Greenlight Insights is saying that revenue from augmented reality (AR) is going to explode from being $3.4 billion in to $36.4 billion just four years later in 2023. That’s an 1100% increase. Most of the revenue, about 65% will come from sales of AR head mounted sets. The remaining 35% will come from content.
These are ambitious numbers. Very ambitious. They’ll also require major changes by consumers. Changes that may not come in time for those predictions to be come realized.
Most feel that the first wave of AR adoption will be from the enterprise. We’ll see solid growth in training in healthcare and in engineering. We’ll see tremendous adoption in real estate. That’s fine, but it won’t result in those numbers.
That leaves the general public as the driving force. I don’t see it happening that quickly. Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore are now best used via smart phones. That’s how consumers will be introduced to AR. Facebook’s camera effects that mirror Snapchat along with their upcoming Facebook Spaces – which is VR – may be enough to satisfy enough consumers who’ll choose to stick with phones for several years longer than what many predict.
Predictions such as these only mean so much without understanding the needs and desires of consumers. AR and VR ARE game changing, but, if the customer is in charge, it will happen on their terms and not on that of equipment providers and content creators. That may mean that tens of millions will be either willing to sacrifice having a smartphone for a head set or they’ll be willing to have – meaning pay for – both a headset and a smartphone.
That won’t happen this fast. Instead I see continued growth in the commercial sector with greater usage with the consumer sector first getting used to AR via new useful apps that they can utilize on their phones. The magic bullet won’t happen that quickly as a headset is larger and maybe burdensome. It covers part of people’s faces and that damn camera may spook others out.
We need to temper our predictions to match consumer preference.