Three AR Trends That Will Change Your Life
Augmented Reality (AR) use cases are growing, so much so that Apple CEO Tim Cook continues to boast about the number of AR apps there are available in the app store, which he recently stated as 14,000. It is no secret that Tim is bullish on AR and see’s it as the next big cultural shift in technology.
What makes AR interesting is that it follows the principle of progressive enhancement, a term used in web design that enforces a content experience to as many users as possible, while delivering enhanced experiences based on the maturity or functionality of the device.
So AR works today using our handheld phones, but will deliver a significantly better user experience when observed in smart glasses or immersive displays. In fact, I would go so far to say that consumer AR glasses will provide the ‘flip the switch’ moment that will revolutionize the next frontier of web technology.
While there are many different AR use cases, I would like to suggest three AR trends that are emerging today in mobile phones that will change your lifestyle habits in the near future.
How we shop, how we navigate, and how we look.
1. Spatial Shopping
Visual search is the method of searching in the physical world using image recognition to identify objects. So with apps like Google Lens or Snap Scan, you can point your camera phone to an object and get consumer related info.
I use this all the time to make sure the item I am purchasing is at a good price, or to find the name or model of a product.
The next phase of visual search as it relates to shopping is AR apps that surface relevant info on products such as current items on sale, or items that relate to a specific diet, such as “show me the foods that I can buy that are part of the keto diet.”
With AI intelligence, I may be offered substitute food items, or comparable prices from other retailers. I can get nutritional info on every item as well as listed ingredients for specific food recipes.
The combination of AI and AR will change our shopping experience to help us make the right decisions on healthier food choices as well as getting us the best deals on our purchases.
In addition to enhanced visual search, AR commerce also includes the ability to bring products into our living spaces, also referred to as AR object placement.
Today, we can use AR to place furniture into our homes using mobile apps like IKEA Place, or Amazon AR View.
The next phase of object placement in AR will help us become better interior designers by digitally removing furniture from our spaces and replacing them with new room design options. Shopify is in beta with Room Plan that strips everything from your room to provide a clean canvas for room remodels.
We can envision a future where scanning your room can generate AI suggestions on remodels.. from structural to furniture placement, or even just color paint options.
2. Spatial Navigation
Currently, Google’s Live View or Apple Maps in AR provide spatial directions from our mobile phone that are overlaid on top of real environments.
Navigation apps can also show you landmark information, locate food or shopping stores, or in the case of WikiCompass, provide historic information about places and things around you — perfect as digital tour guides.
As cool as these navigation apps are, the user experience of holding up a smart phone while walking around a city is just a bad idea. It clearly makes sense that navigation is provided in spatial context, but handheld phones are not the right devices for this.
The next phase of spatial navigation comes alive through smart glasses, providing a comfortable hands-free fit that is no different from wearing sunglasses.
AR will change how we navigate cities, shopping centers, and urban streets. AR will change how we discover new places and teach us about the historical context in our travels.
3. Spatial Appearance
While fashion could certainly fit as a genre under shopping via trend #1, there are other use cases where Fashion is more than just a guide for eCommerce. This can include showing you options from your own wardrobe, or designing your own clothes, or maybe virtual character designs that you can share with friends.
Today’s apps include features such as picking an avatar that resembles your body (including a face scan) and then fitting different types of clothes.
Try-on sneaker AR apps like Wanna Kicks are one of the more popular fashion trends, allowing you to virtually see how sneakers may look on your feet.
The next phase of fashion in AR will be super imposing clothes on our bodies in real-time. Virtual fitting mirrors are now available for retail stores and will likely be available in homes once they are affordable.
Makeup apps like Sephora Virtual Artist or YouCam allow you to scan your face and test out different looks. For men, YouCam now has AI and AR-powered virtual try-ons via different beard styles.
The next phase of AR face filtering will allow for real time AI suggestions on hair styles or makeup variations. This will likely evolve to some kind of virtual mirror or smart glass device.
Augmented Reality will change the way we shop, the way we navigate, and the way we look. Many apps have already started delivering these AR trends on mobile phones, but will soon move to more immersive experiences via AR glasses or larger glass displays.