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September 03, 2020 11:19

A New Decade With AR technology: What Does 2020 Hold for Consumer AR?

An insight into how AR technology will aid different industries throughout the year such as retail and the automotive industry.

Although AR technology has shown great promise in the past, it hasn't had the easiest of times on its path to be adopted by consumers. The general understanding of AR and how it works has also been quite hard for people to understand, but when used, it is impressive and opens the door to many future possibilities. 

(Image is taken from Ikea Media demonstrating AR furniture placement via their app)

For this reason, there is a great promise for AR technology in 2020, primarily because it can be supported on smartphones in a range of different ways. AR has seen record growth in 2019 and has received much commercial support from major tech giants. In May 2019, the user base for AR supported mobile devices reached 1.5 billion thanks to tech industry players who can give the technology the uplift it deserves. Here's a look at how the promising technology will change the year ahead for consumers. 

AR provides a novel way of shopping, boosting the retail sector.

One of the hottest retail trends to hit 2020 is most definitely AR in retail. Shoppers were expecting AR-enabled shopping technologies by 2020 based on a report from Gartner. Due to the boom in mobile AR and its capabilities, it has given way for greater flexibility in the sector and provided mature and robust technology for this to be possible. Currently, AR has been adopted so widely that retailers, customers, and developers are using the technology so comfortably, making it second nature to their daily experiences. An example of this is the AR Ikea app which allows customers to use AR to see what furniture will look like in their homes before purchasing the item. A report from BRP shows that 48% of consumers have stated that they are more likely to buy from a retailer that provided them with AR experiences. Still, unfortunately, only 15% currently do. Lacoste and Uniqlo have both developed showrooms which allow customers to try their apparel on via AR before buying. This new way of purchasing is sure to change retail as the year progresses. 

AR navigation solutions 

2020 is expected to be the year that consumers will see AR technologies used for navigation. Currently, many smartphone users rely heavily on map services from Google and Apple to navigate around outdoors. However, indoor AIR navigation is thought to be the tech that will blow the consumers away. AR indoor navigation can be used in an array of public places such as Hospitals, Airports, Shopping centers, and Office buildings or University Campuses, offering an extensive portfolio of advantages. London's Gatwick Airport has deployed its very own smartphone solution that provides passengers with routes to and in the terminal to the correct gate using information form the passenger's flight number.

Looking at navigation tools for outdoor use, in August 2019, Google launched a beta on Google Maps, which uses AR for walking. Users can use the camera on their smartphone to see information about things around them in real-time. Advanced technology like this provides consumers with information in a new way, changing the landscape of navigation altogether. The introduction and range of 5G enabled phones available today will also help to increase the use of AR technology.

Popularity in AR kits

Apple and Google have both developed kits that help to standardize the development of AR software and widen the horizon for mobile AR app creation. By doing this, they have tripled the amount of active AR users and have made room for an increasing amount of AR-enabled devices in the market. Technology giants Apple, who brought AR to the mass market of mobile users, secured leadership in the arena of it after unveiling its ARKits. The introduction of these technologies allowed AR smartphones to be placed at the same level as other revolutionary technologies such as AR headsets. Due to this, many smartphone manufacturers anticipate that they will see much improvement in the decade to come in the form of AR adoption as new devices continue to be placed in the market. 

The Automotive industry and AR

Although AR technology was being explored in 2019, it is thought that it will make a very impactful appearance in 2020. Many car manufacturers are toying with the idea of using Ar solutions to better the driving experience of consumers. Some manufacturers are looking into AR technology features that help the driver with accuracy. For example, the use of AR could change the navigation in cars making drivers will be able to see navigations on their windscreens providing live directions. Using a heads-up display means dashboard-mounted displays can project Ar overlays into the drives line of sight. This type of technology can alert motorists of hazards and avoid traffic jams. 

As we can see from the growing trends above, AR technology shows great promise for the future and can positively impact our lives on a whole. There are, of course, some grey areas in concerns with new technology and their deployment into current ways of working. AR-enabled devices tend to come with hefty price tags and can be costly. There are also privacy concerns involved with AR technology and how it is used. Only until the technology is implemented and used on a large scale and over a period of time will we know the exact advantages and disadvantages of it. 

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