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.