Augmented Reality is Dead?!
OK let me explain. AR definitely isn't dead, but a shift is occurring, and this is my prediction -
"AR over the next 12 months, augmented reality will become more commonplace, useful and integrated into our everyday lives than ever before."
Augmented Reality (AR) is a medium / platform allow people to superimpose digital content into the real world. You might be familiar with the concept. Snapchat Lenses are a fun way to add bunny ears, face swap or create interesting selfies.
Or maybe you've delved a little deeper and seen how you can view a piece of virtual furniture into your room. Check out the Ikea Place app for a great example of this.
Image Credit Facebook
Essentially anything that let's you see digital content overlaid or integrated into the real world can be defined as augmented reality.
The Shift in AR
AR has been around to years, we tested and played with this back in 2012, and then the hype died down. At that time it felt like a gimmick, and I don't do gimmicks!
In recent years, AR started to emerge once again, mainly down to the advances in tech (smart phones, Android ARCore, Apple AR Kit), which lead to fun apps, such as SnapChat.
Most of the apps have been for entertainment, and really served little other purpose.
But that will change. And it could be driven by Facebook of all people. Facebook launched Spark AR Studio, a way for developers to create augmented reality apps to feature in Facebook and Instagram.
Currently, most of the AR content on Spark AR Studio is "entertainment" based. People are experimenting, testing and having fun.
But what will be interesting is when we see Facebook start to monetise its platform and users. I predict that Facebook will create a centralised AR platform, not only for "funky selfies", but also for business, brands and products.
I mentioned earlier that Ikea have the Place app, where you can preview furniture within a real world. Well others are at it too, such as Wayfair and Amazon
And it's my prediction that Facebook will create something like Wayfair and Amazon , but 1000x greater!
Wayfair and Ikea are all very much self centred, they serve themselves, you can't "shop around". And I can't blame them, why should they.
Amazon and Facebook are potentially very different. These both aren't self centred, they can offer the users anything. So imagine an AR marketplace where you can browse 1000s of items, no matter who produces it.
And don't think AR is just for furniture either. Fashion, art, accessories, paint, hair styles and almost anything else could take advantage of AR.
And then there's the opportunity for augmented reality to do a full circle, and use AR for entertainment, promotion, brand awareness and just good old fun.
Facebook / Instagram is going to be the place to be. If they get it right, they'll be to go-to app for AR, and everyone will want to be on it. Think of it like a business not wanting to be on Google, it just wouldn't happen!
"I believe augmented reality is a huge opportunity for forward thinking retailers to promote their products and brands. The attention will be undervalued to begin with, but trust me, that won't last too long."
So what does this have to do with Punch Digital? Well moving forward, we will be developing augmented reality content on the Spark AR platform. It'll be business like ourselves that will give businesses, brands and products a way to get their content easily onto these platforms, so we're keen to show how this is possible!
Keep your eyes peeled for augmented reality updates!
And if you have an idea, concept or would simply like to know more about augmented reality, then get in touch!