The buzz around augmented reality (AR) hardware has steadily increased over the last several months, largely amplified by predictions and questions surrounding what the largest players in tech will contribute, and who will become the market leader. However, as Apple delays the expected release of the highly anticipated AR glasses and Microsoft cuts its entire Mixed Reality team, questions of when and how AR hardware will become a part of consumers’ daily lives have shifted.
Dopple CEO, Justin Scott, spoke on his expectations for AR hardware, and how he sees it fitting into the evolving world of the consumer.
Have you tried any AR hardware, current or past?
AR hardware has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with technology and the world around us. The earliest example of AR hardware that I remember trying was Google Glass. Although I initially thought that AR wearables would progress more quickly than they have, advancements in the technology have continued to evolve in other ways. For example, I recently had the chance to try gaming in a fully virtual first-person environment, which was a captivating experience once I adjusted to the technology.
What do you think AR hardware will be able to deliver that our current devices, namely tablets and smartphones, can't deliver?
One of the key advantages of AR hardware is its ability to blur the line between the device and the user, providing a more fluid and natural interaction with the information presented. This can be achieved through light-weight, socially acceptable wearables, such as glasses that reflect a status symbol. For example, Apple has had success in creating fashionable devices with the iPod, iPhone, and earbuds, and there are rumors that their upcoming AR headset will be a major breakthrough in this area.
What types of experiences or uses do you foresee being the most prominent for AR hardware?
In terms of specific use cases, I believe that AR hardware has the potential to greatly enhance entertainment and exercise experiences, providing a more immersive and engaging experience. For example, imagine being able to overlay performance data and community engagement onto a bike ride in Yellowstone.
Additionally, AR hardware has the potential to greatly assist in emergency situations, such as providing firefighters with building structure and fire location information, as well as identifying heat signatures of people trapped inside.
Another potential use case is on-demand discovery and buying. Branded logos can unlock all relevant product information and enable a form of social shopping. The world just became a shopping mall.
What do you believe will be the main driver of adoption for AR hardware? Are there specific audiences you predict to have a higher rate of adoption?
The main driver of adoption for AR hardware will likely be the early adopters or innovators, who are typically tech-savvy individuals living in coastal areas. However, as the Gen Z population, who have grown up with AR, becomes the primary buying demographic, it is likely that brands will have to adapt to this technology in order to remain competitive. Furthermore, as AR hardware is utilized in the workforce, it will likely lead to the creation of new tools and business value.
Will AR hardware take off? Perspectives from the Dopple team
“I think AR glasses will take off, (unlike VR which will take much longer with limited use cases), when the devices are light enough for daily wear. In addition to the need for lightweight & good-looking device specs, there will need to be use cases & experiences for an AR heads-up display for closer to daily wear. Google Maps’ work in AR is a good example of this - being able to see where you should go in a new city, or seeing restaurant ratings pop up before you walk in the door. Personally I’m hoping that by the time I get cataracts, I can get an AR implant instead of having the lens surgery. AR contact lenses are being tested at the Air Force Research Lab.”
-Patrice Hall, Director of Product
"There is potential for AR hardware, but I think we are a ways away from its use as a daily tool. Right now many of the use cases are for fun, not built for long term utility. More effective use cases are being achieved via apps and WebAR, accessible by devices we already carry around. I think until the experience and the use cases become more valuable to everyday living, AR hardware will remain a tertiary form of interaction.``
-Katherine McInnes, Marketing Manager
“AR hardware could find its niche one day, but I think the key will be making it feel natural and non-gimmicky first. Take AR glasses for example: if they're bulky or cause eye strain after a few minutes (or – let's be real – if they're even unfashionable) it'll be a tough sell to anyone outside of hardcore tech enthusiasts.”
-Billy Baggerman, Experience Designer