Five trends in augmented reality

Author: James Murray
Hands holding a tablet with an image of green couch in a living room

Five trends in augmented reality

The impact in the retail buying experience

The augmented reality (AR) trends for 2014 include Google Glass, Innovega iOptik, GoldRun apps, and other AR predictions in retail and beyond.

Augmented reality accessories

By far the world's most anticipated AR accessory is, of course, Google Glass -- the hands-free AR wearable tipped to change the way we explore, remember, and share our day-to-day lives. While the aim is to put Google Glass into the hands -- or onto the faces -- of a mass consumer audience, early financial predictions have suggested that the technology will be simply too expensive to become an everyday item for everyday people. That being said, more optimistic reports have suggested Google's newest gizmo could actually go on sale this April for an affordable $600 USD.

While we all quietly speculate over Google Glass, wearables startup Innovega has already taken the concept a step further, curating contact lenses that interact with full high definition (HD) glasses, which will reportedly read the light from projectors fitted to glasses. While still in early stages of development, we've been told to expect a prototype at CES 2014, so we'll be keeping our eyes peeled.

In-store engagement

As customers increasingly demand a more interactive shopping environment, marketers and retailers are beginning to leverage AR technology to help boost in-store sales. HH Global has recently been developing an augmented reality solution for a high-end, world-leading cosmetics brand -- involving an AR mirror, which allows the customer to see their new potential hair color before purchasing.

We can expect further in-store experiences based around AR in 2014, as consumers continue to make many offline purchases that add ease and convenience to shopping without completely consigning the future of retail to online commerce.

App developments

Retailer H&M has released an augmented reality app, featuring clothing selections, via an app built on the GoldRun platform. App users simply select and capture items snapping a picture allows shoppers to instantly try on outfits virtually and receive discounts on the clothes. We predict that brands will continue to develop apps based on the GoldRun platform, as it allows users to locate, interact, and take photos of GPS-linked virtual objects positioned in the real world.

With its social media capabilities and aim to increase product sales while enhancing brand engagement, it surely won't be long before more and more retailers start to explore the possibilities of AR mobile apps.

Bedroom AR

While 2014 will bring more augmented reality into the high-end shops, it will also begin to cause more of an impact to the purchase decisions of online shoppers. IKEA has announced that they'll be bringing its catalog into shoppers' living rooms later this year for Android and iOS users. By scanning selected pages in the printed catalog, with the app, or by browsing the digital catalogs, users will be able to place furniture from the scope of IKEA products into their own homes.

Luxury marketing firm and AR laboratory, Holition, is creating personalized interactive digital platforms to showcase products. Users are able to virtually try on goods in their own homes such as jewelry. Holition brand director Lynne Murray told Mashable, "We are trying to push AR forward as a tool that realistically encourages the customer to believe in that product — to take ownership in understanding that product."

Live event innovation

We can expect further advances in AR technology at the various live events and trade shows taking place across the globe, not least at the Augmented World Expo the world's largest AR event in California. Chief Executives come together to discuss the future of AR, and how it will being to effect retail, health, education, media, entertainment, travel, and more in 2014.

CES 2014 will be showcasing the previously mentioned Innovega iOptik, and we can expect many more forward-thinking designs to be presented, pushing forward AR developments and realities.