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Forget VR, Augmented Reality is the Next Big Thing

We’ve all heard about virtual reality, but augmented reality is where the hype and money are at, here’s why that is.

Older Augmented Reality

At the moment, augmented reality centres on applications for smartphones, allowing people to use the camera combined with AR software to try on clothes or glasses while buying online, or search for Pokémon. It’s been something of a clunky gimmick, but as tracking and biometric software improve, so too does AR.

The more accurate and powerful the software, the greater the possibilities for AR. Very soon, it’s going to stop being a gimmick, and according to Apple, will influence our lives just as much as the development of the smartphone.

Apple have been prioritising AR for years now, introducing various features into different iterations of the iPhone, and developing new software. Fortunately for them, it’s beginning to catch on, especially in retail, for both online and real-life shopping.

Imagine being able to accurately try something on before you buy it? How about a virtual shopping assistant, allowing you to identify items and direct you around the store to different products? The applications really are endless, and could hugely impact the ways in which we live our lives.

Why’s this coming to your attention now? Put it down to massive developments, launches and investment from the likes of Apple, Facebook, Snapchat and Google.

While VR is going to remain in the realm of the specialised gamer for a long while to come, the applications and uses for straightforward, functional AR are going to be infinitely more widespread. This potential has led to a valuation of the AR industry ranging between $32 and $162 billion, making it very much something worth paying attention to.

Glasses and Headsets

While there have been steps towards creating smart glasses, previous offerings have been the definition of clunky, without the software or technology in place to back up their promises and make them truly useful in day-to-day life. That, combined with their hefty price tags has made tech like the Google Glass something of a weak proposition.

Obviously, the holy grail of AR is always going to be the smart lens. Imagine glasses that look completely normal but allow you to follow directions, or locate the nearest defibrillator in an emergency. It’d make a stunning alternative to satnavs, and could disrupt many industries. As we speak, the technology isn’t there, but Silicon Valley is on the case, as evidenced by some leading patent registrations.

As far as web design and digital marketing is concerned, web design companies and web designers are going to have some serious catching up to do when AR tech starts to get there, as there’s going to be some major browsing and marketing opportunities to be had.

It’s Not Just About Glasses and Phone Screens Either

            With the technology starting to fall in place for AR, and receiving a ton of investment, development and attention, it’s going to start having some incredibly widespread effects across different industries. One of which will automobile windscreens.

Picture driving with a windscreen that highlights risks, or notifies you of nearby bikers. That, combined with Tesla and other car manufactures innovations is going to make for some pretty foolproof driving, and that’s just one of many potential innovations with AR. No wonder all the big tech companies are throwing so much money and effort at AR.