5 Reasons Why Augmented Reality is the Next Big Thing

Augmented reality is a term often bundled together with virtual reality. But unlike VR, which completely immerses the users into a computer-generated interactive world, augmented reality or AR superimposes digital content onto the real world. This enhanced version of reality can  Why Augmented Reality is the Next Big Thing or by using a mobile or a tablet device.

Apple just made a major AR push

Apple has made some pretty big announcements last week during the Worldwide Developers Conference. This includes various hardware updates, as well as new versions of both iOS and watchOS.

But one announcement, in particular, had the entire tech industry talking and that is Apple’s entrance into the augmented reality market.

Apple has announced a new developer framework called ARKit, which allows developers to create augmented reality apps for iPad and iPhone. Tim Cook has already stated that AR is the next big thing and has even compared it to the advent of smartphones. 

What makes this decision rather important is the fact that Apple isn’t trying to push a single device, but rather inject augmented reality into millions of already available devices. This means that ARKit is on its way to become the world’s largest augmented reality platform.

It’s not just Apple who’s shown interest in AR

Apple is not the first company to talk about AR. Microsoft has already released its own AR headset called HoloLens. Although it offers an amazing experience regarding the augmented reality, the HoloLens costs $3,000, and as such, is hardly a product aimed at the average consumer. 

Google too has jumped on the augmented reality train, with its Project Tango. The only issue is that Tango is only available on a select number of phones and it’s still far from being available for commercial use. Apple, however, has gone one step further and offered a solution that doesn’t require any specialized equipment other than an iPhone or an iPad.

The AR/VR scene is blowing up quickly

Setting aside the tech giants and their massive budgets, there are already a couple of small companies who are working on various AR/VR related products. We currently have hand tracking startups including Leap Motion, Manus, and Magic Leap, as well as virtual reality treadmills, such as the one made by Virtuix Omni. Not to mention Meta, an AR startup which is going head to head with Microsoft in order to provide the massive market with consumer grade AR headsets. 

Facebook is jumping on the AR train as well and will soon provide developers with capabilities to create various AR effects that will be used in conjunction with the Facebook app and a smartphone camera.

The possibilities are virtually endless

Augmented reality has enormous potential for industrial, medicinal and military application. Industrial designers could use AR to compare their digital mockups with the physical ones and check for any discrepancies. 

Surgeons could have various important information such as blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen levels right in front of them during an operation. The military is already using similar technology on aircraft to show data such as airspeed, altitude, and the horizon line. Instead of being tied to the aircraft, this technology can be made portable and applied to ground troops as well.

AR has an incredibly large market potential

This technology has already been implemented by various brands to showcase new products and provide their customers with a completely new way of experiencing and using their services. This includes games such as Pokémon GO, but also apps with more practical use, such as Google Translate and Wikitude. 

Star Maps App lets users point their phones at the night sky and gives them detailed information regarding specific stars and constellations. These are just some of the apps currently being developed and tested and we will surely see more of them in the near future.

Augmented reality shows a lot of potentials and although there are currently only a handful of available apps, it safe to say that this is just the beginning of a larger phenomenon that will certainly take over the entire globe. Current AR and VR devices are fairly expensive for the average consumer, but this is all about to change with Apple’s move to push AR onto hundreds of millions of devices already in the hands of customers. 

Whether they will release a dedicated headset of their own, remains to be seen, but the ARKit will become available alongside iOS 11 near the end of the year, which means that 2018 is bound to become the year of augmented reality.

| About the Guest Author:

Nate Vickery is a business technology expert and an online author focused on latest technology trends and startups. He is the editor on Bizzmarkblog.com and a writer for many top-tier online publications, such as The Next Web and Tech In Asia. 

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