are no longer trapped in 2D images. (Vuforia, 2016).
Ever since Pokemon GO made a breakthrough, it seems like more and more companies started to use AR more actively. It blew up not only the technology world but also the consumer world, taking leaps in software improvement and new ways to make AR useful. According to Juniper Research (2015) annual app revenues will reach $2.4 billion in 2019, up from $247 million in 2014, which is a tenfold increase. The costs, however, will remain high for the foreseeable future. The trend is midrise and might eventually have a huge impact on society, especially if it’s combined with the Internet of Things. This enables products to become a mixture of digital and part physical content (PTC, 2016).
There are a lot of different enterprises that make great use of augmented reality. This varies from car dealers to healthcare. In a few years it might appear even more often in our regular environment. For example, it might make the shopping experience much easier and trendier. Frankwatching (2016) took sneaker shops as an example.
As a customer walks by, he receives a personalized offer: the newest edition of his favorite sneaker is released and available at this store with a 20% discount. Once he gets inside, he tells the digital assistant that he’s looking for running shoes for beginners. Immediately a couple of shoes start to light up. When he grabs a pair, a video starts playing. This big screen showcases the unique assets of the shoe. When he fits the shoes on the floor, a couple of walking exercises are projected on it, so he can test the abilities and quality of the different shoes. With the use of AR he can see what other colors would look like in the mirror.
This example perfectly describes how something so commercial and simple as shoe shopping could become a whole new experience due to AR and other digital features. This opens so many doors for commercial enterprises.
But where does this amazing growth come from, and what desire lies beneath it? Augmented reality is a mesotrend, which means that it is on a consumer level. Beneath that level lie bigger trends that have a certain influence on the society. These are called mega trends, and are often linked to desires that have a big impact on more fundamental things, such as digitalization. I believe that this is one of the mega trends that set the base for AR. Another mega trend might be the interaction between humans and devices. More and more companies try to activate their target group, and often do that through interactive communication. Augmented reality is one of the newest ways to reach an audience and make them “do” something with the product and/or information involved.
The question I’d like to pose is the following: Considering the enormous potential AR has, do you think it might evolve into a megatrend itself? Or will it be overthrown by an even bigger technological development?
Vuforia (z.d) Augment
Retrieved on 08-09-2016 via https://www.vuforia.com/Case-Studies/Augment
De Bruijn, M. (28-06-2016) Zo winkel je in 2020: virtual reality, robots & 5 andere trends
Retrieved on 07-09-2016 via https://www.frankwatching.com/archive/2016/07/28/zo-winkel-je-in-2020-virtual-reality-robots-5-andere-trends/
McClintock, C. (z.d) 2016: The Year for Augmented Reality in the Enterprise
Retrieved on 07-09-2016 via http://www.ptc.com/cad-software-blog/2016-the-year-for-augmented-reality-in-the-enterprise
Juniper Research (27-04-2015) Enterprise augmented reality app market to reach $2.4bn in revenues by 2019, growing tenfold from 2014
Retrieved on 07-09-2016 via http://www.juniperresearch.com/press/press-releases/enterprise-ar-app-revenues-reach-2-4bn-by-2019