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Inside the Big Picture for Augmented Reality

Inside the Big Picture for Augmented Reality


Immersive experiences in a layered world are coming. What can you expect?

For AR developers and technology practitioners like us, it can be easy to forget just how far the tech has come along over the decades, especially when we’ve always been around the building blocks of that technology, as well as their extensions.

We’ve talked about their role in pioneering breakthroughs in aeronautics and surgical medicine from the last millennium. We’ve acknowledged the roles played by cheaper and more ubiquitous consumer products in lowering the entry barriers to AR (Today, $499 is all you need now to experience full-fledged AR with nReal’s AR smartglasses, for example). We’ve credited the booming digital gaming industry for catalyzing research and development in the field.

That sort of bird’s eye view is useful in seeing the big picture — the incredible potential of how a physical world could be infinitely augmented by immersive experiences. The possibilities that are opened up by the mere encouragement of the use of the human senses, blurring and almost erasing the lines between reality and virtuality.

We’ve even put numbers down to those potentials for numerical visualization. Maybe the future of AR is clear from the fact that 60% of smartphones are already supporting AR and high-speed 5G networks will soon make short work of heavy and complex 3D models in real time. Or perhaps the speed of AR uptake will be driven by the projections of a USD 13 billion AR ad revenue in 2022 or the USD 285 billion AR gaming market in 2023.

However we put it, there’s no stopping AR now. Yes, it could be that AR is still in a buzz phase that hasn’t relented since Pokemon Go or the Walking Dead or Harry Potter apps made otherwise physically-reluctant people jump fences to catch imaginary animals… but it’s here, and it’s not going anywhere. If anything, it will only get bigger sooner than even we’re prepared for.