Published on July 20th, 2020 | by Emergent Enterprise0
Why is Augmented Reality Taking Such a Long Time to Gain Popularity?
There are many in the tech world that wonder why AR (and in some respects VR) have not become more ubiquitous. This post by Elay Romanov at ARPost shares some ideas as to why AR has not increased in popularity. His points about the “marketing” of AR and its lack of ease of use are exactly right. And, I might add that few developers of AR experiences have launched products with wide-ranging valuable uses. Is that combination out there? A useful, easy-to-access AR solution? Yes, it is.
Photo Source: 9to5Google
More WebAR experiences and a clear communication strategy can help tip the scales.
Here’s a thought-provoking statistic: 70% of Snapchat users (almost 130 million) spend three or more minutes a day using augmented reality. At the same time, less than 25% of the participants in a recent survey reported interacting with AR in the past month.
AR Is Everywhere, but Users Don’t Notice It
Clearly, many people aren’t even aware that they’re using AR. How is this possible? According to a recent poll by ARtillery Intelligence, most AR users (51%) are familiar with the technology thanks to augmented reality features implemented in non-AR apps, such as Snapchat and Instagram. All those dancing hot dogs, rainbows coming out of users’ mouths, and even face masks (later removed from the apps) are only possible thanks to augmented reality.
This says something important about the spread of augmented reality: It’s fast but by no means viral. Specific filters and games may go viral, but not the technology as a whole. Ask yourself this: when buying a new smartphone, do you check in advance if it supports AR? Probably not. This indicates that we still don’t view AR as indispensable.
Is the App-Based Approach to Blame?
Back in 2014, Pepsi went viral with its bus stop AR campaign, with the video alone gathering over 8 million views on YouTube. A screen disguised as a transparent wall of the bus stop “added” gigantic robots, UFOs, and tigers to the streetscape, astounding commuters.
The secret to the campaign’s success was accessibility. You didn’t have to install an app: to experience augmented reality, you just needed to look at the screen.
Another good example is Google’s AR animals. Search “tiger” on Chrome on an ARcore-compatible phone, tap on “View in your space,” and a realistic, roaring tiger will materialize in your room. No app download necessary. No wonder 3D animals went viral during the COVID-19 lockdown.
In contrast, there are over 11,000 such apps in the App Store alone, but only a few of them are known to the casual user. The need to install an app is a strong barrier to adoption – especially if it’s not an app that you plan to use daily.
Augmented Reality Needs Clearer Marketing
According to the same ARtillery Intelligence survey cited before, the majority of non-users of mobile AR simply said that they were not interested in it. At the same time, those who do use augmented reality report very high levels of satisfaction. So why are others not willing to try it?