Augmented Reality’s biggest trends in 2021
As unlikely as it sounds, the end of 2021 is rapidly approaching, moving the world a little bit farther away from the nightmare of COVID-19 and a little bit closer to a world where the metaverse and mixed reality are more of a common practice.
While virtual reality is celebrated as the next big thing, it is augmented reality that has been making real strides of acceptance and general use so far in 2021.
In 2020, the marketplace for AR in the US alone was valued at $14.7 billion. By 2026, that market is expected to rise to $88.4 billion. Here are some of the top trends for AR that are making waves in 2021.
The 5G network
How do you get people invested in mainstream AR? You roll out the technology that makes it effortless and seamless for them. 5G is only now beginning to hit some markets, and the fact of the matter is that at some point there will be a finite limit to how fast data can travel, but it’s the key to widespread acceptance of AR. Samsung and Apple are already producing more AR devices in anticipation of widespread use of 5G.
AR in Retail
Virtual shopping has gotten very big in the past 18 months, with such well-known brands as Sephora, Kohls, and American Apparel opting to give customers the option of virtual shopping with the ability to see how wardrobe items look on your body even though you are nowhere near the dressing room. It’s not just a whim, either. Virtual fitting room technology is expected to hit $13 billion by the year 2028. Furniture companies are embracing it as well. IKEA is a leader in using AR to let customers see how a piece of furniture would look in a house.
Smart Glasses are not a new trend, but they are becoming more and more acceptable and available in 2021. Facebook has a pair of spectacles that look cool and are reasonably priced that it hopes will help bridge the gap in the near future.
Augmented reality is a perfect fit for things like locating certain items in environments such as warehouses. They also work well with the likes of QR codes, ceiling antenna, and Bluetooth beacons. AR also can help people find their way around unfamiliar locations, such as a trip to the airport or a shopping mall. AR looks like the next big thing in navigation for vehicles as well. Imagine an augmented windshield in your car that tells you where you are, where you are going, alerts you to traffic conditions, and can do other things like check the weather for you. This is already being seen on board planes both commercial and otherwise, allowing pilots the chance to avoid taking time looking down at dial and gauges so they can stay focused on the path ahead.