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Digital Innovators: Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality

August 2019

Once considered fringe technologies, augmented reality and virtual reality are quickly gaining in practicality. The ubiquity of smartphones has enabled widespread AR usage among consumers, while VR hardware has become increasingly affordable. Augmented reality, in particular, has significant potential to improve the consumer experience, while virtual reality has made strides in increasing workplace safety and efficiency, while also becoming more practical for personal entertainment.

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Key Findings

The popularity of augmented reality will continue to rise for years to come

With the increasing ubiquity of smartphones with built-in augmented reality, this technology has grown immensely in popularity, due to its ease of implementation and lack of associated hardware. In contrast to virtual reality, which typically requires expensive hardware, augmented reality has been adapted to be compatible with virtually any smartphone equipped with a camera.

AR/VR applications make it easier for consumers to navigate unfamiliar retail territory

Although some of the most popular applications of AR/VR technology are geared towards frivolity (eg Snapchat filters), they have also shown substantial value in helping consumers navigate the retail environment, literally and figuratively. From map overlays to route optimisation, this technology is making it easier and more efficient for consumers to sample products virtually, find their way through unfamiliar retail locations, and design custom home interiors.

Augmented and virtual reality are improving safety and efficiency in the workplace

AR and VR have made consumers’ lives easier, and show substantial promise for improving the lives of workers and employers. A number of companies have seen early success in implementing augmented and virtual reality in their business processes, from training programmes to manufacturing floors. From foodservice to aerospace engineering, applications of AR/VR technology are improving workflows and increasing operating efficiencies.

Entertainment is still a popular outlet for virtual and augmented reality

Although the number of practical applications for augmented reality and virtual reality are growing rapidly, entertainment still captures a sizeable portion of the market for this technology. AR/VR video games are growing in popularity, and digital streaming services have proved to be an emerging mainstream market presence, with the expansion of live-streamed concerts and sporting events.

Scope of the Digital Consumer
Key findings
The appeal of augmented reality and virtual reality
Perceived benefits of AR/VR technology for commerce
Perceived limitations of AR/VR technology for commerce
Applications of augmented reality and virtual reality
AR/VR headset sales and smartphone ownership
AR/VR in the workplace
AR/VR for entertainment
Augmented reality for product labels and in-store navigation
AR & VR simplify the manufacturing process
Augmented reality finds a niche in foodservice
Augmented reality merges form and function
Virtual reality live streams put you in the front row
Augmented reality expedites decision making
Augmented reality meets interior design and event planning
Virtual reality helps brands optimize product placement
Key takeaways and future opportunities
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