On November 30, 2022
A Complete Guide to Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR) is taking the world by storm, and here is a guide to how international firms are leveraging the technology.
By 2028, experts say AR will be worth roughly 461.25 Billion, with a compound annual growth rate of around 41.50%. Out of all forms of extended reality (XR) available today, AR is debatably the most accessible. In part, AR’s accessibility is thanks to its availability on smartphones meaning dedicated headsets aren’t always necessary for an AR experience.
As AR technology continues to evolve, firms are constantly discovering what’s possible by unlocking new forms of innovation. Here’s an introduction to AR.
An Introduction to Augmented Reality
AR is becoming increasingly accessible and more appealing at the same time. Smartphone applications have been providing audiences at large with AR experiences for years. Pokemon: Go debuted in 2016, and it was massively successful at delivering an AR immersive experience at scale.
Social media applications like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok push AR content via simple face-tracking graphics and games. Furthermore, smartphone-based AR content is a fruitful avenue for marketing and branding teams. The technology allows firms to deliver interactive marketing campaigns.
AR supports high-street vendors by providing meaningful and immersive consumer and business experiences. Currently, big retail firms are experimenting with virtual try-on solutions to enhance customer experience platforms.
AR also brings new opportunities to the business landscape. Smart glasses provide a new range of tools to make employees safer and more efficient.
Firms like RealWear, Vuzix, and Iristick deploy smart glasses to enterprise and industrial clients worldwide. Smart glasses enable workers to access various applications to support a procedure, repair operation, or training exercise.
When equipped with smart glasses, frontline workers can access AR-powered remote guidance tools hands-free while working on equipment. A field technician could access various resources such as manuals, CADs, and live remote guidance from an expert or tutor.
With remote guidance AR technology, frontline workers can access real-time information about a machine or tool. On the other hand, healthcare trainees are adopting AR applications to support trainee programs.
A Guide to Augmented Reality 101
AR applications are different to virtual reality (VR) experiences. With AR, an application does not entirely replace the environment around a user with digital content. Instead, applications overlay individual virtual assets onto a physical space.
A Snap Inc. report expects 75 percent of worldwide audiences and almost 100 percent of questioned smartphone users to turn into frequent AR users by 2025. AR is particularly accessible for many companies and brands compared to VR.
While smart glasses and wearables are becoming more common, it’s also possible for immersive developers to build AR experiences on smartphones with toolkits like AR Kit and Core.
Augmented Reality Trend
Interest in AR is growing incredibly – particularly in recent years. Companies are searching for new ways to connect with customers, and brands are hunting down tools for collaboration in a hybrid and remote working environment. For many, AR is becoming an increasingly attractive solution.
As demand for AR increases, trends are beginning to emerge, such as an increased interest in smart glasses. The emerging hardware promises to bring a new dimension to AR without holding a smartphone, bringing computing from the hand to the head.
With smart glasses and other AR wearables, it’s easy to operate with extra information while maintaining a hands-free experience. Additionally, smart glasses are starting to implement hand and eye-tracking from specialists like Tobii to provide a hands-free user experience.
AR glasses are also becoming increasingly sleek, lightweight, and comfortable. While AR devices are still a luxury commodity, the market is increasing in availability via manufacturers like RealWear and Nreal, which are improving awareness.
Improved connectivity plays a crucial role in the AR landscape. For mobile XR hardware, movement and mobility are vital. More and more AR applications are focusing on outdoor use. Niantic is following from its Pokemon: Go success by prototyping an outdoor AR device in collaboration with Qualcomm.
5G and other high-quality connectivity options will enable increasingly lighter smart glasses to render higher-quality AR content. With the rise of 5G, cloud rendering, and computing, smart glasses can access 3D data from the cloud.
Chinese smart glasses manufacturer Nreal is partnering with various broadcasting groups to enhance sporting events with integrated AR content. Notably, the firm worked with Orange to augment the Tour de France 2022 and expand the region’s 5G coverage as part of the project.
Furthermore, powerful integrated technology is crucial to the success of AR adoption for enterprises and consumers.
One example is LiDAR technology which plays a significant role in consumer AR and immersive marketing campaigns. LiDAR is also enhancing AR application development and distribution. Apple is already leveraging LiDAR to improve their apps’ light and detection range.
