AR – Augmented Revolution Trend #5 of 8 from Web Summit

100 million of phones are AR ready in a few years

-Amit Singh, VP Business & Operations for AR & VR at Google

Tim Cook, Apple CEO, has long anticipated that augmented reality (AR), will have a much larger impact than virtual reality (VR) in the coming years. His prediction was confirmed at the Web Summit. Amit Singh, Vice President of Business & Operation for Virtual and Augmented Reality at Google, predicts that there will be an augmented revolution in the near future, with hundreds of millions of smartphones being able to effectively handle AR.


Although VR can create a more immerse experience, AR has a distinct advantage in user friendliness and the community aspect. AR has a lower usage barrier as it doesn’t require any additional products than those we already use today, which allows it to integrate with our everyday life more easily.

VR on other hand, is limited by a pre-defined area and cables, it also disconnects us from the real world completely. The augmented revolution has just started to pick up speed, and there are mainly two factors how the expansion of AR will take place.


1. Hardware penetration

Today, augmented reality is mainly available for the high-end segment, e.g. the latest iPhone, Samsung Galaxy series and Google Pixel smartphones.

Amit Singh suggests that AR will take the next step in hardware penetration and become available for the mid-range segment, followed by the low-end segment when it becomes even more powerful. What we heard less of is in which other products AR will be available for, but most likely we will see different hardware products such as glasses and headsets being AR-compatible.


2. Software development

Both Apple and Android have recently released development platforms ARKit and ARCore respectively, which allow developers to create AR applications for commercial use. Having effective development platforms that everyone is free to use pushes forward the pace that applications can be produced, as well as supporting a more competitive environment.


Google presented their respons to Apple’s ARKit in the end of august, and ARCore has just started to roll out in Googles Pixel phones.


When AR becomes more integrated with our everyday life, more opportunities will arise where different AR-solutions are demanded. By providing development platforms, commercial actors can quickly take action on those business opportunities. The key is that AR doesn’t become a company secret, as setting an industry standard would be difficult and the general development of AR will be much slower due to the lack of availability.


The monetization of AR

The combination of software development and hardware penetration allows for an enormous scalability. We are not required to purchase new products than the smartphones we already use today on a daily basis, new applications can be more easily created thanks to development platforms and faster distributed in AppStore and Google Play.


So far, the monetization from AR mainly comes from games (we haven’t forgot Pokémon Go yet have we?). Amit Singh predicts that this will still be the case, but there will also be many more areas where AR brings business opportunities. As AR becomes mainstream, we can experience our lives through a completely new interface – which can enhance and simplify everyday tasks. We are listing three areas where augmented reality in the future can provide a large impact.


1. AR as a guide

Ever lost your way in the city? With AR, augmented footsteps will guide your way to your desired location. This technique would also be widely applicable in stores as well. Just type or speak which product you are looking for, and the days of running around clueless looking for coconut milk is gone.


2. Product identification

With the help of artificial intelligence, AR can identify any product you are looking at. Whether if you are allergic to nuts and need to know the ingredients of the cookies, or if you can’t find the size and price of a dress, all you need to do is simply look at the products in front of you. No longer will customers need to find an available salesman to get the information. Additionally, it can also alert you about sales offerings or any other information about the company, e.g. how the company works with social responsibility etc.


3. Learning

Lately there has been much buzz about eLearning, and we will definitely see an expansion into this area. For example, using Google Expedition, teachers can bring their classes on field trips to watch a volcano erupt, dinosaurs, or dissect a human body. This is a completely new way to teach, which creates fun, interactive and effective learning experience.


Dinosaurs are not extinct. ZooKazam has developed a teaching platform were you can project animals with AR in the classroom.


These are only a few areas of AR adoption. As this new technology has just started to pick up speed with the tech giants as engines, AR will certainly become a core feature in our everyday life.






Web Summit is the world’s largest tech event, and a global meeting place for the world’s most innovative technology companies and people interested in how disruption can transform their business and everyday lives.

The event takes place during a couple of days each year and Cartina had the chance to be part of it in late 2017. We really got to experience the latest innovations and meet the frontrunners within different areas of technology – resulting in these trends.

This series consists of 8 global mega trends that business leaders, experts, innovators and disruptors talked about during the days in Lisbon. If you want to read the full report, click the button above and we will email it to you.

Here you can read about the previous trends we wrote about:

AI – Doomsday Prophecy

AI – Real World Superhero

Mad Men to Math Men

Monopoly of Innovation


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William Lorenz

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