Many are confident that AR is set to play a key role in our day-to-day lives but there are valid reasons that could stand in the way of this tech proving a success. We’ve identified the top risks to AR as we see them and how we believe they could be overcome:
1. The novelty factor wears off
While AR is new, cool and fascinating, we imagine plenty of people will be keen to try this new tech on for size. The difficulty comes once the novelty has worn off and the reality of wearing cumbersome headsets sets in. Anyone remember Google Glass? However, we believe that lessons can be learned from Google Glass; look at how Snap Inc has evolved as a result – sticking to consumer sunglasses instead of those unattractive glasses. Also, as AR becomes more useful, boosting productivity and enhancing daily life, consumers may not be as concerned about the way they look.
2. Experience not up to scratch
If the AR experience is impaired by inaccurate computer vision, poor resolution or a breakdown in human/computer interaction, it could leave users feeling nauseated or disappointed. However, it is early days and it would be a mistake to judge the quality of the user experience too early – just look at the clunky early e-readers compared to the modern day Kindle. The world of technology changes often and fast – the AR experience will be very different a few more years from now.
3. Sizing issues
The AR dream is a headset the size of a normal (and hopefully stylish) pair of glasses, but issues with miniaturising without losing quality means that components can’t be made quickly enough. But let’s face it – the best minds in the industry are on this problem. Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook do not want to miss out on seizing a piece of the lucrative AR pie – the pressure will be enough to drive these giants on to miniaturising faster and with success.
4. Digital overload
From TVs to smartphones to laptops, it seems like we’re connected every step of the way in life and, for some, this digital overload is proving exhausting and stressful. Will AR make it even harder to unplug and escape the ‘always available’ work culture? Perhaps, but it could also be argued that AR allows us to connect with the real world at the same time as we access the digital one. Technology evolves and the younger generations will always be looking to the next digital phenomenon as older versions get discarded – we can’t see this trend grinding to a halt.
5. Legal issues
AR organisations operating at scale may well find themselves presented with a convoluted tangle of legal issues to unravel. As concerns regarding privacy and safety increase, so too does the risk of constrictive regulation, hampering opportunities for this tech to develop. Overcoming this hurdle rests on the user experience – if it’s good enough, public demand won’t let legal issues prevent its use. It won’t hurt that heavyweights such as Apple and Google will be firmly in AR’s corner either.
What do you think could stand in the way of AR going mainstream? Do any of these threats stand out in particular?