Amazon, QVC, IKEA, and Boeing. These are just four of the hundreds of companies already adopting augmented reality (AR) for both their offerings and business. Ever since taking the world by storm in 2016 with Pokémon Go, the technology has seen a dramatic increase in the popularity and implementation of AR applications. But the technology isn’t new. AR apps have been around for several years and have been implemented for many different uses. So why now? Why are companies ranging from large, multibillion dollar tech giants to smaller retail stores investing in the technology?
Remember when companies first started using the internet? Originally, their efforts were focused around making web pages and simply displaying their products. Now, companies leverage the Internet in a million different ways to promote, sell, and operate their business. These millions of options exist because the flexibility the internet provides, and AR looks to bring that same type of flexibility in a new, exciting way! Medical facilities are starting to use AR for assistance in surgery, the US Military is using the technology for training, IKEA and Amazon show their products in a buyer’s home before a purchase; these are just a few of the many unique applications of AR! With this flexibility, it is no wonder why AR implementations are becoming increasingly popular.
Experts Exist Now
“I’m sure we can figure it out”. Unfortunately, I have heard this phrase too many times in my career. Companies and individuals who don’t have experience in an area hope they can figure out a solution. This problem existed in AR for several years. Many companies and individuals possessed skills that related to augmented reality, but they didn’t have the track record or experience to justify investing in their skills. As the use of the technology has expanded and the volume of quality applications has increased, this problem has gone away! Companies and individuals have been working and investing in training with different iterations of the technology, developing a deeper expertise. It is still a necessity to work with qualified individuals, and, fortunately for those seeking to develop project for AR, these individuals and companies are not as scarce as they once were.
Ten years ago, AR didn’t make sense for every company. Developing augmented reality applications and platforms cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, while the applications didn’t always produce the desired results. With the advent of Google’s ARCore and APPLE’s ARKit, the cost of development and implementation of AR applications and programs has dropped significantly. The decrease in development costs isn’t the only reason why AR applications have become more cost effective. Customer acquisition costs have also dropped significantly. People are more receptive and have begun seeking out the technology because they enjoy using it. With costs dropping and people more willing to try a new application, augmented reality will only continue to grow in popularity.
Thank Google...and Apple
You can’t talk about the increase in implementations of AR without talking about these two tech giants. Both have made significant investments in the development of the technology in recent years with Apple deploying their ARKit platform and Google responding with their ARCore platform. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, has gone so far as to say about augmented reality, “I regard it as a big idea…I think AR is that big, it’s huge. I get excited because of the things that could be done that could improve a lot of lives. And be entertaining”. With both Google and Apple trying to incorporate AR into their core technology and offerings, the amount of people who have access to AR applications continues to increase drastically!
Companies are increasingly adopting augmented reality for everything from displays at live events to remote maintenance and training. With a track record of increasing sales and engagement, this increase in adoption won’t slow down anytime soon. The companies that will be able to differentiate themselves from their competition will be the ones who move sooner rather than later.