4 Future Uses for Augmented Reality

WE Communications Blog: Technology

— Bella Foxwell 

Augmented reality (AR) isn’t the stuff of Hollywood sci-fi movies – it’s here, and is expected, by 2021, to drive mobile AR over 1 billion users and $60 billion revenue.

The nascent technology places virtual objects onto the real world and lets you interact with them. But aside from Snapchat lenses, in what ways will AR impact our everyday lives? Below are 4 future uses for AR:

1. Recruitment

As the automotive industry transforms – the government has recently announced its clean air strategy banning all new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040 – one car manufacturer is taking a novel approach to recruiting a diverse pool of electronic and software engineers.

Using British band the Gorillaz’s reality app, Jaguar has set applicants two challenges: assemble the Jaguar I-PACE Concept, the company’s soon to be released electric sports car and complete a series of code breaking puzzles.

The first of its kind, this type of job application turns traditional recruitment on its head, enabling brands to assess talent in an innovative and engaging way, and find the right candidates faster.

2. Navigation

A new startup from Oxford is looking for ways to help the one million people worldwide registered blind. A potential replacement for guide dogs, OxSight is testing augmented reality glasses to help the visually impaired recognise and navigate objects in their environment. 

The glasses currently work for those whose vision has degraded over time, amplifying what sight they do have of light, movement or shape. This is done by mapping three-dimensional space in a process not dissimilar to modern game programming, adding cartoon-like layers to the user’s surroundings.

There’s a way for OxSight to go before it’s released to market – including many medical device regulations – but the future looks bright. Especially for those who have reported more confidence and freedom in dark bars and restaurants, and, more importantly, the ability to see familiar faces again.

3. Interior Design

Thanks to Apple’s AR framework ARKit, one developer has created an app that lets users arrange furniture in the real world.

Asher Vollmer’s product is yet to be released, but promises huge potential for decorators, estate agents, architects and interior designers. Watch the tool in action to see how it allows him to pick, choose and change the dimensions of furniture in line with real world dimensions.

4. Dating

The world’s first augmented reality dating app, FlirtAR is able to recognize nearby daters and measure their compatibility in real time all from the point of a smartphone.

It does so by algorithmically combining face recognition technology with geolocation information. Imagine seeing the person of your dreams walking down the street – with FlirtAR, you could open the app, point it at that person and if he or she is a registered user, discover their name, age and interests.  

It will be interesting to see how this app works in the real world – having to hold your smartphone up towards someone as if taking a photo isn’t the subtlest way to begin a courtship.

Clearly, the sky is the limit for AR, and I’ve only covered a fraction of what can be done with this burgeoning technology. But, what relevance do these examples have for us as communicators?

Brand experiences – which we know to be so important in the age of soaring customer expectations, limited time and a wealth of choice – will only become bigger and better with AR. So when planning future campaigns and activations, AR must be part of the planning phase – at least considered – if we want immersive, engaging user experiences that embed a brand in its consumers’ consciousness.