is augmented reality the future?

Pokémon GO was a worldwide sensation from its launch, and created some pretty weird headlines, my personal favourite of which was “Pokemon Go: Bosnia players warned of minefields” …I think in general, just stay away from minefields as a matter of course....

The jury is still out on whether or not Pokémon Go has had its day in the sun or not. One thing is for sure, it’s changed the way we look at augmented reality (AR) in a big way. Augmented reality is distinct from virtual reality in that it offers users graphical enhancements to their real, physical environment, rather than creating an entirely new environment. So how will augmented reality shape our world in the months to come?

If we look at something called the Gartner Hype Cycle (a graphical representation of tech hype), we can see augmented reality slumping into the “Trough of Disillusionment” (such a wonderful term), essentially signifying that as consumers, we’re over the hype, and until suppliers/creators can come up with a useful application, we might not see the recovery into the “Slope of Enlightenment”.


Case in point, the following examples - two developers in the games industry looking to incorporate AR into their launch

example one:

 example two:

Whilst these are still very cool (well, I think they’re cool) what does it mean for businesses? What place does AR have in the marketing mix? Well, first of all, AR isn’t really as new as we think it is.

Even back in 2013, IKEA were using AR to enhance the retail experience, and in my opinion the retail space is where AR will have the most relevant applications. These AR ‘previews’ not only help to empower the customer during the decision-making process, but also reduce expenses to a business by minimising returns.


Especially in instances where there are high-consideration purchases involved, AR will help a consumer bolster their research phase of the decision making process. Very similar to the IKEA example, a company called Augment have developed an off-the-shelf solution for interior design companies.

One more example, just to make it a round three examples, which illustrates one retailer’s vision for using AR to provide realistic 3D impressions of their entire athletic shoe inventory.

AR’s biggest pro is the available hardware – everyone has a smartphone these days, and that’s all it takes: VR still needs £1,000 of gear minimum for a full VR experience. The biggest con, however, is the app development - you’re looking at a minimum of £10-12k for a very, very basic experience. For now, it’s a big-brand only arena.

So in summary, we’ll see the game designers continue to pump money into the industry over the next six months, whilst the marketers sit back and watch, monitoring the failures and successes of the industry to cherry-pick solutions to fit a business space – if the consumers are a big fat dead wildebeest, then the game devs are the lions, first to pick off the choice cuts. Then we’ll see the big brands, the hyenas in this scenario, step in to pick off the scraps with big wishy-washy brand campaigns that have no real world value, until we, the vultures, swoop down and squabble for any remaining scrap of sinew left on the dying trend - that is, until the next wildebeest dies and the whole cycle starts again…

I think my cycle is far more poetic than Gartner’s.

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Digital Strategy Executive, writer of Nerd Alert, lover of animals, hater of people who say ‘viral’

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