The year in Augmented Reality 2019 began with the kind of downfall and darkness that normally signals the end of of something. The landscape of 2019, which we broke earlier this month about the fall of Meta and similar outbreaks of ODG and Blippar, was to a large extent affected by the virtual shrapnel of AR Ventures, which had taken a wrong turn. 19659002] And while layoffs in various industries and generally uncertain economic outlooks have undermined the nerves of tech analysts and startups alike, I have an alternative view of what we saw in the first few months of the new year.
Like many emerging industries, AR is in a correction. Earlier than some think, this correction will lead to an AR reality that many have envisioned in recent years.
Those who were a bit too early and out of fuel have confirmed their original dreams and will try again. Some who have roamed the skunkworks of larger AR projects and are beginning to see the light of day are moving to launch their own AR ambitions. And the bigger players who could afford to spend millions on experimenting with AR have finally realized where their focus should be. They redirect their resources to focus on the foundations of their role in the next stage of the calculation.
The storylines are not tidy and tidy, as some would like. Immersive computing is one of the deepest areas of technology, but to truly understand what's happening, you need to lift your head out of your niche and capture the entire picture.
What do we see? Well, annual forecasts are easy, just follow the money. More difficult to recognize and much more valuable is identifying the areas where the important steps are being taken. How do all the diverging and intersecting lines come together to form the polygons and planes that dissolve into the simulacra that composes our new computer reality?
Here are a few pointers …
The end of AR vs. 1
9659009] Let's start with the simple stuff: categories of emerging technologies.
Although both virtual and augmented reality can be described as edge technologies, despite decades of research and development, Virtual Reality is the technology that has penetrated the mainstream the most in recent years, especially through the efforts of companies such as Facebook (Oculus ), HTC, Google and others.
Meanwhile, because of the similarities in immersive computing dynamics and the focus on visual interfaces as opposed to tactile interfaces, the two categories are often called in the same breath. In fact, a very famous research paper describes the two as existing in the same spectrum. But despite the similarities, the longer you examine them both with a meaningful depth, the more you begin to realize how different these two spaces are.
One refers to becoming another person, in another reality, often with a different face and a different face body. Distance does not mean anything in this dynamic. The laws of physics mean nothing. Now that Nobody's Heaven has been ported to VR, the procedurally-generated virtual universe is your oyster (which makes the idea that it all could be a simulation a more seductive, more realistic concept).
On the other hand Augmented Reality At least encourages us to interact with the real world. Regardless of whether the function is entertainment or work in the enterprise, AR dynamics are usually bound to something rooted in the real world. That's his strength. Of course, many have considered combining these two technologies, and the similarities of both make such a perspective incredibly attractive. The idea of seamlessly switching between virtual worlds and the augmented real world with just one voice command or a blink of an eye seems to be an incredibly strong perspective.
But I suspect that the people who foster such a hybrid device and the daily dynamics most have not spent enough time in both dynamics separately for longer periods of time, examining the practical or missing practices, as well as the various long-term use cases.
Some of these flawed approaches in both areas are reflected in AR experiences that attempt to mirror the dynamics of VR apps. VR approaches (interface, motion, game mechanics, etc.) ported to AR often can not leverage the true powers of AR that are anchored in interacting with the real world around us. I've tested hundreds of VR and AR apps over the years, and it's now common to come across an otherwise polished AR app that lets you see the real world, but you stay in one place or in one limited scope, as you would in VR
Google Glass's original was too weird for some, but at least it aimed to push you through the real world instead of keeping you stationary. With increasing maturity of both spaces we gradually see a decoupling of the two dynamics.
Facebook's new Oculus Quest may add a full-length AR component, but it will not be sold as a function of the new device. Despite its limitations and potentially problematic relationship with Facebook's privacy issues, Oculus Quest has the best chance of getting VR into the mainstream. If this is the case, penetration is unlikely to be part of the near future of this device.
Yes, Michael Abrash of Facebook has rendered renderings of AR / VR hybrid devices as a dream. However, the driving forces of real-world product properties are more than just dreams. In the short term, I do not see this urgent demand for hybrid. (I think the fate of the VR is more likely to be in the direction of highly specialized VR systems, but that's another story.)
Sometimes constraints are not the problem, they are the solution. Focusing on AR as a completely different discipline from VR gives you the opportunity to make much more progress trying to develop engaging and reusable apps and experiences.
Sometimes limitations are not the problem but the solution. By focusing on AR as a completely different discipline from VR, there is a chance to make much greater progress in trying to develop engaging and reusable apps and experiences.
All in all, I envision a day as an AR / VR hybrid Devices can work seamlessly to achieve even more virtual superpowers. For example, Google Earth VR is one of VR's most intriguing applications. With the recently added Street View to the app, this is what we have closest to a van deck today.
Imagine traveling to Paris with Google Earth VR, strolling through the streets, then choosing to turn it on AR mode and interacting with other people in real time (equipped with AR glasses) that actually run through the streets of Paris, all supported by an AR cloud and 5G speeds. They could appear as a ghost-like avatar and could swing down a real person to ask for a local business. Location data and the AR cloud would allow you and the localized person to behave as if you were both in the same city. And when you're done, you can switch back to VR mode, set up a giant globe and transport your avatar to Chile.
This reality is not only possible in the future, but probable. AR apps like Spatial and others give us an indication of what that reality might look like in the future.
But in the near future, in order to strengthen both platforms and educate the masses, Baby enters into each one will probably be the best way to enlighten the mainstream about each and every one's unique abilities. By focusing on the two as separate disciplines, we can avoid the identity crisis that some of the failed hybrid devices of history suffer, and accelerate the growth of AR and VR as they move toward the same unavoidable goal – interactive "everything."
Perception: AR and VR are two sides of the same coin, hybrid AR / VR devices are inevitable.
Next Reality: Common Developers but Different Users and Increasing Separation in the Near Future  NEXT: THE FUTURE OF AR CLOUD – A THOUSANDS OF GARDEN FLOWER