Augmented Reality Trends That May Emerge in 2021

Updated: Jan 22

Technology centered on Cross Reality (otherwise known as extended reality, or XR) has come in leaps and bounds recently in terms of realism and immersion. Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) have become somewhat synonymous with the digital age. However, there are differences between the three. For example, MR is the middle ground between AR and VR. But for this article, we’ll be focusing on AR. Augmented Reality is a term that refers to when digital or holographic images are superimposed on the real world. So with that in mind, here are five AR trends we can expect see more of in 2021.

Image credit: Unsplash 1. More AR in the Workplace Although AR/VR sales have taken a massive hit during the pandemic, VR 360 points out that the industry is set to flourish next year. This is due to the benefits that come with using AR/VR while working from home. Can’t make it to the office? No problem. Multiple AR applications make it possible for co-workers to meet as holographs in an augmented reality workspace. In addition, augmented reality is becoming prominent in healthcare now that doctors can practice medical procedures with holographic projections. Architects can also create models via AR technology. And the use of augmented reality in the workplace will continue, especially with how quickly it is evolving.

Image Credit: Modest Tree (featuring Modest Tree Xplorer's AR and VR rendered human body)

2. A Huge Influx of AR Features in Smartphones

If you’ve ever used a filter that puts a silly hat or fancy sunglasses on you, then you’ve used an Augmented reality feature. These are abundant in applications like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. There are also a lot of games that make use of AR technology. Pokémon Go is a perfect example. It took the world by storm, earning millions of dollars through in-app purchases. Other mobile games that use AR are pet games that superimpose your furry friend into your living room.

3. A Shift in the Entertainment Industry We already covered games, but AR also has the potential to cause a shift in the entertainment industry as we know it. Museums have begun offering tours conducted via augmented reality technology, even letting “visitors” get close-ups of the paintings and artifacts. AR Avatars are also rising in popularity. The most recent instance of this involved the opening ceremony of the League of Legends World Championships. Augmented reality idols were shown singing and dancing on a real-world stage, alongside human performers. 4. The Birth and Use of the Earth’s Digital Twin It’s clear to see that XR technology has brought a lot of changes to our daily lives. But what if augmented reality could also make a backup file of it? The AR Cloud is a 3D spatial map of the planet that is continuously updated to ensure that it is always an accurate representation of the Earth. With the AR Cloud, information can be tied to specific locations and logged in any application that is tied to the Cloud.

Image credit: Unsplash 5. Even More Advances to AR With the advent of 5G networks, there are bound to be more breakthroughs in the XR industry. With better connectivity, the use of augmented reality technology during the lockdown becomes more feasible. And with feasibility comes accessibility, which prompts companies to innovate, making use of AR technology. Some have already begun. Companies like Ikea and Sephora have created their own AR initiatives – Ikea Place and Virtual Artist, respectively. Ikea Place allows potential buyers to scan their homes to see if the furniture that they want to buy fits, while Virtual Artist lets customers try on their makeup digitally before they make their purchase. As mobile phones and connectivity continue to develop, we can expect to see a lot of progress with augmented reality, and with XR as a whole. Maybe you’re one of those companies that wants to innovate using augmented reality technologies. Modest Tree has a number of services that feature AR, VR, and 3D modelling. Check them out!

Article contributed by Maddie Cass

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