The problem with Augmented Reality

February 14, 2020

avo blog

Has any technology had more hype than Augmented/Virtual Reality? It seems over the past decade Augmented Reality had a clear path to mainstream success, but what happened?

Poor quality of content

The same reason why people love AR is one of the biggest things holding it back. There's sizzle, novelty, and tricks that make AR exciting to show off but lack any type of usefulness.

Yes seeing a 3d unicorn shoot rainbows out of its horn is pretty fun to show off at a conference but does that move the businesses objective? Most customers we work with don't think about how AR can move their KPI's they focus on brand awareness/experience.

This is fine for companies and AR agencies but troubling for AR because once again it's treated as a one-off endeavor.

A lot of people we talk to get caught up in the "what ifs". What if we had our mascot turned into a 3d model and high five all the students. Well, that's all do-able but now we are talking about tens of thousands of dollars in content and development with no way to tie back ROI.

Often companies do it once, say it was cool and maybe next year they'll do something similar but repeat AR usage is far and few. At AVO, we believe in creating consistent AR experiences that demonstrate ROI.

Minimum viable business models

AR has broad adoption and mass public acceptance but have you ever thought, how are companies using this stuff? You wouldn't be wrong thinking that way, there's a lack of proven business models using AR.

Even marketing still has not achieved a go-to AR platform to enhance marketing campaigns which drives the point home. You could point to games as the leading business model right now using AR but even that hasn't caught on as much as AR wishes.

Pokemon Go broke AR into the mainstream but it wasn't enough to keep people coming back. After the hype died down, retention and repeat usage followed. If your business model can be effective with or without an AR solution more time than not AR will be viewed as a novelty.

A few ways to combat this are one, create a business model that relies on AR or two, create AR experiences that provide ROI and are scalable.

If AR wants companies to think past one-off experience we need to build tools that help companies scale, measure and monetize AR experiences.

Lack of AR tech stacks

Although there is no shortage of AR tech stacks in applications where the big gap occurs is in the browser.

Almost every one of our customers minus museums prefers an app-less experience. Now when you look to build AR in the browser you're met with no real providers.

You can hack things together or if you know how to code you can try AR.js an open-source AR library for the browser but when it comes to plug and play AR in the browser there is nothing.

This is a massive disadvantage for AR because this is where the market is moving but with limited resources. People are becoming more and more wary about downloading an app, let alone an app just to view an experience.

To move the needle forward AR needs to become a community of collaboration between developers.

This will allow for the resources needed to build the tech stacks customers are asking for in months not years.

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