Augmented Reality (AR) is a fast growing new technology which combines digital objects to real-life conditions. To make use of AR, all you need is a smartphone or a tablet loaded with an app (software) which is capable of adding digital elements to physical environments. Most of these apps use depth tracking technology and mapping.
AR allows customers to try products before they make their decision to buy them. A typical example is when you are shopping for an IKEA item, you take the photo of the item and by using the IKEA app you superimpose it to the physical location where you want to put it.
The global AR industry was estimated to be $18 billion in 2020 and its growth is expected to be about 44 % per year until 2028. This new technology is changing entrepreneurship landscape*.
Virtual Reality (VR) creates a completely virtual world that users interact with using devices that isolate them from the real world. While VR is also rapidly expanding, I personally believe that AR will be a bigger market than VR over time especially in the following areas.
Education and Gaming - AR is already used in education (Disney Coloring Book) and gaming (Nintendo's Pokémon Go, Google Pixel's Star Wars Stickers). It is also widely used in medical education such as 3D holographic anatomy project created by Case Western Reserve and the Cleveland Clinic where students can see virtual cadavers and can better study the human body.
Retail - Smartphones loaded with the proper apps provide the best platforms for easy shopping. For example, while IKEA and Wayfair have apps that show potential customers how furniture will fit in their physical locations, L'Oréal and Sephora use customized apps to show their customers how their makeup products will look on them. Nike has an app that lets the customers choose the best fitting sporting goods.
Industrial services - AR used in this area improves safety and reduces the cost in infrastructural projects. An excellent example of this is the company Fieldbit which designed an AR app for Israel's national water company.
Design / Modeling- 3D modeling is another AR application used in businesses. Here the 3D models expedite the design process in designing and development items such as, homes and cars and help to cut the costs of expensive prototypes.
Maintenance/Repair - Using a smartphone or tablet, consumers get how-to information for repairs, maintenance and vehicle features. In 2015, Hyundai launched an AR owner's manual which contained how-to videos, that had 3D images of the various parts of their vehicle. __________________________
(*) Max Freedman
business.com Contributing Writer, Feb 01, 2022