Is AR the Next Big Thing: Gimmick or Real innovation?
Augmented Reality or AR has now broken the mold and marched its way into public consciousness. AR is such an interesting technology because it uses real-world triggers, such as images, codes or even the floor, to display amazing virtual prowess. Kinectra has been working with AR for almost a decade and are pioneers in the space. We have been attending the Augmented Reality Expo in Silicon Valley since 2010 when there were barely a few hundred attendees! The time has come us to share with the world what we know and show what we can accomplish. Before we get to that...how did it become a pivotal tech in 2018?
AR was first introduced into the world in 1968, but it was not the accessible interface of today. Ivan Sutherland, the father of computer graphics, created a headset that could display wireframe drawings. That was the first step in the world of AR, but no one knew what to do with it. AR used in the military, stage productions, film and more. In the 90s, the first big innovation that people could see was the integration of Sportvision’s 1st and 10 line computer system into the NFL. In 2009, the media started to utilize AR as one of the latest trends, they were using it on magazine covers, putting it on walls and more.
Until the 2010's, AR was just a cool concept that people played with. To some extent, every company had some type of AR cards, whether they worked correctly or not was another question. Companies had begun to release practical innovations, such as Volkswagen creating a system to help mechanics repair their cars. One of the first big evolutions to AR was Google Glass. It promised to be a pair of glasses that would change how people interacted with the world around them. Google Glass was not the innovation we were looking for but it was the start. People once again flocked to the practicality of AR. In the summer of 2016, Niantic released Pokemon Go spurring the world to walk, sometimes run, to catch invisible creatures, that could only be seen with a mobile phone.
Pokemon Go proved AR is truly profitable, by making smaller-less-ambiguous AR apps that did not require a new peripheral; the concept is worth a lot of money. Before that, everything with AR was entirely too expensive; Google Glass was $1500 during its peak of the lifecycle. The fact that the profit comes from downloading an app on a mobile device that most people have is not unique, but the application itself can be created to do whatever you wanted in the AR space is. AR is not limited to the mobile space, nor should it be, but it is very profitable on mobile.
Apple released the ARKit in the summer of 2017 and the things people were able to create, once again proved that AR had finally found its place in the mobile space. Google released ARCore later that year, which was Google’s version of ARKit. ARKit and ARCore are frameworks used to develop AR projects on each respective platform. Now that the tools are available to everyone, the question is what can be created and what is the purpose of AR?
At this time, AR can be categorized into three sections gamification, practical application and digital marketing.
Gamification and AR can be described as apps like Pokemon Go, The Machines or Playground AR. They are games, that is it. In terms of monetization, they are highly profitable because of the rise of micro-transactions. There is not much to talk about with games, except the potential for their growth as an industry has increased with the introduction of ARKit and ARCore. They have created other more stable interface for people to interact with.
Practical Application and AR have created their own niche market that is ever expanding. In addition, apps such as AR Measure Kit and Ikea Place have changed the way people interact with everyday things. With AR Measure Kit, people can use their devices as rules, to pinpoint accuracy. With Ikea Place, they are innovating how we shop for furniture, the app shows how a piece of furniture would look anywhere. These are simple innovations, but they show the possibilities.
Digital marketing and AR is something we have subtly gotten used to over the years, with the increase of sponsored Snapchat and Instagram filters. Recently, Snapchat has dedicated time and effort to create more object-oriented AR interfaces, such as Bitmoji people or sponsored attractions. AR Digital marketing is amazing; however, a pitfall may be that it stuck on platforms the ability to use it. Digital marketing and AR is mainly about spending money to make money.
Kinectra has seen AR as the innovation, it has been meant to be for almost a decade. We have worked closely to help create a usable trigger that can show a plethora of information. Using that knowledge, we created an app for some of the largest companies including Pizza Hut, one of largest Infiniti dealerships in America, and many others where we combined our expertise of mobile apps with our knowledge of AR to create outstanding AR experiences. Now more than ever, AR is easier and cheaper to develop for. Kinectra prides itself on the ability of its staff and their expertise to create unbridled experiences. What do you think is possible for you?
The time to invest in AR is now - it is a practical evolution to untapped potential. The possibilities are endless and AR is here to stay. It has already changed the tech world and shifted innovation for the better. Who knows, what will be created next, but this technology is guiding us to the future that we only saw in film.