Ubimax, February 24, 2020
Trend blogs are totally hip and we, too, are looking forward to every new year, hoping the AR bubble will finally burst and the neighbor's cat catches mice with the help of smart glasses. For 2020, it is certain that augmented reality and wearables will again shape the tech landscape for consumers as well as the economy. With a lot of curiosity, we have used the beginning of the year to see what new developments and innovations can be expected in 2020 and have summarized our perspective in the following lines.
AR applications for consumers are on the rise
The year has kicked off with exciting news: Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc. and great AR enthusiast, is convinced about augmented reality being the next big thing in tech industries in the upcoming years. He shared his conviction at several recent events. However, his assessment primarily relates to the use of AR in the consumer sector. It can already be predicted that the number of applications using AR will increase rapidly this year. Especially companies from the retail, entertainment, tourism and hospitality sectors will increasingly experiment with AR applications. They will be used for marketing purposes as well as practical use, such as virtual try-on, in-store navigation, and customer service. Great potential, which Tim Cook lists as well, also exists in the health sector.
New opportunities through 5G technology
How fast the market for AR apps will grow depends on a number of factors. One criterion for the success of AR apps is definitely connectivity, since reliable data exchange is crucial to AR value. This being said, the scope of possibilities offered by AR applications will depend on how quickly the 5G network can be expanded. Realistically speaking, an adaptation will not take place before 2021. The use cases will also need to be developed to extend the current infrastructure beyond the 4G or WiFi capabilities. At the moment, however, the need for 5G simply does not exist for the majority of users.
In the industrial sector, on the other hand, many applications are already more mature. In addition, in a large part of the areas of use, companies do not have to rely on a 5G network, as powerful WiFi can be provided on site. The potential for AR is enormous, especially in the areas of logistics, production, maintenance and remote support. A successful example of 5G-based live remote support is the Smart-Port project, which is testing practical use of 5G applications in the port of Belfast. However, many companies are not yet or not fully exploiting the opportunities offered by the technology.
Innovations on the smart glasses market
This year, there will not be as much action on the hardware market as in previous years. The biggest novelty this year could have been the Apple Glasses. Tim Cook has already said that he is very happy about Apple's recent progress in the development of their ARKit - a development of the former company metaio, whose founder advises Ubimax as part of the Advisory Board. So far, the first Apple Glasses were expected to be released in 2020, but experts consider this unrealistic and do not expect the product to go on sale before 2021. According to the latest rumor, the product might not even be ready for the market until 2023. Competitor North has already announced the Focals 2.0, an update of the first version from 2019, for this year and is currently advertising delivery in 2020. The product is primarily targeting consumers and scores points with its product design, which is strongly based on lifestyle eyewear. It remains to be seen how much the Focals 2.0 have improved over the previous version.
The trend of the year is called AI
The buzzword of the year for the industry is already augmented intelligence. In contrast to artificial intelligence, which is based on machine learning and in which machines are intended to replace humans in the long term, augmented intelligence pursues a different goal: to support humans within industrial processes. But how can the data, collected by artificial intelligence, be used by the human work force? This is where Ubimax comes into play, since the use of smart glasses and other wearables make AI-based information accessible to workers through augmented reality. This additional information ultimately enables workers to make a more informed decision and execute processes effectively.
For us, augmented intelligence represents a huge opportunity to open up new potential for our customers. It remains the trend topic for 2020 and we look forward to further develop this technology with all its possibilities.
We will only know which trends are coming true by the end of the year. But one thing is for sure: 2020 is going to be another exciting year for the AR industry!