What is this Future of Augmented Reality Everyone is Talking about?

So, what is the multifaceted future of AR? Can’t believe how a technology that was just in its blooming stage a few years ago grew up to be the most advanced in the digital space innovation? But, it’s true. AR is predicted to have an estimated global market worth of 340 billion USD by 2028. From just a pipe dream to one of the most advanced technologies of today, the growth of AR has been remarkable.

Most people might have heard of AR only in the gaming sector (yeah, it’s Pokemon, you guessed it right) or the filters in Snapchat. But AR has far more implications in every sector and is not just limited to gaming or marketing. So, let’s find out what the future has in stake for augmented reality.

In which industries are AR widely applicable now?

Many companies are incorporating this relatively young technology into their operations to ensure it runs smoothly and efficiently. Though AR is now widely seen to be implemented in gaming, healthcare, and education sectors, other industries are predicted to surpass them in the future.

What is the global market size of AR?

Although often AR is overshadowed by Virtual Reality (VR), AR is predicted to surpass VR in the coming 3–5 years (Perkins Coie). Researchers suggest that the global AR market is forecasted to grow from 198 billion USD by the end of 2025 to 340 billion USD by 2028.

The Future of Augmented Reality

AR finds its application pretty much in every industry. We can’t deny the fact that with day we are becoming more dependent on AR-based apps and software. This is one main contributing factor to why major companies like Apple (smart glasses), Amazon (Room Decorator), Microsoft (HoloLens), Facebook, and many more are investing in AR technology.

AR in Healthcare

During the pandemic, the healthcare industry realized the importance of AR more than any other industry. The Healthcare industry had long ago embraced AR to improve patient education and outcomes, medical imaging, dentistry, training medical and nursing students, surgery, MRI evaluation, better understanding and treatment of diseases, and the list goes on. AR came as bliss for the healthcare sector in the Covid-19 situation when physical contact was to be limited and there was a shortage of skilled workers. With AR, the healthcare officials were able to deliver remote care and consultation irrespective of the location of the patient and doctor.

Some of the other applications of AR in healthcare are to practice and prepare for rare and dangerous cases to avoid negative effects on patients, surgeons providing remote assistance to the doctors in OR where precision is of prime importance. AR enables to visualize the area they are going to operate projected in three-dimensional representations into the surgeon’s field of view and he/she can draw on the shared image and warn the doctors on what to look out for during the surgery. All these help save lives and perform tasks more effectively even without being physically present. As the healthcare industry finds the use of AR in its short-term and long-term goals, it is estimated to reach a market value of over USD 7 billion by 2027.

AR in Shopping

Did anyone just say a virtual trial room? Oh yes, that’s what AR has brought to the shopping sector. Try before buy, try it and take it, see the fit, AR makes it all real for your customers. The crisis that the pandemic brought was immense and every business in the shopping and retail sector had to do something to get their products to customers. Since, the pandemic was also a time when we saw a rapid growth of new technologies, integration of AR was more than necessary to meet the customer’s changing trends and demands and to earn their trust.

Ever since its introduction to shopping and retail, AR has disrupted the e-commerce vertical and the best examples of this are how Amazon and IKEA, some of the industry giants have invested in AR to develop AR-based applications. The room decorator tool from Amazon allows the user to add multiple products to the room all at once. The IKEA Place app allows the user to place products virtually in their space. As many other industry giants are realizing the true potential of AR, we can see a rise in AR-based tools in the shopping sector.

AR in Education

All our kids have been introduced to online learning from the start of the pandemic and this has become some sort of a new normal. To surpass the obstacle that the pandemic has put them in, many schools, colleges, universities, and institutions took a new approach to the learning process and incorporated AR and the result as we all know was just incredible. Since then, AR has changed the online classroom learning process by providing a way to understand advanced and complex topics by visualizing them using AR and making learning more exciting by overlaying 3D images right in front of them.

So, the question that persists is how we augment AR into online learning platforms. Most of these AR apps developed for the education sector supports commonly used video streaming services like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams. All you need to do is to share your screen and open the AR app. The augmented reality experiences will be screencast to the live streaming applications. It is as simple as that.

Augmented reality has not only made learning easy for students but also makes training for faculties simple. This new way of experiential learning not only replaces the conventional methods of education but also makes learning fun for students. AR, relatively new technology proved it has the potential to revolutionize the education sector by unveiling an immersive and engaging learning experience.

AR in Manufacturing and Automotive Industry

The manufacturing industries find the training and remote assistance applications of AR beneficial. From enabling the workforce to self-service in the wake of an error occurrence, overlaying texts and information relevant to the worker’s current task on their field of view to help them collaborate with experts in real-time, AR minimizes the downtime, cuts down production time, and increases the productivity.

AR makes work hassle-free for the workforce allowing them to work hands-free by getting all the data they need displaying right in front of them through AR wearables. This reduces any occurrence of errors and increases their work accuracy.

As part of the digital transformation, AR was adopted in the automotive industry long ago. From virtual car showrooms to providing an immersive experience by enabling customers to walk around the car exactly as in real life, AR has already powered the automation industry.

As many customers are showing interest in AR, many automotive companies are now adopting AR into their marketing efforts as well.

AR in Travel and Tourism Industry

In the earlier days of the pandemic when we all were on lockdown, and flights and hotel reservations were canceled, many tourist destinations and spots had to suffer. According to World Economic Forum, the tourism industry is estimated to have lost close to $1 trillion in 2020 alone.

Now, when the world is slowly getting back to travel, many travel companies and resorts have embraced AR to give the user an interactive visual experience from booking rooms to exploring food places and planning events. The applications of AR do not quite end here. Using an AR-based app, a traveler can simply point the camera of his/her phone to a building or museum, and voila, a complete visual of that place will be shown right in front of him. Seeing how AR has helped us in travel, it is no doubt that AR will continue to stay and make travel seamless.

AR in Advertisements and Marketing

AR is a relatively new trend within advertising and marketing strategies. It is the competition in the market that forces brands to keep pace by trying unique and innovative ways to attract customer attention. AR enables brands to craft experiences, engage with customers and generate leads in an interesting way. People started choosing brands that provide them immersive experiences making huge brands invest in AR for their marketing strategies.

So, in what all ways can you augment AR into your advertising or marketing campaign? I would say you can augment AR into all types of your print and social advertising campaigns to any events or show promotions. Usually, in the case of printed advertisements, an AR web link or app will be provided through which users can experience an immersive advertisement. Similar is the case of show and event promotions where a QR code will be given to the user to scan.

AR in Military

Augmented reality plays a much bigger role in military operations as it is quite necessary for them to get equipped with the new technologies to counter enemy strategies. AR is used in the military for many purposes including training, maintenance of military vehicles, equipment, gadgets, drones, and many more without compromising on the safety of soldiers.

There is no doubt that augmented reality will make our lives hassle-free in the future as it makes the impossible possible.