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Outlook for Mobile Augmented Reality Applications

According to the latest market study by Juniper Research, as marketers and retailers are increasingly keen to deploy Augmented Reality (AR) capabilities within their mobile apps and marketing materials, AR applications will generate close to $300 million in revenues globally by 2013.

Juniper assessed how the mobile augmented reality industry has evolved over the past 18 months, as the key players look to specialize and strengthen their business models.

Their market study highlights that while the traditional pay-per-download payment model would continue to account for the largest share of revenues in the near term, the scale of retailer engagement with AR suggested that advertiser spend had up-scaled dramatically in 2012 -- and was poised for further growth next year.

Moreover, Juniper also found that many retailers now perceived AR as a key means of increasing engagement with their customers, both as a means of providing additional product information or in the form of branded virtual games and activities.

That being said, Juniper cautioned that while a lack of consumer awareness of AR remained a key hurdle which needs to be overcome, it was by no means the only barrier to continued growth.

Their assessment of the current environment is that technological limitations of AR-enablers -- such as the phone camera, GPS, digital compasses and markerless tracking -- meant that in many cases, the AR experience was failing to live up to consumer expectations.

Apparently, during Juniper's assessment, even some higher-end smartphone cameras lacked sufficient sensitivity to trigger an AR experience unless light conditions were optimal.

Furthermore, the need to recalibrate digital compasses -- allied to poor in-building functionality of GPS -- means that under certain circumstances the level of location accuracy would not be sufficient for many potential corporate applications.

As a result of their findings, Juniper stated that enterprise adoption of AR apps would likely be somewhat limited in the near term.

Other key findings from the Juniper report include:
  • More than 2.5 billion AR apps to be downloaded to smartphones and tablets per annum by 2017, with games accounting for the largest share of downloads.
  • AR is increasingly being deployed in prototype wearable devices, with Google Glass the most high-profile innovation.

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