Moreover, industry 4.0 solutions like photogrammetry drones employ LiDAR scanning technology to assist with maintenance, construction, and smart city planning.
Many AR vendors are present globally that suit various enterprise and consumer use cases – each avenue provides a wealth of opportunities for developers, designers, educators, and marketers.
Some AR hardware vendors, like RealWear, Vuzix, and Iristick, provide enterprise and industrial clients with tools for navigating a potentially hazardous work environment.
Industrial AR hardware comes robust to match an industrial setting. Furthermore, individual brands provide unique solutions to match use cases, such as RealWear’s thermal integration for repair teams.
Enterprise-focused AR vendors also allow other sectors to adopt immersive hardware, thanks to most AR products having a low barrier to entry. Vuzix, for example, provides its product to healthcare staff worldwide.
For consumers, AR devices are still slow in their general adoption period. Nreal, Meta, and HTC VIVE all have competing AR products. While the amount of content available is slim, it’s growing as development becomes streamlined.
There are various AR vendors; readers can find more on XR Today’s featured AR vendors list.
AR can transform all kinds of events and deliver fresh, immersive experiences. More AR-focused events are appearing that enable businesses to get hands-on smart glasses and their integrated components. An immersive technology event is a perfect chance to see what AR is capable of and learn from those most invested in the immersive space.
Elsewhere, AR will likely find its way into various event experiences as an added feature for discovery and inspiration. AR events are also popping up in real-world locations, like NYC NFT, allowing participants to view AR geotagged content as a group using smartphones or smart glasses.
XR Today has a guide to essential augmented reality events occurring worldwide.
A Guide to AR Reviews
With nearly countless options appearing daily, interested buyers must search through various options for AR hardware and content.
That’s why XR Today gathers reviews and comparisons to help a buyer find the best AR software or hardware solution.
Featured AR reviews cover everything from smart glasses and integrated applications. The review page also looks into software development kits (SDK) and tools for building bespoke AR software solutions.
Individuals interested in adopting AR hardware to improve workplace operations must consider various elements. Options like hardware platforms, applications, onboarding, and worker safety play crucial roles in finding a suitable enterprise AR solution.
AR for enterprise comes in various platforms. A firm can adopt a smartphone application to assist with design procedures. On the other hand, repair teams and frontline can use fleets of AR devices to remain connected, receive remote guidance, and access digital resources hands-free.
Additionally, a firm may wish to design its own bespoke AR application for training, marketing, or collaboration purposes. AR SDKs are widely available from firms like Niantic, Nreal, and Qualcomm for a range of XR developers.
On the consumer side, brands can leverage AR applications and hardware to improve audience outreach. Using AR SDKs, firms can create simple AR effects or content that helps to spread the word on a marketing campaign.
Retailers also leverage AR to improve the buyer’s journey. Virtual try-on platforms are increasingly popular, with major high-street firms like Walmart and IKEA adopting AR to enhance customer experiences.
Safety is often a significant concern for people creating XR experiences. VR will always present the hazard of decreased situational awareness. Although AR negates this thanks to its method of overlaying content in real-world environments.
Most AR SDKs contain consideration for geotagged content that allows overlaid visuals to react naturally to a surrounding. Light and ground detection advancements also enable realistic visuals that reflect an individual’s conditions.
Although AR is not without its hazards, individuals distracted by AR visuals via a phone camera may lose focus of their surroundings. Moreover, smart glasses could amplify distractions by presenting many AR visuals that distract a user – but at a lower rate than VR.
Security concerns should also be a factor when adopting enterprise-wide AR. Companies should consider protecting the data collected during AR experiences. Workers using AR to send sensitive company information must ensure that immersive channels remain secure and encrypted. With new AR technology solutions, companies need to consider the surrounding digital security infrastructure.
Augmented Reality Smart Guide
AR is ready to transform experiences for consumers and business users alike. For many companies, AR could remain the most accessible route to immersive hardware and software adoption.
But firms must take the correct steps to secure a place in an immersive evolution.
To transition into AR or learn more about where the environment is going, interested readers can check out XR Today’s complete Augmented Reality Smart Guide for insights and tips.