Do you remember Pokémon Go? Those times in 2016 when you were chasing our good old friend Pikachu down the streets of your city? We bet you did not realize that this game is a pioneer of Augmented Reality (AR) applications made for iOS and Android. In comparison to its revolutionary counterpart — Virtual Reality (VR) — AR is rather invisible. Without fanfare, it steadily breaks into the technology market and seamlessly slips into our lives.
Augmented reality has a great future ahead. According to Webdesigner Depot, 30% of smartphone users in the USA use an AR application on a weekly basis. Such kinds of apps are used by 200 million people worldwide as of 2018. What’s more, Deloitte predicts that augmented reality will generate direct revenue of $1 billion by 2020, which is 10 times more than in 2018.
However, companies which operate in particular niches are more inclined to integrate AR with their business processes than others. In this way, there are some distinctive trends that are growing rapidly. Today we will talk about 4 of them which loom especially large.
- AR in DIY Retail
At do-it-yourself (DIY) and furniture retail, each purchase seems to be a shot in the dark. Of course, you can imagine how this armchair or that poster would look like in your living room and decide whether it will fit in there. But, it’s not possible to “try it on” and decide for sure. Moreover, the longer customers are “chewing” on the purchase, the less likely they’ll buy an item.
The solution was found by two leading companies — ready-to-assemble furniture giant IKEA and French home improvement retailer Leroy Merlin. Both brands have released AR mobile applications – IKEA Place and Leroy Merlin app, respectively. If you decided to buy a piece of furniture for your house or flat, you can download this app and check out if it looks nice in your apartment even without visiting a store.
How does it work? An application uses your smartphone camera and places an item in the chosen position, so you can see an “updated” sight of your house. In so doing, a piece of furniture has the same dimensions, texture, and color as in reality.
Both apps were developed with the use of ARKit, a technology which has been introduced by Apple at the latest Worldwide Developers Conference. It’s not possible to tell about it in a few words, so let’s move to the next paragraph dedicated to Apple AR novelties.
- ARKit and Apple AR Glasses
Apple ARKit was presented along with iOS 11 in the fall of 2017. This is a set of development tools designed specifically to improve the AR experience of iOS users. The technology aims at simplifying the creation of AR apps and making AR accessible to almost every owner of Apple smartphones. As you can read on the official website, it accurately tracks the world around the device and demonstrates a perfect understanding of the scene. On the basis of the gathered data, ARKit integrates the virtual object into reality with incredible precision.
Besides ongoing debates on ARKit, you can hear on the grapevine that Apple will release AR glasses within a couple of years. According to MacRumors, Apple is working on MicroLED panels to use them in the new version of Apple Watch and the new AR device, which has been not announced yet. Bloomberg predicts its introduction in 2019, while Apple declined to comment on the situation.
- AR Gambling
Online gambling is at the peak of its popularity in 2018. Web-based casinos offer their clients a variety of slots and table games present in brick-and-mortar establishments. The only difference–you can play them at home or on-the-go using any device. Still, some people miss these spacious halls full of luxurious furniture, wooden tables, and people in suits. The atmosphere of land-based casinos is what they lack in virtual venues.
Prominent gaming providers have already improved gambling experience by including some “live” elements into their games. The majority of casinos offer live table games involving a dealer, who runs the session and makes it more realistic.
Some gamblers prefer the live version over the classic one because they don’t trust a software random number generator. When it comes to roulette, they would like to see with their own eyes how the ball lands on a winning section. Although the roulette odds are the same regardless of the way the result is generated, they still feel safer when it’s done the “right” way.
But live games still fail to capture the excitement you feel inside a “real-life” casino. To make this experience possible, gaming providers are about to integrate AR into their software. This way, you will be able to generate a slot machine in your living room using your smartphone or even turn your table into roulette using your AR headset.
Even though AR gambling is still in the budding stages, Microgaming seriously considers this idea. The provider even launched the Microgaming AR app, where users can enjoy the interaction with their favorite slot characters built into reality.
- AR in Field Service
Field service seems to be the least entertaining niche in our review, but AR has a truly wide scope of application. Here the technology is intended to improve the education of field service technicians and ease their daily grind, which often includes a lot of repetitive actions.
For example, an augmented reality mobile application can be used as an interactive “how-to” repair a machine, assemble a mechanism, or complete a number of other complex procedures. On the Modern Customer Experience 2017 forum, experts showed how a technician can repair a broken machine by just pointing a smartphone at an item and following the pop-up instructions.
Similar applications may be used at warehouses. The employee will be able to receive tasks through the smartphone and easily find the material needed to be transported, as well as the location.
As we can see, the process of AR integration in business and our everyday lives is unstoppable. In the nearest future, more and more companies will take advantage of this technology in order to improve our life experience. What’s next? Is it possible after 50 years AR will be so widespread, that we won’t be able to distinguish real objects from virtual ones? If you have any ideas in that regard, feel free to share them with us in comments.