Developer investment in Augmented Reality (AR) applications will total US$670 million this year, according to a new market forecast from ABI Research.
The annual amount is expected to exceed US$2.5 billion in 2018, as AR becomes a more everyday part of mobile experiences, especially in the domain of retail and marketing. This application segment accounts for 68% of the developer spend in 2013, with product enhancement and standalone apps contributing 22% and 10% of the total, respectively.
The most imminent growth driver for AR is cloud computing.
Senior analyst Aapo Markkanen comments:
“The cloud is a natural fit for AR developers, considering how big benefits cloud-based content libraries present for image recognition technologies. The leading SDKs, Qualcomm’s Vuforia and Metaio, introduced cloud recognition capabilities last year, and it’s exactly moves like those that will help bringing AR to the mainstream. Meanwhile, the cloud has always been at the core of Aurasma—HP’s innovative visual browser that is starting to see traction also as a platform for third-party apps.”
Going forward, ABI Research believes that AR will become a significant enabler for the Internet of Everything, and namely big-data analytics. This is an area where AR and data visualizations will have a close connection to the emergent wearable computing products.
Practice director Dan Shey predicts:
“In a world where a countless number of physical objects and structures will be connected by sensors, AR can serve as a visualization medium that will make the sensor data situational, bridged to the real-world surroundings.”
“The consumer aspect is unsurprisingly making most of the headlines here, but we’d expect smart eyewear to initially make more waves in transforming the enterprise. Google Glass, like the smart-glass pioneer Vuzix, will find various use cases in verticals such as engineering, logistics, and healthcare.”