The augmented reality (AR) market in industrial industries, specifically the logistics and manufacturing sectors, will reach an inflection point in 2017 and grow by more than 400 percent over the previous year, according to the latest worldwide market study by ABI Research.
This momentum will continue into 2018 with shipments expected to jump from 440,000 in 2017 to more than three million. Given the current growth trajectory, industrial AR shipments are now forecast to reach 16 million by 2021.
This adoption will occur as large multi-national companies -- such as Boeing, DHL, GE, and Shell -- complete trials of the technology alongside the support of device manufacturers and platform vendors.
Augmented Reality Market Development
"Many companies see the potential value of AR within the space, and while a level of misunderstanding surrounding the technology and its capabilities can cause challenges, trials will allow workers to test and understand the benefits of the technology," said Shelli Bernard, research analyst at ABI Research.
According to the ABI assessment, industry players are collaborating to improve education surrounding the technology’s current capabilities, which will ensure that implementations meet an organization's expectations in utilizing augmented reality apps.
The benefits to AR applications in the workforce are currently believed to be substantial. These apps can improve worker safety, streamline workflow processes, and significantly reduce company travel costs through remote expertise solutions.
As application and platform providers like APX Labs, Ubimax, and Vital Enterprises work alongside device manufacturers like Epson and Vuzix to deliver a wider array of solutions, AR use case awareness will continue to grow through successful trials and end user education.
Driving the majority of today's AR implementations in industrial industries are larger, multi-national corporations that have adequate R&D budgets. They will likely experience a substantial ROI from their AR deployments.
Outlook for Industrial AR Use Cases
ABI believes that as the technology continues to prove its worth, this will lead to the development of additional programs in vertical markets. In the near future, AR will demonstrate the most value in specialized fields in which workers are distributed over large geographic areas.
The hands-free support and communication enablement also makes augmented reality technology become valuable for workers involved in manual tasks, such as infrastructure maintenance and new construction.