The concept of augmented reality (AR) is still very much in its infancy, but the opportunities it presents in the areas of mobile marketing, commerce and gaming is more than plentiful. How far have we come in bringing AR to fruition and what does the future hold for the concept?
A new report from Juniper Research projects the technology combining the physical world with virtual imagery and information will generate only $2 million in revenue next year, but the projection is set to increase dramatically to nearly $714 million by 2014. By then, most of that revenue will be derived from things like paid application downloads, subscription-based services and advertising, according to Juniper.
Most analysts predict that mobile gaming will be the primary driver behind increased interest in mobile AR, with location-based search coming in at a close second. That location-based relevance will make AR-based ad-networks more attractive to brands and advertisers as well, as the networks can charge higher CPC and CPM rates because of it.
To get to the point of widespread mobile AR functionality, mobile devices have to become able to facilitate the advanced functions that bring AR to life. Growth will be driven by wider adoption of Android phones and the iPhone as well as the spread of technologies like digital compasses and accelerometers that help to power mobile AR. As smartphones become smarter, AR inches closer to becoming a reality.
Another so-called “digital strategist,” Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Partners, predicts mobile is where AR is mostly likely to go mainstream. “Expect Google to develop a product that maps physical products with their online information, making them yet the middleman for Internet advertising — again,” he wrote in a recent post. “Furthermore, it gets really interesting when a brand can ‘hijack’ another company’s brand by creating augmented reality experiences on the boxes of their competitors.”
For now, we can only speculate as to what AR will do for mobile marketing and the mobile industry as a whole, but it will undoubtedly be a game-changer.