Augmented reality has been around since the 1970’s, but it has only now begun gaining momentum. AR has really begun to shine in the advent of mobile technology, and more businesses are becoming aware of its presence. Commercially, augmented reality has been successful.
Consumers are eager to experience a world enhanced by AR and often take part in the marketing campaigns or games that make use of the technology. Despite its commercial appeal, opinions regarding the actual value of AR vary amongst marketing professionals.
The technology may not be young, but the mobile industry has granted it new life. As such, there is limited data to accurately determine the monetary worth of augmented reality. ABI Research, a worldwide market research firm specializing in the technology sector, attributes AR with an overall value of $350 million. This is a modest sum when compared to the estimates of another market research firm, Juniper Research, who values the technology at $732 million. Still other firms report estimates of $1 billion.
Much of the discrepancy between these estimates lies in the skepticism surrounding the AR technology. While consumers find the superimposed graphical displays enjoyable, there are doubts as to the practicality of the technology. While some car manufacturers, such as BMW, and the U.S. military have taken an interest in the technology, AR is still most often associated with marketing. In that realm, the technology has, thus far, been little more than a gimmick-driven tool to reach a new generation of mobile consumers.
Whether augmented reality will blossom into a full-fledged aspect of society is yet to be seen. One thing is certain: As smart phones continue to become more advances, AR will play a bigger role in mobility.