AR Tech: Minimal Barriers, Amazing Opportunity

Sean: Welcome back, Tom. Thanks again for taking time to talk shop about the AR trend and its ever increasing impact on our world.

Given the potential outlined yesterday, it sounds like AR’s an investor’s dream.

Playing devil’s advocate, there have to be some barriers that could limit mass adoption.

You mentioned Google Glass and HoloLens as two advances in AR that haven’t caught on yet. What other adoption barriers is the AR space currently facing?

Tom: Current technology, lack of consumer interest and high costs are all three potential head winds for AR. Successful AR technology needs to be simple, practical, useful and affordable.

The rise and fall of 3-D integrations in visual experiences over the past few years is a good parallel. Yes, 3-D TV is cool, but it’s not practical or user-centric compared with traditional HD TVs.

Another potential barrier could be lack of third-party app development.

App development is expensive. Smaller companies need broader adoption in order to justify investing in app creation. This could stall growth in the AR space.

Sean: Another impediment to broader AR adoption is lack of a universal device platform. A platform being the type of device a person uses to experience AR. Typically a smartphone, hands-free headset or tablet computer.

Will having to develop apps for multiple devices limit the user’s AR experience? I’m envisioning a scenario where app developers decide to only develop software for one platform or the other. Essentially creating market segmentation along a person’s choice of device.

We saw this in the early stages of two other tech spaces: console gaming (Sony vs Microsoft) and personal computers (Mac vs PC).

Tom: I don’t see device specific app development happening anytime soon. Apple and Google are the only major players right now. Both their app development kits are accessible on all current platforms and available to all developers.

Apple and Google will eventually use their core apps to offer different experiences. But this will rarely be the deciding factor in how users choose their device.

Sean: Sounds like AR tech should easily push through these barriers with the right innovations. That’s very promising for investors looking to move into the AR space.

How do you envision the next few years shaping-up for AR? What industries should investors expect to be impacted the most?

Tom: Mobile is and will be the most successful platform for AR over the next five years. During this time frame there will be tons of passive integrations of AR into the user experience.

Over the longer term the user experiences will most likely be a mix of mobile platforms and other devices. Glasses are the obvious first thought, but since each user responds to visual cues differently there may be other innovations that stick better in time.

The vehicle industry is another high-growth area that AR should have significant influence on. Especially as the self-driving car trend gains more steam. Currently we’re already seeing AR used in many vehicles in the form of backup camera graphics and advanced navigation systems. But that’s just scratching the surface of AR’s potential in vehicles.

The internet-of-things (IoT) also has a lot of room to grow with AR. There’s a lot of opportunity in home personalization and display information. Applications such as custom information boards and user-centric interactions, like enhanced personal assistants could start to change the very nature of how we design and live in our homes.

Sean: Very interesting, Tom. Really valuable information for those looking to jump in on the AR trend.

AR is securing footholds in many industries. The best part is we’re just getting started and AR tech could be a gold mine of opportunity.

Tomorrow we’ll wrap up our series with part three as we look at the massive impact AR is having in three specific industries.

The billion-dollar implications will leave you salivating.

For Tomorrow’s Trends Today,

Sean McCloskey
for The Daily Reckoning

The Daily Reckoning