AR (Augmented Reality): Trends and Future Developments 2020

By : |September 17, 2019 1

Just as mobile devices have changed how people live and work over the past 12 years, so too will AR (augmented reality) in the not too distant future. The AR market was estimated to be $3.5 billion in 2017, nearly $6 billion last year, and is projected to grow to almost $199 billion by 2025. Propelling the growth of the Augmented Reality market is the technology’s versatility.

And as technology that makes AR possible becomes more sophisticated, AR platforms will be used in many more industries. Most outsiders already know Augmented Reality has many uses in entertainment and gaming; industry insiders know it has applications in industries like healthcare, biotechnology, education, retail and advertising, and military and defence.

As more developers create applications for Augmented Reality platforms the already broad scope of the technology will get broader. To truly understand what makes Augmented Reality such a game-changing technology, it is necessary to understand what it can do.

What Makes AR So Versatile?

AR merges virtual worlds with the real world to create several new possibilities. Because of AR the real and virtual exist simultaneously in a viewer’s field of vision. This makes AR an intuitive and useful technology. Those who aren’t technology natives can easily adopt AR because it’s more intuitive than other technologies. For instance, people who have difficulty using smartphones find AR devices relatively easier to use.

AR is incredibly useful and lots of fun too. Consider that young people use applications to share pictures having “filters”. This means they superimpose on their faces images that make them look like celebrities, a superhero, a cute animal, and much more.

This is Augmented Reality in action, yet it doesn’t even begin to capture the scope of Augmented Reality. Some possibilities of and trends shaping AR are mentioned below.

AR Makes Virtual Navigation and More Possible

Those autonomous vehicles will become commonplace in a decade is a certainty, virtual navigation, however, will become commonplace- especially in the west- much earlier. Virtual navigation leverages the ability of Augmented Reality to merge virtual images with the real-world to provide driver’s real-time driving instructions. Augmented Reality technology allows crisp holographic images to be displayed on a car’s front windshield so drivers can navigate with ease. The images are shown in full HD so drivers feel they are in a rich, real-life video game.

What makes this technology a breakthrough is it doesn’t require users to wear any special eyewear. It’s an improvement over using smartphone apps to navigate and just as smartphones replaced old-fashioned paper maps, holographic navigation technology will replace smartphones.

In addition to navigation, developers are creating Augmented Reality apps for use in commerce, communication, and for commercial and enterprise uses.

Uses of AR in commerce have the potential to revolutionise e-commerce as shoppers will be able to see products in 3-D. For instance, wearing an AR headset, shoppers will be able to walk through their house and see how furniture sold online looks when placed in their home. The possibilities don’t end here. Wearing an AR headset, shoppers can see themselves wearing apparel sold online. Hence, using AR, shoppers would not just see products before buying them online; rather they would see how products look when used. This will transform e-commerce by making the shopping experience more pleasurable and by building trust between consumers and sellers.

AR is being used to improve communication because it allows people to see each other as though standing next to each other. Hence communicating using Augmented Reality is a far richer experience than even video calling because using Augmented Reality, users communicate using words, expressions, and body language. Among the differently able who communicate using sign language, Augmented Reality has the potential to be a huge facilitator.

ARs uses in the commercial and enterprise arena are vast. Equipped with AR headsets, technicians who repair equipment receive detailed schematics as they work allowing them to complete tasks faster and more reliably. They also collaborate with team members anywhere in the world while completing maintenance work.

Hence by greatly facilitating the sharing of information between people, businesses, co-workers, Augmented Reality adds additional dimensions to sharing and collaboration.

Interact with Holographic Images

Over the next few years, AR eyewear will become widespread and be used in education, the workplace, for gaming, and everyday tasks.

Just as the smartphone is a constant companion and extension of most people today, so too will AR eyewear become soon. However, while smartphones have enslaved billions, AR glasses will liberate them. This is because Augmented Reality is a more intuitive technology than even the most intuitive smartphone can ever be. As such it can serve humans in a fuller and less intrusive capacity than smartphones.

While some Augmented Reality glasses are unwieldy, prominent, and heavy, there are AR glasses that look no different than a pair of high-end sunglasses. They interact continuously with a wearer and relay information about their surroundings, where others are, the names and professions of strangers they meet, allow them to receive and answer calls, and much more. They are open to developers so there will be a stream of innovative apps that multiply tremendously the possibilities of AR glasses.

Augmented Reality will be used in medical schools allowing students to see and interact with the human body in 3D. This will make learning easier and less expensive. Also, many reluctant to become doctors because they fear cutting open cadavers will become more open to pursuing a medical career when they can operate virtually. The great thing is that Augmented Reality is already being paired with robotics to facilitate surgery. Hence doctors can operate on patients virtually from a distance using AR.

Because AR can merge the virtual with the real, it offers distinct advantages in gaming. New Augmented Reality glasses will create virtual objects in the real world that is contextually aware. This means during a game when a virtual adversary is on the other side of a real-world dining table, it will have to travel around it to fight its human opponent.

Augmented Reality is where smartphones were when they were first introduced. It is a powerful technology because it allows individuals to interact both with real-world surroundings and virtual images. Just as billions today use smartphones, in a few short years, hundreds of millions will use AR gear. Millions already use AR hardware and it’s estimated that nearly 23 million Augmented Reality glasses will be shipped globally next year. In a short period, the technology will become mainstream- some argue it already is, in advanced regions. There is a need to develop applications and hardware to take advantage of AR so it can be used in as many industries as possible, quickly.

Besides being fun, ARs practical applications are staggering as well. It won’t be adopted by the masses as quickly as smartphones were, yet eventually as the technology improves it can potentially replace smartphones altogether.

By Sameer Wadhwa, Vice President – Digital Consulting and Client Success, Visionet

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  1. Michael
    #1 Michael 19 September, 2019, 16:53

    A good read about AR with a VR headset as the image. Ugh. Details matter!!

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