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8 Augmented Reality Trends in 2021

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The concept of augmented reality is no longer new. In the last couple of years, AR has experienced tremendous growth and popularity as big technology giants like Google, Amazon, Apple have adopted the technology. It has certainly made some serious advancements in recent years with the release of applications such as Pokemon Go and products like HoloLens.

In 2020, the AR marketplace was valued at US$14.7 billion and was estimated to touch US$88.4 billion by 2026. According to Statista, by 2023, there will be 1.4 billion mobile AR active users.

Top 8 AR Trends

It is worth exploring the different trends that are surging in the augmented reality market. Below are the top 8 AR trends:

1. 5G Network

When the 5G was still in the ideation phase, it was expected that it would bring AR and VR to the common man just like 3G and 4G networks provided smartphone users the access to social media and different video apps.

With the launch of 5G, that prediction is going in the right direction. The leading OEMs such as Samsung and Apple are expected to contribute to manufacturing more AR devices. According to some sources, Apple is planning to launch Apple Glass AR glasses in 2022 or 2023. AR relies on high capacity, and 5G comes with excellent performance, high visual material, and shorter delay.

2. AR in Retail and Shopping 

Some retail industry companies like American Apparel, Kohls, Sephora, etc. are giving an option to its customers to do virtual shopping. Certain retail stores have also made virtual fitting possible for customers.

With COVID still around, customers are avoiding trying the apparel before buying, and AR is in a great position to solve the issue. Virtual fitting room technology, i.e. virtual try-on, is expected to touch $12.97 billion by the year 2028 at the CAGR of 20.6%.

It is not just applicable for apparel, but also furniture giants, like IKEA, allow customers to view how the furniture will look in their homes using AR technology.

3. Smart Glasses 

Smart glasses have been around for a while now, but they have gained widespread acceptance only recently. With many different devices coming up in 2021, the year is seeing AR smart glasses become more widely available.

Facebook has recently launched spectacles that come with some pretty cool features, and the reasonable cost will make it really affordable to many retail buyers.

4. Augmented Reality in Navigation 

AR offers a number of advantages for indoor navigation. There is a wide range of tools that enhance the user experience like ceiling antennas, QR codes, and Bluetooth beacons. Then there are ARKit and ARCore-based applications that help users find their way in places like shopping malls and airports.

With AR technology, in-store navigation is expected to improve further – the technology will help customers find exactly what they are looking for while shopping.

5. Sports

Major sports leagues, especially baseball leagues, are using AR to get cutting-edge Hawk-Eye baseball plus analytics information into AR experience. AR now can be put in a virtual area with a higher degree of correctness plus realism. This will be possible when exact data around the player’s position and ball on the ground is available throughout the game.

AR can also create holograms of sports players that users can interact with, in their own homes.

6. AR Coming Together With Artificial Intelligence 

There is a high demand for AR software, and this software cannot simply rely on human programming to display virtual objects against the real-world backdrop. This is where machine learning comes into the picture and improves the augmented reality experiences for users significantly.

AR-driven virtual fitting room technology is largely dependent on AI as AI plays a critical role in analyzing users’ facial contours and features.

7. AR in Automobiles 

Auto manufacturers have benefited greatly from augmented reality. AR technologies that have integrated cameras and high-resolution displays not only help with directions but also tell users places of attraction on their journey.

Volvo’s use of the Varjo XR-1 mixed reality headset to display virtual objects to a driver while driving is an interesting example of AR development in the automotive industry. Using such a tool as part of driver education would especially help drivers in developing hazard perception skills. Customers can also experience new vehicles using this technology in their driveway.

8. AR Events

Because of the pandemic, many events were canceled last year. People are still not ready to go to crowded events. AR has helped many companies organize virtual careers and sports events. It has been possible because of WebAR solutions and dedicated apps.

WebAR requires no apps to be downloaded for it to function, and this makes it more accessible to users. AR events provide unique events to the participants as well as allow them to integrate with the organizers just like in person.

Conclusion

Even though we have been hearing and talking about AR for quite some time, we are yet to see its full potential. The consumer market has been shifting towards more interactive experiences in recent years. There have also been improvements in both hardware and software that most developers have begun to take advantage of.

Additionally, augmented reality can be applied to multiple other business and industry areas, as well as be used in conjunction with other innovative technologies. Augmented reality is here to stay, as evidenced by a number of practical applications of mobile AR.

Guest Post
Harikrishna Kundariya

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