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Augmented Reality Apps and Content Gain Momentum

The COVID-19 pandemic created many challenges within the enterprise, but it also generated technology application innovation. Augmented Reality (AR) has helped to fuel remote worker enablement, including high-value use cases such as remote assistance, training, and workflow instruction.

Combine this with an increasingly viable consumer AR market over the next few years, the market growth potential is significant. ABI Research estimates that the worldwide augmented reality market will surpass $140 billion in total market value by 2025.

"While enterprise usage has dominated the augmented reality conversation over the past few years, the tides are shifting. All of the tech companies that can shift markets on a global scale are directly involved in AR already, and many are planning more dedicated AR hardware efforts over the next two to three years," said Eric Abbruzzese, research director for ABI Research.

Augmented Reality Market Development

According to the ABI assessment, this growth will eventually switch the leading AR market from enterprise to consumer, benefitting both sides through increased competition and maturity.

Growth patterns around AR hardware and content will back this up over the next five years. Media & Entertainment along with Retail & Marketing are the fastest growing verticals -- Consumer Software & Content and AR Advertising are the fastest growing market segments.

However, enterprise growth isn’t slowing. Healthcare; architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC); manufacturing; and automotive all promise growth between 70 percent and 90 percent CAGR through 2025.

There will not be the same rapid influx of users that the consumer market will see, but increased hardware options coming from that market will spur further adoption, as will a higher familiarity around AR content and technology.

Apple has AR-focused LIDAR sensors on iOS products and ARKit enabling experiences across content types. Google acquired smart glasses maker North, and they still have the Glass for an Enterprise solution and ARCore for content enablement. Also, Facebook announced continuing AR efforts with their Reality Labs smart glasses plans for 2021.

Developments from enterprise vendors continue to grow. PTC, Atheer, Microsoft, Lenovo, Teamviewer, and many others are increasing AR investment and focus, often tweaking pricing structures and business models. Free trials and AR-as-a-service options have been spurred by COVID-19 and are likely to remain.

Furthermore, Facebook, Google, and Apple have built AR foundations in content creation and mobile device enablement, with visions for a ubiquitous augmented reality applications market by 2025.

Consumer market growth will benefit the enterprise, with key AR requirements around the price, ease of use, and overall user value shared among both sides of the emerging marketplace for new services.

Outlook for Augmented Reality Applications Growth

"The latent value of remote enablement AR provides has been expounded, and similar needs in the consumer space will also spur adoption there. These all combine to create significant momentum around AR, rather than the common excitement yet hesitation and immaturity of years before," concludes Abbruzzese.

The distributed workforce trends that are driven by the ongoing global pandemic will create new AR and other emerging technology applications. As an example, I anticipate the exponential growth of remote working adoption will launch more opportunities for workflow streamlining apps and related project management optimization use cases. Clearly, the upside growth potential is vast.

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