While India sees an exciting shift towards digitization, India is looked a one of the top markets by technological companies to expand and deliver innovative services. We are happily embracing technology and what better than a substitute of voice by a real time interaction. As per the dictionary definition, Augmented Realty is a technology that turns the environment around you into a digital interface by placing virtual objects in the real world, in real-time. AR can be seen through a wide variety of experiences like Augmented Reality 3D views which allows users to place life-size 3D models in your environment with or without the use of trackers. AR is maximum times experienced is through gaming. We all have either heard about or played Pokémon Go, which allowed users to catch virtual Pokémon which are hidden throughout a map of the real world. It was one if the biggest AR gaming as on date. AR technology is speedily coming into the mainstream and is being used to display the score overlays on telecasted sports games, pop out 3D emails, photos or text messages on mobile devices, etc. Ink Hunter, WallaMe, Star Chart, Google Translate, Yelp Monocle, etc are some other Augmented Realty apps available.
AR is sometimes confused with VR. It is true that augmented and virtual realities both leverage some of the same types of technology. They both exist to serve the user with an enhanced or enriched experience. While AR enhances the real world setting with virtual interactive elements, VR recreates a different setting digitally. Smartphones, tablets, and even laptops now can be used to enable augmented reality. In comparison to AR, VR has not picked up as yet, despite the huge hype over it. The reason being the hardware ecosystem for it. For AR hardware, industry experts say that it is already there in our hands, our phones so it makes sense to develop AR content. AR space saw a lot of hits with Pokémon Go. As per the media reports, the game that was released in July 2016 garnered over 20 million active users. In India, a lot of startups in gaming are set to launch AR based games. It is the thriving smartphone market of India that has made it encouraging for AR. As per researches, the Indian smartphone market grew 23% in the first quarter of 2016 and the Indian AR and VR market is projected to grow to US$ 90 billion by 2020.
For everyday utility, a lot of companies in different domains are working in the AR space. Be it education, real estate, e-commerce, gaming, etc.; AR has captured everyones interest. Onwers from different domains have shared that they are developing packages with which their customers are comfortable and thus make it a low investment. To attract more eyeballs, a mass market appeal should be made. While the HTC’s Vive headset, and Rift from Facebook’s Oculus were in the limelight at the time of the launch, the sales were not as high as expected. The products were somehow not able to find utility in everyday life. Mainstream apps like Pokemon Go and Snapchat have shown us the consumers’ appetite for augmented reality experiences. In comparison to VR, AR has already incorporated features like spatial mapping, and gesture recognition and above all made it available to the public. The AR ecosystem has also evolved with more startups and platforms, wherein companies are focusing on industry specific problems. Sectors like education, retail, automotive, and medical are just a few of the industries ripe for disruption through the use of AR technology. Lenskart, Imaginate, CommonFloor, Shopsense, Hossup, Reality Premedia, Edge Networks, Fluid AI, Foyr, etc. are some startups that have added AR into their kitty.
In conclusion, AR does sound as a futuristic technology, but the technology has been around for quite some time. The potential audience varies depending on the application of AR. Through a smartphone, it is limited to an audience with suitable handsets, and those willing to download an app. What is certain is that the smartphone population is rising, and with this, the level of processing power is too. More and more consumers are carrying phones capable of displaying augmented reality, and once an app is downloaded and they have scanned their first code, they are far more receptive to future appearances of a code - driven by curiosity. As long as the resulting augmented content remains engaging and innovative, consumers will certainly adopt augmented reality as a new and fun twist to conventional marketing and services.