The state of AR Heading into the new year 2023
The 3D and AR sphere is a very exciting one, as it is constantly changing and new things keep popping up. We at Sayduck focus mainly on eCommerce and retail, but there's much more to it. AR will become more prevalent in 2023. But how much exactly? And where are we headed to? In their August 2022 report, social media company Snap Inc. announced that by 2025 75% of the global population and almost all smartphone users will be frequent AR users. Now that's a critical mass if I ever saw one!
Both 3D and augmented reality are useful in a variety of fields, from eCommerce to gaming, healthcare, and more! And as technology evolves, implementing them in any business becomes easier. So let's have a look at some of the different driving forces and new implementations of the industry, and see where we are at the end of 2022 heading into the new year 2023.
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Metaverse is coming
Meta is one of the major drivers of the industry. The parent company behind social media applications such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp has invested heavily in the field. These investments aim to build the Metaverse, an artificial AR/VR world. While still in its early stages, Metaverse might be the next big thing as it brings together social media, emerging technologies, applications, and games.
Recently Meta released a new VR headset, the Meta Quest Pro. The Meta Quest Pro will be used in the Metaverse and with it, Meta says "The Future got a little closer to the present". The headset is mainly aimed at collaborating, being creative, and "getting things done". Simultaneously, the company announced that it will release another headset early in the year 2023. There are apps and users within the metaverse already, but the critical mass has not been reached yet, and the development continues. Though Meta noted that they are making good progress on the Metaverse, we still have to wait a little longer.
Snap - Have fun with AR
Snap inc., the parent company behind the famous social media application Snapchat is active in the AR scene as well. Their message from the August report was clear: AR is coming, big time. More people will use AR and more businesses will implement AR. Snap itself focuses on “reinventing the camera” and bringing AR filters into the cameras of Snapchat users.
The report also notes that one of the driving factors behind the acceleration of AR into a mainstream technology is how well AR fits the needs of eCommerce businesses. Or even more specifically, the needs of the customers of said eCommerce businesses. In 2023, eCommerce brands face fierce competition online and need to differentiate themselves from their competitors. AR helps create an immersive and memorable experience for website visitors and ultimately helps the customer make better and more informed decisions.
Toyota toying with AR
Toyota implemented AR in its after-market business to upsell and create value for customers. The renowned Japanese car manufacturer has a longer-term goal for the use of augmented reality, but they started with something smaller. Through an app, the customer can see how different optional parts and accessories, for example rims, would look like on their new car.
This saves time and money directly for both parties. Presenting the different customization options in-store can be difficult, so sales personnel can now rely on AR to showcase the different options to clients. This creates value immediately as customers can visualize the add-ons on their new car and try out different versions, and the dealerships are not required to have all the different add-on options in their stores.
Wearable AR for connected teams
In August, Vuzix revealed their Blade 2 Smart Glasses. Designed for the needs of connected workers, the glasses have an AR function built into them in the form of a screen inside the glasses. On top of this, the glasses have noise-canceling microphones and speakers in them and the lenses protect the workers' eyes. The new smart glasses can be used in many fields, such as health care, security, and for training purposes.
Simultaneously, Google is testing the new version of their smart glasses after their previous version failed to meet the criteria of the market. Various industry partners from DHL to Boeing have shown interest in Google's wearable extended reality (XR) glasses. The wearable versions of the industry seem to really be making an entrance, and these two companies are not the only ones in the game at the moment. It will be interesting to see who creates the first set of wearables to meet the market criteria and go "viral".
While we're on the subject of eyes! It's not just glasses that are catching our attention in our field of view, it's also contact lenses. Mojo Vision announced it created an app for its smart contact lenses. The app brings Amazon's Alexa shopping list application directly onto the contact lens and directly onto the eye of the consumer. This allows the consumer to view their shopping list and add or delete items hands-free, in-store, and in real-time. Never wonder about forgotten items anymore!
Industry standard for eCommerce
Retail and eCommerce brands across the board have noticed the benefits of 3D and AR and are competing for the best implementation of these technologies. For example, different furniture companies from IKEA to Wayfair, MSI, and Umage are using 3D and Augmented reality to sell their furniture online. This has become more important to the brands as well as consumers not only because of the pandemic driving people to shop online but also because the evolution of technology. Adding 3D models and AR capabilities to a website is not difficult or expensive.
Some companies implement 3D and AR into their customer journey by adding a 3D viewer and WebAR directly to their website, whereas some companies have opted for a separate app. Either way, it is easy for the consumer to use these technologies, which leads to more time spent on the website, more conversions, and better decisions in overall, while also decreasing the returns. What's not to love about it? We expect the number of companies using 3D viewers and WebAR to grow rapidly in 2023.
Read more about how furniture companies have used 3D and AR to drive sales here.
3D & AR in 2023 and beyond?
It's pretty clear what the future has in store: growth! More people will use AR, more hardware will be developed, and more businesses will implement different versions of AR. In their report, Snap noted that we can expect complete AR ecosystems to be in place eventually. The timeline of all of this is not exact, but as it stands at the end of 2022, different 3D and AR implementations create a competetive edge and massive benefits for companies taking on these new technologies. And it's only going to evolve further from here on out.
A key industry that will see the growth of 3D & AR in 2023 is eCommerce. As consumers will want to shop more and more online, and eCommerce companies are faced with fierce competition, the need for technologies that create an immersive and good eCommerce experience is vital. The use of 3D and AR will set brands apart from their competitors by driving sales, longer website sessions and customer loyalty, and reducing the need for returns.
We look forward to what the future, 2023 and beyond, has in store for the different applications of 3D and augmented reality and how the technology grows. We will most certainly keep our fingers on the pulse to see how different companies implement both 3D and AR as well as XR and VR. Are we going to see smart AR mirrors in clothing stores soon, more wearable items and how can AR do more to drive sales of companies in different industries?
We expect the usage of 3D and AR to grow in 2023