July 1, 2014
Augmented reality was touted as the next big thing when mobile apps started using the technology around five years ago, but it hasn’t fully come into mainstream usage. Juniper Research reports that AR apps attracted around 60 million unique users last year—but sees that number ramping up to 200 million by 2018. And with rising interest in immersive experiences, one of our 10 Trends for 2014, more marketers are experimenting with the technology. As The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year, AR is gaining traction after years stuck in “new-tech purgatory, where ideas loll in the hope of finding mainstream applications.”
Lego is generating some excitement around the upcoming launch of Lego Fusion, which allows users to move real-world creations to a virtual world. In its Milan store, Sephora recently started using an augmented reality mirror that lets customers see how different makeup looks on their face. And a Pepsi Max campaign that outfitted bus shelters in London with screens combining live video of the surrounding street with special effects like tentacles grabbing a pedestrian “might be the best use of augmented reality yet,” as The Verge enthused.
Google Glass and similar devices will fuel further creativity in connecting real and virtual worlds. Epson is marketing its Moverio smart glasses as a “next-generation augmented reality platform.” Leading AR firm Blippar has launched a Games for Glass platform and is working on “real world search” (identifying objects in view and providing relevant information). And Google’s Project Tango—which creates 3D maps of indoor spaces—will pave the way for applications like advanced in-store mapping for shoppers.
Image credit: Lego