What Exactly Is Mobile AR?
Although mobile augmented reality or mobile AR, is a relatively young technology, it’s still been turning quite a few heads. A lot of this hype has to do with ignorance: There are plenty of people who still don’t understand how to implement it or maximize on its profitability.
The tourism industry, for example, has been an early focus. In fact in 2011, TripAdvisor added an AR feature to its iPad app, while Lonely Planet incorporated similar elements in a few of its travel apps.
“You are most information-starved when you are in a completely new environment,” Vice President of Mobile at Lonely Planet, Jeremy Kreitler said during the 2011 Mobile World Congress. “Those are probably the environments where augmented reality will flourish the most.”
But, still. This leaves us to wonder – what exactly is AR?
Augmented Reality and Its Uses
If you’ve ever played Pokémon Go, then you probably have half of an idea. Augmented reality refers to any technology that superimposes computer-generated content over live images that can be viewed through a camera.
The idea that it only resides behind a camera is a concept in contention, and will likely yield technologies in which AR is accessible through a variety of devices. For chief executive of developer Abukai, Philipp Schloter, AR is an “enabler that sits across many different areas.”
“I always see augmented reality as a new user interface technology, and less as something for which there’s the killer app out there,” Peter Meier, the founder of Metaio added. “For me, this is about accessing and understanding information more easily, and enjoying information that is somehow related to the real world … I don’t think there’s a killer app. This is more like the next touchscreen for mobile phones – more like the next user interface revolution.”
Where is AR Headed?
Location is apparently the biggest market for augmented reality technology at the moment. Taco Bell, for example, followed in Pokémon Go’s footsteps this year with its “Taco Crunch Challenge.” This was an augmented reality game that asked users to collect ingredients for a taco recipe on the company’s menu. The items would appear on users’ screens whenever players entered certain venues around the city of Austin. Once players “caught” all the ingredients, they’d be eligible for a free taco at the restaurant.
Augmented reality opens the door for conversation and it builds communities.
Don’t believe it? A little research on Pokémon Go might change your mind. According to TechCrunch, Pokémon Go not only broke download records, but reached the $500 million mark faster than any app in history.
In 2016, Pokémon Go launched PokéDates, the first ever Pokémon Go dating service. And, it worked in conjunction with the game. Users would sign up on the PokéDates website, answer a few questions about what they’re looking for in a partner, and then fill out a schedule of when they were free to roam the city looking for Pokémon.
The app would then pair users based on their schedules, location, and interests by sending each user a time and location to meet up and play Pokémon Go.
Other Applications of Augmented Reality
In addition to creating relationships, mobile AR is helping patients, too. AccuVein, for example, is a portable vein viewing system that helps medical providers locate patients’ veins more accurately for injections. “Improving patient care and outcomes is why we go to work every day and the AccuVein device will make a difference in allowing us to provide a more comfortable patient experience,” Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital President Tonya Smith said.
In a more recent venture, a Purdue-related startup is creating a platform called Explore! Interactive that uses AR to help K-12 students more effectively learn technology, science, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, subjects.
“Many students think of learning as boring, monotonous lectures with stacks of homework or textbooks. There are no alternatives for students who don’t enjoy or exceed with that kind of learning,” Sam Rosser, a junior at the Purdue Polytechnic Institute said. “If Explore! Interactive can spur positive emotions toward learning at an early age, we can inspire so many kids to do so much better later in their lives. We want to help promote inspiration in children as they learn.”
AR is Here to Stay
With so many areas for augmented reality to not just fit in, but also improve daily life, it is essentially a guarantee that this technology will develop and thrive. From dating, to travel, to healthcare, to education, augmented reality has found its place – even Apple CEO Tim Cook thinks so:
“I do think that a significant portion of the population of developed countries, and eventually all countries, will have AR experiences every day, almost like eating three meals a day. It will become that much a part of you,” he said during his panel at a tech conference in Utah. Take it from a trusted source: Augmented reality is here to stay.