4 Top uses of augmented reality we want to see takeoff
By Phil Voulgaris, Senior Product Marketing Manager, AT&T Developer
Augmented reality (AR) has long sounded like a wildly futuristic concept, but every day we connect with developers across the country who are looking for new ideas for building apps that utilize AR. Developer interest shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially with predictions that AR revenue could hit around $120 billion by 2020 according to the Digi-Capital: Augmented/Virtual Reality Report Q2 2016. With such big money forecasts, the catalogue of AR apps has been quickly growing over the past few years. Today, there are AR apps that do all sorts of things: entertain, educate, and catch Pokemon. While AR apps run the gamut, the truth is we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible. AR is still in its infancy, but if it’s going to takeoff, we think developers should explore these four use cases to allow the industry to reach new heights.
1. Smart City AR Services
The goal of many smart city initiatives is to drive citizen engagement and public transit usage. An AR platform designed for this space has the potential to accomplish both goals through a unique aspect of the technology that has been gaining traction, gamification. Imagine a city app that not only incorporates real-time information from public transit services, but one that actually encourages citizens to get out of their cars and use public transport through a reward points system. Citizens can gain information about transit stops through the app while it simultaneously overlays transit information on their screen as they look at bus stops. Users can gain points for every stop they visit and bus ride they take. The right AR platform with the right levels of gamification has the potential to achieve great increases in public transit usage by actually encouraging people to get out and use the system.
2. Transforming Marketing Experiences with AR
Within the next two to three years, more and more brands are expected to utilize AR apps to bring immersive and personalized experiences to their customers. The trick will be to seamlessly integrate digital elements with the real-world environment surrounding a consumer so that existing content can be enhanced. We’ve seen a few early AR adopters in the marketing space have success. SnapShop, for example, takes advantage of a mobile device’s camera to let consumers overlay pieces of furniture from brands such as IKEA and Crate & Barrel. Blippar is an AR app that you can use to scan the world around you to reveal new information. Overall, AR technology can open up limitless possibilities in the marketing space; imagine hidden content overlaying print advertisements unlocking coupons or promos; or adding a digital buy-button into print ads. AR has the potential to close the gap between the physical and digital marketing worlds.
3. Using AR to Revolutionize Education and Training
In today’s rapidly changing society, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep up-to-date with the newest available information and knowledge. AR, however, has the ability to allow students to access and apply information at the right time and right place that can help maintain efficiencies in both school and business settings. AR is gaining momentum in a multitude of education and training spaces, from K-12 to medical and industrial training, integrating AR into e-learning and other training assets can reap major benefits to society. Picture walking through an Egyptian temple that has been super-imposed onto your existing environment or learning how to repair a jet engine in an immersive environment. We expect AR to play a large role in complex training and education applications, and we think our developer community can help lead the way.
4. Improving Manufacturing and Maintenance Efficiencies with AR
Imagine a factory floor where professionals can quickly access checklists and work manuals, access exact design specifications, and follow step-by-step visual and audio instructions on how to build or repair a piece of equipment. In some ways this imaginary world exists; Lockheed Martin is using Epson’s Moverio BT-200 AR glasses to build the next generation of fighter jets; Microsoft has demonstrated the manufacturing ability of HoloLens by using it to create an object in the virtual world and then digitally transfer that object to a 3-D printer. There is still plenty of potential solutions that haven’t been created that use these AR-enhanced tools to allow manufacturing companies to save money and work more efficiently.
In the not-so-distant future, AR will have numerous applications built around numerous use cases. Smart cities, marketing, education and training, and manufacturing and maintenance are just a few of the first industries we see using AR development thoughtfully. The developers that can continue building out tools for these use cases are the ones who can ultimately bring AR to critical mass. From there, we’ll continue to see countless ways developers will push the bounds of how AR will improve our lives.
For more articles on AR, VR, and all things video, see our new AT&T Video and VR site.