AR has seen its ups and downs. The excitement and expectations they spent in 2016 and 2017 were followed by a bad battle in 2018 and 2019. Then where does he leave us now and where are we headed then? Can we determine our current position in the AR life cycle?
Each time this question arises, the explanation is the period of AR’s repentance at the “bottom of frustration” of the Gartner Hype Circle. This is a perfectly valid construct, but it is undoubtedly overused as a feed in almost every conference presentation these days about the state of AR.
So, we have started thinking about the AR life cycle using a different construction: that of a pendulum. Often in early-stage areas, a pendulum shifts in a direction that represents excessive expectations, supply-side saturation and a lot of venture capital (undoubtedly too much).
It then swings in the other direction as part of a reaction to overabundance. This period is determined by the awareness that technology is not ready, nor does it gain the traction it had previously expected. Companies fail to secure additional funding.
2002, a spatial proportion
But once that worst backswing has passed, things move to a happy medium. Markets are moving at a healthy pace, while supply and demand are growing step by step. As gravity pushes the pendulum to the center, market forces force the supply / demand balance.
What follows is a more measurable and realistic market development period. Previous hockey leverage charts give way to slower but more reliable projections of the industry’s revenue. Our ARtillery Intelligence research arm recently published AR and VR forecasts with this thought.
One historical example is the 2000 dot-com bubble. We saw excessive expectations, followed by a period of resistance / recession. But then around 2002, things moved slowly to measure the progress and rise of tech giants like Google, Facebook and the web 2.0 movement.
So this goes back to the question we are now with AR. Although the extent of the pendulum swing in any direction may be smaller, we believe that AR is that sweet spot of 2002 where the worst is behind us and we are (slowly) moving towards healthy growth and balance.
What makes us say that? There are many signs that AR’s 2018-2019 headache hit its high point and that the sector is starting to recover. There are still ways to go, but we are starting to see significant traction and scale in the active use of mobile AR (not just AR-compatible phones).
Installation of components
What are these signals? At the highest level, the biggest message of confidence is money. Technical giants’ investments in AU mark a level of self-motivation that will accelerate technology and move markets to some degree. Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft are on this list.
But this is more of a conceptual label and one we already covered – including a report, a chapter in Charlie Fink’s book, and a presentation at AWE last month. What about more recent and tangible market signals that AU’s attraction and revenue generation are heading in the right direction?
For one, consumer use of AR shows strong signs. In our AR consumer survey with Thrive Analytics, 67% of users reported monthly or more frequency and 78% reported high or very high satisfaction. Active AR users total 334 million, up from 204 million last year.
Facebook meanwhile announced to F8 that it was serving a billion AR of objective commitments over the past year through News Feed, Portal and Messenger. The biggest sleeping giant could be Instagram, where there is fertile ground for AR between a forward-looking camera and a one-time user base.
Snapchat showed an even larger scale with 15 billion AR lens jams over the past year, 142 million daily AR lens users and 500,000 creation lenses to date. And ad dollars follow, given the robust performance for in-depth testing of branded AR lenses.
Speaking of Facebook’s lenses engagement, Google has assigned this number to optical search activations for Google Lens. He also announced that the Lens is capable of locating one billion real-world objects that will continue to grow as long as its optical database.
In fact, Google’s visual search momentum could be the biggest confidence message for AR. Not only does “after the money” provide confidence in the above, but Google shows tangible AR acceleration signs, such as I / O consolidations and announcements.
Visual Search a la Google Lens is also our top choice for potential killer AR applications. As technology improves further and Google continues to place it in the mobile search stream, it could develop into a high-frequency AR utility. And monetization will follow Google’s established playbook.
Back to the pendulum, Google began to generate tremendous value during the early 2000s. This was done at the organic level of the web: the search index. This is where we are now with the AR: pre-Google Index. Could the AR cloud be the organizational layer … and this turning point?
Adding to all of the above, the absolute confidence mark is Apple’s indication that it is working on AR glasses. While they probably won’t come in 2020, their arrival could lift all vessels with AR integration, as Apple tends to make popups with the signature halo.
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Other confidence signals come from the “training wheels” approach, which was addressed in the 2020 projections of our ARtillery Intelligence team. The thought is that successful AR strategies are beginning to show the common characteristic of building on existing consumer behavior.
Instagram is an example. Not only is it a sleeping giant as mentioned, it has already settled a purchase and trading use case, which is now augmented by AR. It will succeed in driving AR ad revenue by adding technology to existing product and discovery behavior.
Another example of the “training wheels” principle is the broader category of wearable products. The current growth of the industry will fuel AR with the acclimatization of users to wear sensors on their bodies. Apple already regulates this use case (AirPods & Watch), as does Snap (Spectacles).
Meanwhile, we see exciting wild cards like the Tilt Five. With CEO Jerri Elsworth’s huge perspective and technical steaks, he plays with the concept of “AR somewhere” as a stepping stone to “AR everywhere”. This incorporates training wheels perhaps more than anything else.
We will be watching closely and reporting daily to continue triangulating where we are in the AR life cycle. In the meantime, check out the latest report from our ARtillery Intelligence research arm, which examines 2019 lessons, prospects for 2020, and further triangulations of AR’s position and course.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkuFCQhmmb4 (/ embed)
Where are we in the AR life cycle? by Mike Boland appeared for the first time on AR Insider.
Credit header image: Tilt Five