Being a futurist, early adopter and technology buff is a fun but sometimes tough road to travel, especially when you’re trying to start and grow a business in an untested space.
With the recent rise in the mass popularity and interest in VR, thanks in large part to Oculus Rift, AR is finally starting to come out of hibernation and emerging as a force of its own in marketing, location and entertainment.
To be sure, the term augmented reality itself has been misused and misunderstood. Let’s try to correct and clarify that here…
noun: augmented reality
a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.
If we examine that definition, we see that a modified computer generated image is required. Now if we look at the most popular “AR” app through that lens, it does fit that definition but in actualy reality most people actually turn that feature off by default. There was no real compelling reason to keep it on and the gameplay was the same with or without. Being snarky, my colleagues and I have taken to call this “Supplemental Reality.”
In our view, true augmented reality needs to be linked or anchored to the real world. In other words, something acts as a target where the AR elements will emerge from. Does this mean that it has to be visual? If you go somewhere and a sound plays when you get there is that “augmented”? It could be debated either way. Personally, I think it qualifies but I’m sure I’m in the minority.
The last thing I’ll touch on in this post is the size and speed of uptake of AR. In the long view, AR is supposed to eclipse VR in terms of reach and revenue. People can still interact with the outside world and from anywhere with AR, while VR is fully immersive and not well suited for traveling outside. That said, the hype surrounding both VR and AR has led to overheated market predictions. Devices that merge the two stand the most to gain since they have the best of both worlds.