“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” — you say, telling the story of something you can’t wrap your head around. For centuries, we used this idiom to express our amusement. Yet we always knew: what we see is quite real. Today, you actually shouldn’t believe your eyes. The borderline between tangible and digital ceases to exist.
Anyone who came of age in the 1990s could hardly imagine that in just a few years, an average child would be carrying a phone in their pocket with far greater capacity than the computers which sent astronauts to the moon. Those 90s kids listening to grunge music from Seattle would have considered augmented reality to be nothing more than science fiction.
In the 21st century, though, augmented reality is here. Pokémon GO craze and trendy Instagram filters appeared to be only the harbingers of the looming revolution. In 2020 and beyond, AR will get deeper into our routine and penetrate more profound markets rather than just mobile gaming and entertainment. Let’s discover approaching trends together.
1. Next-Gen Online Shopping: AR Takes Over Retail
Online shopping is the #1 industry where augmented reality comes into play. Check out how that stylish beige jacket from Asos website looks on you without leaving the comfort of your home. See whether that sofa from IKEA will fit in with the décor of your living room. All is possible now with new Asos and IKEA AR apps.
Asos’s augmented reality feature called Virtual Catwalk was added to the regular Asos mobile app that claims to bring 850+ retail brands to your pocket. Now you can pick an item, choose its design, and try it on the actual model, putting them on a flat surface in front of your smartphone.
IKEA is keeping up by constantly adding new furniture models to their IKEA Place app. With its help, you can place true-to-scale objects in your house and plan the future interior of your rooms using your phone camera alone.
Actual trips to the store can be enhanced with augmented reality technology as well. Scan the insides of your fridge to discover which products you are low on. When you go to the market to buy some groceries, use apps like Dent Reality, which will navigate any store and help you shop with your dietary preferences in mind.
2. AR + Online Gaming = Perfect Match?
As we have discovered from the Pokémon GO example mentioned above, gaming is the area that utilizes augmented reality to the fullest. Aside from Pokémon, there are captivating AR titles like Ingress, Zombies, Run!, and Peronio Pop-Up Book available at Apple, Google, or both app stores.
Wherever video gaming goes, casino gaming is never far behind. Perhaps, you have already heard about live online casinos, which grant a compromise between conventional online gambling and brick-and-mortar casino experience. Gambling sessions in these are run in real-time, by a live casino dealer, and from a real brick-and-mortar studio.
Now they are available only as a regular online stream on your PC or smartphone, but soon this may evolve into a more immersive AR experience, with your living room turning into a casino lobby and a live dealer standing nearby and nicely reminding: “Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen.”
3. AR is a New Dawn for Tourism
Tourism is another area where augmented reality is set to transform the way we experience the world. Your phone will guide you to the recommended hotspots in an unfamiliar town, give extra information about top-rated venues, and tell you what’s the most popular item on the menu as you pass by a restaurant.
Right now, you can already take advantage of some AR apps for travel, most notable of which are World Around Me and Smartify. The first one measures distances between you and the places that you’re looking for. Who will still use Google Maps, if you can take your phone out of a pocket and locate the spot?
Smartify is a virtual gift for museum lovers. For the first time in history, you can use your phone to guide yourself through the world’s most famous art exhibitions at venues like Ben Uri Gallery, The Bowes Museum, and Los Angeles County Museum of Arts. Point your camera at the artwork and instantly discover exciting info about it.
4. AR Revolutionizes Education
This technology can also offer unlimited possibilities when it comes to education and training. Future pilots can experience realistic flight experiences from the ground. Medicine students can study human anatomy. Novice historians can immerse themselves in the past centuries.
The simplest example of AR education was introduced by none other than Google. Now you can search info about wild species and meet a life-sized specimen two feet away from you. If you have an ARCore Android phone, go to Google Chrome and type “tiger”, “elephant”, or whatever animal you want to see. Then click on Google’s suggestion to meet the animal close, and it will appear in front of you in the actual size. Make sure you’re ready for this.
As AR technology starts to spread exponentially, expect that reality will add up a few layers wherever you go. Did you know that 61% of online shoppers prefer to purchase from stores that offer AR previews? 63% also think that augmented reality would improve their overall shopping experience.
And that’s only in retail. With a quite high probability, kids won’t be able to imagine their biology lessons without AR models, while traditional Google Maps will be a thing of the past decade. A new era is approaching, so buckle up!