Augmented Reality (AR) merges the real world with computer-generated images and sounds. AR got off to a rocky start with Google Glass. But the potential applications were shown, and the technology has been demonstrated. It took a few years for AR to emerge again and it did so without warning as most of the focus had been on Virtual Reality (VR).
In 2016 Both HoloLens and Pokémon Go were released, and both were necessary for AR in different ways. First HoloLens demonstrated practical and manipulable holograms. The games, home use, and art projects are just gimmicks to show to the general public the potential capabilities. The workplace is where it’s real value is. We’ll be cautious about its future as an off-the-shelf product. Here are a few serious use cases:
- In military briefings.
- Mobile engineers needing assistance or on-site training.
- Architecture design.
- Demonstrating 3D models of any manufacturing project to clients.
- Education, both institutional and workplace training.
Expect the HoloLens to be in workplaces across the world by 2023, with it being ‘essential’ to some companies and industries by 2025. This will ensure Microsoft’s dominance of the workplace for many years to come. Because of the significant business benefits, investment will continue to push the boundaries of AR.
Pokémon Go was vital for a different reason. The AR was minimal, placing Pokémon in the real world through a phone camera. But it exposed AR to millions of people, increasing the interest in the area and making business take note. In turn, leads to more AR projects funding and the area getting a boost in research.
Once HoloLens come out of development and into the workplace, it will start to filter out into other parts of our lives. In the next 10 years, Google Glass will return, or a similar product will emerge. We also expect Apple to enter this space with Apple Glass (or Apple Lense). The problem is that outside of work or games there is limited use for AR. A navigation device is perhaps the most likely, but if it costs more than $500, then people will find it hard to justify when they can just use their phone.
Unless the augmented reality glasses become a replacement for the phone. We don’t anticipate this being very likely.
In the late 2020s, the Martian missions will give a boost to futurist fashion allowing the wearable tech market to grow faster. As AR headsets go mass-market AR porn will become more prevalent.
A head-mounted AR device will cost the equivalent of $200-300 (Apple Glass will be $400-600) and the applications will become numerous. People will have become very used to talking with their personal AI assistants by this time, and the AR devices will have them built-in. Speech recognition technology will work most the time, so there won’t be a need to have controls on the AR device.
Precarious Prediction: By the 2030s AR devices will replace many smartphones. They will take photos and videos, make calls, allow you to browse the web and social media. Smartwatches will still be the most optimal device for exercise. If Neuralink is successful, we expect AR devices to be controlled by the user’s implant.