2017 proved to be an inflection point for Augmented Reality (AR). As per IDC forecast, worldwide spending on AR and VR is expected to reach $17.8 billion in 2018, a whopping 95% more than the $9.1 billion spent in 2017. According to an IDC press release, “The commercial sectors will represent more than 60 percent of AR/VR spending in 2018 and grow to more than 85 percent of the worldwide total in 2021.”
It is evident that businesses have understood the potential of AR and are quickly integrating the technology into their business and marketing plans to make most of the first-mover opportunities available. So we thought it would be interesting to explore the top trends that will shape the AR industry in 2018.
1. AR will rule the roost- VR came into limelight way before AR and it was widely touted as the “next big thing” but over the years the market for VR has evolved at relatively slow pace than many experts originally predicted or expected.
As the chart clearly shows, VR has really struggled to fulfill analyst predictions. Pokemon Go has brought AR into the limelight, by garnering $600 million in revenue and now businesses are quickly developing mobile AR strategies for 2018 and beyond, as the market continue to grow.
2. More industries adopting AR- Industries like telecommunication, manufacturing, energy where the workforce is scattered to remote areas are already using AR extensively for communication, training etc. Now industries like healthcare and teaching are also leveraging AR capabilities. Healthcare companies are developing AR tools that can be used in the operating room and on the other hand by bringing the virtual elements to the real world, teachers are making a more immersive experience for students a reality.
3. Brands will go for AR- IKEA, a furniture manufacturing giant, launched its AR app, which allows the consumer to drop the 3D furniture object in the house using a camera on a smartphone or tablet. This represents a new chapter in marketing, to engage users within a real-life simulated ecommerce experience. This IKEA app has changed the commercial perception of AR. While it remains to be seen how successful AR will be in terms of revenue generation, but it clearly has the potential to alter the way in which people do shopping. Many brands will follow IKEA in 2018.
4. Drive mobile sales- Earlier, a consumer would replace his smartphone in 18 months but now the replacement cycle has almost reached three years because consumers don’t find any value in buying a new phone. Even behemoth like Apple is experiencing a decline in iPhone revenue and sales. This is where AR will prove to be a game changer; devices equipped with AR will prove as an innovative USP, the proverbial “next-big-thing”.
5. Scale – AR is going mainstream with hosts of startups entering the field to make it affordable for the masses. uSens, a California based computer vision startup, showcased technology in CES 2018 that will allow AR apps to run on not only your Iphone X but also on a cheap $100 Android phone. It raised $26 million in funding from a group of investors to push AR to the general public.
Conclusion A recent report by Digi- Capital suggests that AR will be worth a staggering $108 billion by 2021. 2018 is a breakthrough year for AR. It has reached a tipping point where it is looking to explode into the Main Street and every home will spot an AR device or AR augmented smartphones.