Enterprise will push AR forward, not entertainment

We might look at augmented reality (AR) as another means of entertainment, but it is its business application that will fuel growth for the next five years, a new report suggests.

A new report from Beecham Research, entitled ‘Augmented Reality and Wearable Technology – an operational tool for the enterprise’ suggests that different markets such as manufacturing, healthcare and retail, markets where AR offers a new way for people to interact with information without the use of hands, is where AR is expected to shine in the next five years.

“It is clear that the overall status of the enterprise market for AR and wearable technology is at a tipping point, moving from trials and testbed projects to real commercial deployments,” said Matthew Duke-Woolley, Market Analyst at Beecham Research and author of the report. “While it is still questionable to provide a firm forecast, if this speed of transition accelerates as companies quickly recognise the benefits and return on investment, we believe the market can reach just under $800 million by 2020.”

The report sees heads-up displays in manufacturing, remote assistance of specialist distant engineers and technicians, as well as medical systems which enable surgeons to access crucial data without distractions, key drivers of growth in the coming period.

“Current human-computer interfaces in mobile computing are primarily based around touchscreens, but AR along with WT offers a hands-free computing environment enabling greater interaction with information and the user’s surroundings,” said Saverio Romeo, Principal Analyst at Beecham Research. “We expect to see rapid evolution of smart glasses with more miniaturisation, better field of view and battery life, while there will also be increasing attention on the convergence with virtual reality (VR) technology and the Internet of Things to deliver competitive advantage. Collaboration with AR/VR and IoT players will be crucial.”