By 2020, augmented & virtual reality technology is expected to be a $126 billion dollar industry – 80% of that is expected to come from augmented reality products. While many of us may not be familiar with the term augmented reality, it is used in many of the products and apps we use today including Snapchat, Yelp, Google translator, and Pokemon GO.
Augmented reality is when you use technology to superimpose information/imagery on a user’s view of the real world. While virtual reality is considered a fully immersive experience, AR is only partly immersive and offers its users a more social experience as it doesn’t require purchasing new hardware. Augmented reality is accessible through any camera-enabled smartphone.
For many, Pokemon GO, an iOS and Android game that allowed players to locate, capture and battle Pokemon in real-world locations, was their first AR experience. During its first month Pokemon GO saw 50.2 million monthly active users before falling to to 32.4 million a month later (retaining 64.5% of its user base, which is more than double the 30% average retention rate for a successful mobile game).
Pokemon GO uses augmented reality to bring to life an instantly familiar experience that anyone with a smartphone can pick-up and play without any barriers, e.g. expensive headsets, etc.
Google uses augmented reality in its Translator app, using your phone’s camera to translate words on the spot.
Yelp Monocle is a service built into Yelp’s mobile app that uses your phone’s camera and location to overlay information of the restaurants around you, without having to search for them manually.
Snapchat lenses are a form of augmented reality, mapping users’ faces and overlaying graphical imagery on their selfie. More recently Snapchat has been working to expand its lenses using the outward-facing camera in what it’s calling “world lenses”, going beyond the selfie and turning it’s often silly lenses onto the world.
The retail industry has begun to widely adapt AR technology into their apps to allow customers to preview items like clothes, glasses, or even IKEA furniture in their own homes.
As technology advances, AR will move from phones to easily accessible hardware in the form of glasses – Google Glass (released through temporary a public beta program) was an early example of this technology.
Today the most promising AR devices are being teased by Microsoft and Magic Leap, offering a glimpse into the what the future of AR looks like.
Augmented reality is a non intrusive way to immersive your fans- it can be as simple as a Snapchat lens or building out an entire app dedicated to blending a cinematic universe into the real world.