In 2020, augmented reality technology is expected to grow at an unprecedented rate. Commercial use of the technology has skyrocketed as a result of its adoption by market leaders such as Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon. The most exciting aspect of AR technology is that it is already being used by millions of people in some capacity. As devices become more powerful and networks continue to expand in capacity, many industries have unveiled a new generation of AR applications. Edge computing and 5G connectivity have made the technology much more viable, allowing it to reach a broader range of new users.
AR In Shopping & Retail
Giving customers a virtual shopping option has been a significant trend for retailers such as American Apparel, Uniqlo, Lacoste, Kohls, and Sephora. Others have created virtual fitting rooms for their customers. Customers can use this to get a try-before-you-buy experience from the comfort of their own homes. This is especially significant given the impact of social distancing policies on retail during the COVID-19 pandemic. AR is uniquely positioned to solve this issue.
The Arrival of AR Glasses
Because of more robust cellular networks, most AR capabilities have been primarily available on smartphones. However, it appears that 2021 will be the year that Smartglasses technology finally hits the market, with an Apple release possible. By 2023, the combined installed base of mobile AR devices and smartglasses could exceed 2.5 billion units, creating enormous opportunities for innovative AR applications. AR will become less of a novelty technology as these devices become more common, and will become a more integral part of consumers’ everyday technology experience.
AR in Mobile Devices
Mobile AR is advantageous because users do not need to purchase expensive headsets or software; instead, AR features can be integrated into existing apps on smartphones, making them more accessible to people. Snapchat, for example, offers AR and 3D filters that allow users to entertain and play with their faces. In Pokémon GO, players can find and catch Pokemons in various locations throughout the city, as well as train them.
AR in Medicine
Again, the need for social distancing in response to Covid-19 could be viewed as one of the most powerful drivers of new technology and advancements. Even in the medical field, such as hospitals, medical schools, and your doctor’s office, you’ll begin to see how AR can benefit both patients and doctors. The potential ranges from assisting with blood draws (finding a vein) to improving diagnoses. Not only can AR help doctors, but it can also help in an emergency by providing information about life-saving measures.