There’s no question that Augmented Reality (AR) technology – in the form of glasses, headsets, and connected software – has made rapid advances in recent years. In fact, AR is predicted by some to be the next trillion dollar industry due to the way it could potentially change the way we live, work, and play.
And if the past few years is any indication, the way AR headsets and glasses function is going to change drastically, as the industry strives to integrate innovative technology, additional functionality, and enhanced ergonomic design into its products.
In June of 2017, Apple released its ARKit, a toolkit for prospective developers to create AR related applications that would integrate with Apple devices and apps like Siri. And during a recent AR hackathon, a smart-home integrated HoloLens with gesture control was developed. It all points to one of the key future trends of AR, which is integration with Artificial Intelligence (AI) software, technology, and platforms. Whether it’s displaying information about the temperature of another room in your house or providing additional information about the food in your fridge as you look through it, AR will continue to integrate with AI platforms like Siri and Amazon Echo to improve people’s daily lives.
Today, the smartphone is the most ubiquitous technology device for consumers. Before that, the PC and laptop were the technologies people relied on the most. But as AR advances and continues to become more highly adopted, it’s likely that the functionality of other devices will begin to converge into glasses and headsets. Functions, like checking social media, conducting Skype calls, and even working with productivity tools like spreadsheets will become possible with AR glasses through things like motion and gesture detection.
As people begin to consume more and more content via AR headsets and glasses, the opportunity for advertisers to reach people will increase exponentially. And they’ll be able to do so on location, in real-time, and in ways that are most personal and relevant to that consumer. Imagine someone browsing a grocery store aisle with their AR glasses, for example, at which point the headset could display specials or new products that the person might be interested in purchasing. Or a furniture company might let consumers visualise how a new sofa or bed would look in their house, while at the same time displaying pricing and purchase info. As AR devices adoption increases, so will the opportunities for advertisers to reach consumers in a highly targeted fashion.
For AR to reach the necessary critical mass for mainstream adoption, the ergonomics of AR headsets and glasses will need to be significantly enhanced. And the process is already well underway – Lucyd’s blockchain-based glasses under development, are just one example of the next iteration of improved AR ergonomics. AR manufacturers and products will need to address size and weight issues, as well as making headsets feel less clunky and “geeky.” In the future, AR glasses will be more similar normal, corrective lenses that people are accustomed to, and feel more like a natural extension of the body. At the end of the day, whoever is able to achieve the most user-friendly, ergonomic design will win the battle for the mainstream consumer market.
The AR glasses of today – and even of 2018 – will dwarf in comparison regarding functionality to the AR headsets of the future. Core AR functions of sight, hearing, and speaking will all improve by leaps and bounds over the next few years. Future AR glasses, for examples, will have a wider field of vision than current devices, more closely approximating a full view with the ability to display information no matter where people are looking. We also anticipate advances in motion capture technology, potentially allowing users to simply use gestures to tell the device to perform tasks like provide information about a physical item in front of them, or provide directions to a location that someone points to.
Without a doubt, the race to bring AR to the mainstream is in full swing. According to Deloitte, AR potentially represents the next trillion-dollar opportunity, especially for marketers that focus on savvy ways of reaching consumers who will eventually adopt the technology. And as companies and manufacturers continue to innovate, expect things like AI integration, device convergence, and ergonomic enhancements to take centre stage as the future of AR takes shape in the years ahead.