Augmented Reality (AR) is the latest buzzword in the tech industry. It’s defined as technology that enhances a user’s view of the real world in the form of digital overlays. Businesses are investing heavily in this technology and its potential. Although AR may seem like a far-out, futuristic piece of technology, several businesses are finding ways to make a profit from it.
Your phone can help you decorate
IKEA is one of the first companies to jump on this trend. The European home furnishing chain recently launched a new AR app which takes the guesswork out of re-designing your home. The app allows you to choose pieces of furniture, virtually place them in your home through your smartphone camera, test whether they fit in the room, and more importantly, see if they suit the overall décor. Users can select a variety of colours, textures and prints as well. Currently, the app is limited to furniture that sits on the floor, and is only available for iPhones with iOS 11.
Are you guilty of posting flower crown selfies on Snapchat? Maybe the adorable puppy face? You may be surprised to find out that you’re using AR technology. Something as simple as superimposing a funny image on a user’s face has made the app wildly popular. Its success has even prompted Instagram and Facebook to launch similar AR filters. Instagram stories’ fun filters include a gold crown, koala, nerd glasses, you name it.
Smartphone gaming and AR
If you were catching Squirtles during your lunch breaks, you, too, were using a piece of AR tech. The Pokémon Go launch this past year was one of the biggest success stories in AR. Pokémon Go made $600 million in mobile AR revenue in its first three months alone.
Not only did the Pokémon app already have a huge following (‘90s kids who refuse to grow up), the AR introduced a new type of gaming interactivity that we have yet to see in most smartphone games. We covered Pokémon Go’s overnight success in a blog earlier this year.
AR at retail
Makeup giant Sephora is also capitalizing on the AR trend. The retailer recently updated the Sephora app with a new AR feature that allows users to try on virtual makeup at home. Dubbed the “Sephora Virtual Artist,” the feature, which was co-developed by AR company ModiFace, scans your face, targets your lips and eyes, and previews a host of different looks. If you like the product, you can buy it through the app. Currently you can only play around with lip colours, eyeshadows and false lashes. The latest update also includes “virtual tutorials” which overlays the makeup tutorial on your face, and shows you how to contour, apply highlighter and create winged eyeliner.
Despite AR being new to the retail industry, businesses are beginning to see just how valuable the technology really is. According to Digi-Capital, the AR market is poised to grow to $90 billion by 2020, with revenue coming in from AR hardware sales, retail, enterprise and gaming uses.
So the next time you’re tempted to scoff at the latest announcement of AR tech, try to keep an open mind, because you never know how the latest tech trend might affect your business.
Aileen Ormoc | The Edge Blog