Say hello to Augmented Reality. Maybe you can actually satisfy the itch of wanting to see products up, close, and personal before buying them off on ecommerce sites? How about doing meetings without traveling?
Want to check out an apartment before buying it? You don’t have to go to see the actual property in the future.
Fancy a bit of technology like all the gadgetry in the movie Avatar?
Some of all that Sci-Fi stuff we dream about is already reality, falling either into Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality, as the case may be.
What exactly is Augmented Reality?
Most of us have heard the term Augmented Reality loosely thrown around on media. We seem to know what it is. Some of us don’t. Either way, it’s heralded as a part of our future.
Augmented Reality basically is the superimposing of digital imagery over real imagery to enhance the perception of reality. AR is typically experienced through mobile applications on a smart phone, tablet, or digital eyeglasses. Augmented Reality – termed by Jaron Lanier — was first applied for weather reports on TV in 1975.
The Market for Augmented Reality Apps
Some of the first Augmented Reality apps came to town in the year 2008. Inching forward to 2010, the total annual revenue generated by all mobile apps related to AR was roughly 2 million dollars.
According to the Digital Marketing Bureau, there were about 118 million AR apps downloaded on smartphones and tablets in the year 2011, taking total revenue to over half a billion dollars in 2013. Augmented Reality is already a multi-million-dollar market and it’s only growing exponentially. Over 30% of smart phone users in mature markets use augmented reality (whether they know it or not), at least once a week.
In the future, Augmented reality and virtual reality is all set to hit the $150 billion, what with exciting new products already embracing the concept with Google Glass, Facebook Oculus, and Microsoft’s Hololens.
How are Augmented Reality apps good for business?
You already know why mobile presence is good for business but you’re perhaps wondering if you really need AR apps? Well, why not – if it can enhance the visual experience of your customer. Moreover, you can provide an augmented experience to them on the platform they prefer most – their smartphones. Most smartphones today come with hardware necessary to run AR applications – camera, display, GPS module accelerometer and a gyroscope.
If you are a jewellery retailer, wouldn’t your customers be delighted if you could have them virtually try out jewellery pieces from your store with the help of an AR app? An apparel retailer could similarly engage his customers by having them try on clothes without actually touching the product. AR apps are good for your business because of the immersive experiences they are capable of providing.
Application of Augmented Reality Apps
While Augmented Reality was originally designed or picked up for games and 3D films, it now finds a steady (and growing) user base among gaming enthusiasts, PC and MMO gamers. In fact, applications for Augmented Reality have also started pouring into exciting categories such as education and marketing.
But that’s only the beginning: we also have niche enterprise users such as medical industry and the military. Corporations such as Ikea have also been trying to use Augmented Reality for many purposes.
Among the twin concepts of Virtual reality and augmented reality, it’s AR that’s poised to take the lion’s share of growth at $120 billion.
As for mobile and tablet apps, there are already plenty of those in the market. Tom’s Guide has about 15 best augmented reality apps listed.
Where is it headed?
Your apps will get smarter. Smarter devices will come about. Life just gets better. Thanks to the advancement in technology.
However, the total number of AR apps is still a growing minority but that’s only an opportunity for app developers.
Augmented Reality, according to Tim Merel of TechCrunch, finds its home on smartphones and tablets so you can definitely expect to see applications stretching into Television, film, enterprise, advertising, consumer apps, eCommerce, shopping, data businesses, and a lot more.
While it might seem like the technology is not completely ready for the future, it’s reminiscent of cloud computing when it first turned its head up. In the future, it’s the app developers and enterprising startups that are likely to push the market ahead with innovative apps no one has thought about yet.
If nothing, Augmented Reality could very well be a way for app developers to build better mousetraps.
At July, we build next generation AR apps for smartphones, tablets and wearables.
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