Augmented reality (AR) could finally be about to make the breakthrough that’s been expected of it since the technology announced its arrival on the consumer stage back in 2013.
A handful of companies have released demos of AR apps created with Apple’s recently launched ARKit – an AR development platform which allows users to build apps that go beyond a phone screen and interact with the real world.
Swedish furniture giant IKEA has been one of the most recent proponents of AR’s potential – its app allows customers to virtually decorate their homes with the company’s products; and the online GIF database and search engine GIPHY World’s app lets users and their friends enhance real world scenes with fun or instructional gifs.
The apps were announced at a developer conference in June 2017 for the run-up to the launch of Apple’s hotly anticipated iOS 11. The new operating system will put AR in the hands of hundreds of millions of iPhone users. Experts believe that the technology is at a turning point as a result.
While AR has been around for some time, its popularity has been on the rise since people realized just how many funny faces they could make on Snapchat and found themselves hooked on playing Pokemon Go. The technology behind these experiences is set to push beyond the entertainment industry and become far more ubiquitous in the coming years. It’s a hot topic – Google launched its own AR platform, ARCore, in late 2017.
The virtual and augmented reality industry is expected to become a $85 billion market by 2025, according to a report by Goldman Sachs released in 2016, suggesting that the impact of the technology will be far reaching.
As the Swedish meatball master illustrates, AR can be put to practical use by helping customers try before they buy. As consumers and business owners alike become more familiar with the technology behind AR and start to realize its potential, we’re likely to start seeing more use cases across a host of different industries, including medicine and navigation.