ARX = Next 10 Years

Augmented reality (AR) provides us with an enriched experience. More businesses should be using this new engagement tool to create points of contact between customers and destinations via their ever-present mobile devices.

I regard [Augmented Reality] as a big idea like the smartphone… it’s for everyone.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, in an interview with the Independent, February 10, 2017

September 12, 2017 Apple unveiled its latest iPhones and their features – the iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X (that’s a Roman numeral 10, marking the 10th anniversary of the game-changing iPhone).

From my perspective, the most interesting thing about the latest evolution of the iPhone is the way in which augmented reality (AR) is integrated into the user experience.

The emergence of AR as a mainstream technology presents significant opportunities for businesses.

I view AR like I view the silicon here in my iPhone, it’s not a product per se, it’s a core technology.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, in an interview with the Independent, February 10, 2017

Augmented reality is not new, but it has been brought into the mainstream thanks to 2016 Pokémon Go! craze. (See below for some interesting facts about Pokémon Go.) 

 Snapchat’s ubiquitous filters (which my brother is helpfully demonstrating) are also widely-used AR applications. In that spirit, during the iPhone X product launch, Apple showcased some interesting consumer applications (for example, the ability to see a baseball player’s stats while viewing the game through your phone) and social gaming experiences.

Pokémon Go and Snapchat filters are consumer-facing applications. They offer novelty and entertainment, not function. For AR to be relevant and as integrated into the fabric of our lives as the iPhone and other smart phones have become, we have to move AR from the realm of novelty. As AR applications increase in utility and relevance for consumers, it will become increasingly important for businesses to engage with this technology in their interactions with both consumers and employees.

In February of 2017, Fortune’s “Tech Debate” posed an important question for us to consider:

“What’s the potential of AR from an enterprise point-of-view? Does the crown jewel of AR lie in enterprise applications?”

The number of potential business to business (B2B), business to consumer (B2C) and education/training applications possible through the use of AR is truly mind-boggling.

Since 2016 I have been working in the gamification and AR fields with our platform Play the Field™(PTF), being developed by my company TerraProForma.

PTF combines an engaging and relevant user experience, employing AR and artificial intelligence (AI), with an enterprise solution that addresses a specific business issue: the question of converting mobile engagement to results in the bricks and mortar context. The Apple AR Kit has featured prominently in this work.

A short explainer video can be viewed here.

… I’m excited about Augmented Reality because unlike Virtual Reality which closes the world out, AR allows individuals to be present in the world…

Apple CEO Tim Cook, in an interview with the Independent, February 10, 2017

We all are at the beginning of this adventure, learning how our lives can be transformed – and potentially improved – by AR. One of the reasons that I am so interested in Augmented Reality is its ability to connect people and enhance experiences. AR is not a substitute for real life but has the capacity for enrichment – at home, in the workplace, at school, travelling, and more. Critics suggests that technology is isolating – and it can be – but it can also have the opposite effect. The first popular application of AR – Pokémon Go and Snapchat – are, at their core, social experiences. These social experiences are the underlying benefit of what AR has to offer.

Augmented Reality Advice for Businesses:

For those of you who think Pokémon Go was a fad that has passed think again. Here are a few facts from Tech Crunch:

  • Pokémon Go launched July 2016, breaking download records.
  • The game reached $500 million in revenues faster than any app in history.
  • Revenues for Pokémon Go reached $1 billion in February 2017 – the fastest of any game.
  • The game continued to perform well. By June 2017 revenues reached $1.2 billion.

So our advice is not to dismiss AR as a trend with no real enterprise benefits. 

Businesses, especially those in the experience business like casinos and other entertainment, culture and tourism operators, should be planning to use AR to increase engagement. How can you use the inherently social aspects of AR to improve your relationships with your customers or make your experiences more entertaining and engaging? There are going to be many new applications developed, as a result of, and enabled by, this new technology. The best of those will solve business issues, as we are doing right now in our development of Play the Field™. 

See also: Find, Collect & Win: AR & CX

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