The past 12 months have brought about a quickening of announcements and improvements on existing products across the entire augmented reality market. This rate of change makes it difficult to parse through the truly impactful and innovative activity, which this report aims to address. Major hardware announcements have been joined by exciting new ventures in 5G, AI, retail, toys, gaming, and more.
Both consumer and enterprise ecosystems are seeing progression. Enterprise focused hardware players, such as RealWear and Microsoft, continue to carve out their potential value for corporate endeavors through high ROI use cases like remote expertise and training. These enterprise endeavors need backends to help manage devices and utilize collected data, which is where companies like Augmate and Virtualitics come in.
New hardware entrants like North and nReal are chasing the ideal smart glasses form factor, which may not be specifically targeted at consumers but do meet form factor expectations for the space. Others sit somewhere in between: Magic Leap is searching for their next headline with telco partnerships, Mira is taking a mobile VR like approach to AR with a head mounted phone housing, and Niantic (Pokemon Go developers) are expanding their IP into 5G-enabled location based opportunities. Improvements in AR hardware components and manufacturing processes are very welcome, with DeepOptics and DigiLens both active here.