In this post we will introduce what we believe will be the next evolution of the AR/VR market: the Augmented Experience (AR-X). AR-X is an emerging mode for augmenting the physical world beyond the current use of flat screen and smart glasses. For example interactive projections, smart objects , voice and audio. We will explain that the success of mobile applications like Pokemon Go suggest that AR applications on mobile devices will lead the mass-adoption of AR-X market (cf. investment plan announced by Mark Zuckerberg).
Augmented and Virtual Reality: state of the union
2016 was a special year for AR and VR. The combined market grew aggressively and reached 3.9B$. The volume of VR units sold was strong but below the ambition of the major corporations behind (Facebook, Sony, Samsung, Microsoft). Selling millions of units is not enough for these actors who are looking for numbers in the billions of recurrent users. At the same time, in 2016, thanks to Pokemon Go and its 650M downloads, AR made an outstanding performance far above expectation. It demonstrated that tablets and smartphones had the potential to drive mass adoption of the AR applications. Mobile APP based AR presents a set of unique advantages:
- Remove the entry cost to experience AR. Everybody has a smartphone nowadays.
- Give direct access to massive installed base of potential users.
- Leverage a more socially accepted way to consume digital content. People are used to seeing other people with their phone in all occasions. People don’t have to wear additional awkward AR devices or isolate themselves from the world with a VR unit.
This Pokemon Go unicorn was enough to convince most of the players (Apple, Facebook, Samsung, and Google) to reinforce their investments in mobile AR.
From mobile AR to Augmented Experience (AR-X)
AR-X extends the concept of AR by making it more ubiquitous but less intrusive. It will not be necessary for the consumer to use their own device to experience the AR-X. Even a passive customer can be activated by interactive projections or audio.
AR-X leverages additional media to augment the world around you. Such new medias are for example : animated digital projection, voice enable devices, and smart / IoT devices.
We believe AR-X technology represents a brand new way to engage with customers. This new form of communication presents the same capabilities of AR by being highly contextual and personalized but is by nature effortless for the customer.
The following video is a simple implementation of Augmented Experience (AR-X) concept by creating a brand new interactive interface. This prototype was realised by a US creative agency called argodesign.
The AR-X concept and this article is the outcome of the research work done by Nicolas Payen (Founder of the Future Economy Studio) and Gregory Cornelius (founder of Protiotype).