2018 and Augmented Reality

A question I get a lot is whether 2018 will be the year augmented reality will truly go mainstream in a big way. My answer is still no for a few reasons.

Most consumers still do not understand what AR is and what it means for them, outside of a few showcase experiences. Google is advertising Star Wars AR stickers on national television ads. The growing popular home design and commerce service Houzz runs ads on TV showing placing furniture using AR to see what it may look like in any room in your house. Similarly, Pokemon Go has been stepping up its advertising lately and showing how players can interact and catch digital Pokemon with an AR experience.

While this is all helpful to drive awareness, and perhaps get consumers to try a few of these experiences, it is going to require a significant number of apps to support and promote AR experiences before we can fully expect consumers to get their heads around its value and the ways they can use AR in their everyday lives.

I’ve said all along that big brands are what will drive AR to the mainstream. This is why I like to use the Star Wars stickers, exclusive to Google Pixel, as an example of a big brand using AR in a way that drives interest with mainstream consumers. Along those lines, the other product that has caught my interest lately is the Lenovo Jedi Challenge. This is a product which why built collaboratively by Disney and Lenovo and is worth keeping an eye on as something that we may see more experimentation around.

If you haven’t seen it, Jedi Challenge is a headset you slip your smartphone into and the Jedi Challenge app reflects the screen onto the headset display in front of your eyes. You then play a series of Star Wars themed games including battling droids and even Darth Vader himself with a lightsaber.

It is truly an innovative augmented reality/mixed reality experience to try if you get a chance. This was the first time I’d experienced a smartphone based AR/MR headset that not only worked but provided a truly unique experience. This is a product I’m keeping a very close eye on in 2018 as we may see more companies take similar approaches with other brands, as well as seeing Disney further develop this as a dedicated gaming platform focused around Augmented Reality.

2018 will remain a year where AR still falls into the experimentation category, or product market fit stage, where the developers and brands will experiment until we find the experience that truly drives it into the mainstream. If I had to guess I’d estimate 2020 as the timeframe where we could see AR truly become a mainstream activity where consumers regularly engage with the digital world through AR experiences.

As most the Tech.pinions team travels to CES next week, augmented reality is one of the main themes I’m going to keep an eye on to get a sense of what to expect with AR in 2018.

Published by

Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio

2 thoughts on “2018 and Augmented Reality”

  1. What’s Taking place i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It positively helpful and it has helped me
    out loads. I am hoping to give a contribution & aid different
    users like its aided me. Great job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *