Tech giants are investing billions into AR to offer customers a better immersive experience. Does this signal the next phase of technology?

Key Takeaways:

  • AR could soon become pervasive, influencing most aspects of our lives
  • The AR global market is currently growing at an annual rate of 48.6%
  • Driving this growth is the rising demand for better customer experiences and AR products
  • Augmented reality has the potential for high customer reach and provides tech companies with abundant opportunities for value creation

The global augmented reality market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 48.6% between 2021 and 2028. To put their best foot forward in the race for gaining market share, tech titans like Apple, Google, and Meta are investing billions into developing AR-based products for the future. These companies know they must adopt AR to satisfy growing customer demands and develop state-of-the-art products. Augmented reality isn’t just for gaming anymore; this emerging technology has several applications. Smart factories and self-driving cars have been touted as the main applications of AR. But with advancements in 5G technology, AR’s application extends to the development of consumer-based products such as smart glasses. For example, Google recently acquired the Canadian startup North to advance its vision of ambient computing. Apple is projected to launch Apple Glass between 2023 and 2025. It’s time for organizations to assess how they can apply augmented reality to improve customer experience and in-house operations. Below, we look at why big tech is betting big on the future of AR and what it means for your business.

Augmented reality could soon become pervasive

One major factor driving augmented reality adoption by big tech is optimism about the technology’s future. Apple CEO, Tim Cook, has hinted on several occasions that AR could soon become pervasive. Cook’s view advances from the premise that augmented reality is crucial to both the consumer and enterprise market – a rare phenomenon among emerging technologies. It’s not often we come across a technology that could potentially become indispensable to both consumers and businesses. AR may soon become a necessity in our daily lives, and tech titans are investing billions into the technology to position themselves to tap into its future market.

Abundant opportunities for value creation

Beyond popular applications like Pokémon GO, augmented reality has several use cases in various industries, including healthcare, education, media and entertainment, e-commerce, and manufacturing. The opportunity for value creation in these industries hasn’t been lost on tech titans. In the healthcare industry, for example, big tech is investing in AR to offer technical support to healthcare workers to enable them to collaborate and perform tasks efficiently. A good example is Microsoft HoloLens. In the past, performing complex surgeries was often exhausting and risky due to limited information. With Microsoft HoloLens, surgeons can now collaborate on complex procedures in real-time and pull up information in a sterile environment. This significantly reduces surgical risks, boosting success rates.

Another application of Microsoft HoloLens is facilitating engaging and interactive medical learning experiences. For example, Holo Eye Anatomy – an app developed in collaboration with LV Prasad Eye Institute – enables 3D learning of eye anatomy, helping students gain a more immersive learning experience. Thus, investing in augmented reality enables tech companies to create a meaningful and measurable impact on people’s lives.

Rising demand for better customer experience

Today, maintaining customer relationships is indispensable to business growth. Customer loyalty is declining, with customers quickly switching between services and products. Thus, there’s a need to develop innovative customer engagement solutions. Tech companies are looking toward augmented reality to bridge this gap, as it offers a personalized immersive experience. For example, in 2018, Virgin Holidays’ AR-powered campaign helped the company gain a 40% and 75% increase in email and click-through rates, respectively. Infosys estimates that offering customized products and personalized customer experience could boost an organization’s revenue by six to ten times. With augmented reality, businesses can deliver support systems that allow customers to interact with agents while shopping. Thus, brands can deliver better customer experiences and gain more conversions by applying AR to their processes. 

Benefits of augmented reality in e-commerce

E-commerce promises to be one of the most profitable applications of augmented reality. Amazon is at the forefront of this revolution and has dedicated significant resources to developing Amazon View – an online shopping AR feature. Amazon View offers a  immersive experience, enabling shoppers to render products in their homes or offices straight from Amazon’s website. They can explore and virtually try products before buying. Ultimately, this personalizes online shopping, boosts user engagement, generates more conversions, and reduces return rates. 

When deployed correctly, augmented reality in e-commerce can bridge the gap between the offline and online worlds, and nobody knows this better than Amazon. With AR gradually taking over online shopping, failing to invest in the technology could mean millions or even billions of foregone business opportunities. Moreover, e-tailers who ignore AR risk becoming extinct once the technology becomes mainstream.

Potential for high customer reach

For the most part, people don’t need to adopt any mainstream technology to access augmented reality. The only device they need are smartphones – which most of us already possess – making it easy for companies to reach them. This is an excellent investment incentive since companies only need to create an exciting app to help clients engage with their brand. Thanks to the technology’s high customer reach, investing in AR can potentially yield high ROI.

What does big tech investment in augmented reality mean for your business?

Investment by tech giants generally signals the next step in technological advancement. Augmented reality is disrupting how brands and customers interact and is on the path to improving our quality of life. The immediate ROI and varied applications of AR offer an excellent investment opportunity for businesses. With big tech players betting big on this emerging technology, you should too.

Not sure where to start in your augmented reality journey, or don’t have a specialized team for it? Shockoe can help. We’ll match you with the best AR tech talent to help you integrate augmented reality into your processes for success. Book an appointment today to learn how our product development engineers can help you develop a customized AR strategy to drive your brand’s growth and profitability.

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