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AR market gets a boost from pandemic

Expected growth of AR market after considering the pandemic effect. As shown, the pandemic will increase adoption of AR technologies, most notably in manufacturing industry and this will push adoption also in other sectors. Image credit: Statista – Global market spend on extended reality (XR) technologies 2018-2023, by industry.

Augmented Reality is … real. there are now plenty of applications like:

  • Surgery training and surgery assistance. Companies like Medacta are releasing tools and platforms to deliver AR (and VR) to surgeons and training students. Just few days ago the first knee replacement surgery was successfully completed using AR to assist the surgeon.
  • Real Estate. There are now several real estates that have adopted AR. Their problem is, of course, that their customers do not have appropriate devices for using AR so they have to render AR using smartphones and tablets screen, which is good but not that good. You can take a look at the features offered by AR in real estate here. There is also a surge for VR in Real Estate but here the issue of customers lacking appropriate devices is even stronger,
  • Related to Real Estate is the adoption of AR and VR in architecture and construction. Owners have the possibility of seeing their future home/office base efore it is actually built and as it is being built, even deciding how to landscape the garden and what furniture to place in the living room. possibly leading to fine tuning of windows size… Constructors can better plan the layout of future constructions using AR.
  • Industry training. There is a broad variety of needs for training, from the waning expertise in some fields with those having that crucial expertise retiring and creating a skill gap, to the growing complexity of training workers as their tools and activities keep changing. AR can become an important facilitator in training. For its complexity and need to ensure precise maintenance the aerospace industry has been a fore runner in adoption of AR and keeps its leading edge today. Under the pandemic pressure governments are also shifting to use AR/VR for training.
  • Job training on the workplace. Companies are looking into AR/VR training as a way to decrease cost. There are areas where AR/VR is particularly suitable like repeatable tasks and experience based activities, where mass training is needed (hence justifying the investment of preparing AR material), or where on site personalised training is required overlaying maintenance guides on the workbench.

Yet, in a way it falls short of the promises made some ten years ago when people believed in the announcements of magic glasses and even electronic contact lenses that would havee seamlessly connected us to the cyberspace throughout the day.
These magic devices are nowhere to be seen. The ones that hit the market where felt geeky, not for the every day person. Since Google Glass very little has changed, although a new version is available and some copycats appeared. There has been an uptake in specific niches but the mass market has remain unscathed.

Yet, the global augmented reality software market has reached $8.81 billion in 2019 and this year shall reach $12.62 billion. That’s not peanuts.

The pandemic has pushed people lives to the cyberspace and this is resulting in a growing demand for recreating the sensation of the physical world in the cyberspace. At the same time there is more interest in using the cyberspace in our everyday life and this is expected to push the market growth to 57.92 billion $ by 2023 at a CAGR of 66.19%, a 40% increase over the last two years growth. The areas of gaming, education and marketing are expected to the the ones fostering the growth.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.