While augmented reality technology has been around for some time, it is only recently that hardware and software have both started ramping up with large tech companies looking to stake a claim in an augmented future.
Most might know augmented reality, or AR, from social messaging apps like Snapchat or Facebook Messenger, or even Pokemon Go. However, more recently companies from Google to Facebook and even to media companies like the New York Times have been looking to experiment with a technology that promises much.
International Data Corp predicts that AR and VR headset sales will soar this year – reaching $27 billion in 2018, a 92 percent increase year over year.
The report considers the industry’s growth across consumer goods, media, education, and government.
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WikiTribune is tracking the rise of AR – with companies experimenting with and investing in the nascent technology.
- AR is already a big feature of Facebook Messenger, allowing people to overlay animations onto their faces while chatting. A similar experience, aimed at businesses is also now available in Messenger and the News Feed. Ty Ahmad-Taylor, vice president of product marketing for Facebook’s global marketing solutions, told Tech Crunch that ads would allow shoppers to see how virtual sunglasses and makeup would look on their own faces. “People traditionally have to go into stores to do this,” Ahmad-Taylor said. “People still really love that experience, but they would like to try it at home” — so this “bridges the gap.”
- The much hyped Magic Leap was founded in 2010 but it was not until this year that it released its AR capable headset. It raised $1.4 billion from a list of investors including Google and China’s Alibaba Group. Its headset Magic Leap One but is aimed at artists and app developers, who can try a limited suite of experiences and develop their own apps for the Magic Leap World store. (The Verge)
- Apple recently released ARKit 2.0, the third version of Apple’s developer platform for AR apps allowing the creation of an array of new concepts for the use of AR. As sales of higher end AR-friendly iPhones increase, so too will the number of AR apps available.
- Google released Google Glass in 2013, moving augmented reality into wearable glasses. However, the technology seemed to be ahead of its time. Those that used the headset were, in some cases, labelled “glass holes.” (New Yorker) Google pulled Google Glass at the end of December 2015.
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- IKEA Place: Customers can choose and place IKEA furniture in their home to see how it will look with life-scale products.
New York Times
- The New York Times is experimenting blending its reporting with the use of AR. It announced its move during the Winter Olympics: ” If photography freed journalists to visually capture important moments, and video allowed us to record sight, sound and motion, then our augmented reality feature goes a step further, making flat images three-dimensional.”
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