Augmented Reality-Enabled Mobile Apps Are Key to AR Growth

New York, New York - February 11, 2011

Mobile Augmented Reality (AR) – today epitomized by the overlay of useful information on real-world views seen through a mobile phone’s camera viewfinder – has the potential to transform mobile marketing, online search, tourism, retail, social networking and much more. So far, however, mobile AR is mostly a novelty. The key to real AR market growth, says a new study from ABI Research, is to embed AR into a wide range of apps running on a variety of devices.

According to senior analyst Mark Beccue, “The market for AR barely exists today: 2010 revenue amounted to only $21 million. But if the market develops as we expect, it will generate more than $3 billion in 2016.”

But the AR market won’t get there if it is limited only to dedicated AR apps such as early entrants Layar and Wikitude. Mobile AR functionality and capabilities will improve rapidly and new platforms are emerging to enable app developers to build AR capabilities into all types of apps. This movement will rapidly advance the growth of mobile AR.

How would AR work within other apps? A couple of examples:

·         Navigation: while using a navigation app, you point the phone’s camera at an interesting building. Click on a superimposed “Info” label, and historical info appears.

·         Retail: you are in a big-box retailer, using its proprietary app. Aim the phone-camera at a product, and get information or a 3D demonstration.
“Some say that mobile AR has the potential to become our ‘zero-click interface’ to the ‘Internet of Things’, where many common objects have associated data,” Beccue notes.
Practice director Neil Strother adds: “There is a major opportunity here for retail. It’s also likely that Apple and Google will buy or develop AR engines/platforms as development tools for third-party developers to embed AR capabilities into a broad range of apps. Other players (particularly Mobile Network Operators) could even beat Apple and Google to the punch.”
ABI Research’s new “Mobile Augmented Reality” study examines the drivers and barriers involved in mobile AR, identifies key opportunities for potential players and outlines the core business cases. Critical forecasts include revenue and app downloads.
ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 29 research and advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit, or call +1.516.624.2500.

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