Top 4 Augmented Reality Trends in 2021
In the wake of the pandemic, many companies had to rethink and fundamentally change how they operate in order to survive. We saw technology accelerate at a lightning pace in 2020 as companies in every industry underwent significant digital transformations to survive in the “new normal”.
One such technology is augmented reality (AR). While AR has been gaining popularity over the past few years, it took a pandemic to really urge companies to realize the full range of benefits that AR can bring and implement it in their operations. In this article, we will explore 4 industries that augmented reality will bring value to in 2021. While some of these trends have been noticed prior to 2021, there is no doubt that the pandemic accelerated the process and transitioned AR to real-life use from pilot studies in many industries.
According to Business Wire, the global AR and virtual reality (VR) market in the healthcare industry is expected to reach $10.82 billion by 2025. Of the two, AR accounts for the larger market share, growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 38% annually from 2019-2026. Not only is AR in 2021 becoming more effective at training healthcare professionals, but they are also now being used during real medical procedures and treatments.
For instance, FundamentalVR is an accredited training program that allows surgeons to rehearse and improve their surgical skills through an augmented reality simulation that includes haptic elements for tactile feedback. It even allows users to work together during the surgery, simulating a real operation. Another example is CWRU and Cleveland Clinic’s new “state-of-the-future” Health Education Campus, which replaced all their traditional cadaver-filled laboratories with Microsoft’s HoloLens headsets for their anatomy classes. These headsets allowed medical students to see inside the body in a 3D and interactive way like never before. In fact, students said that 15 minutes with the HoloLens “could have saved them dozens of hours” in their traditional anatomy labs. In other words, not only can augmented reality technology in 2021 match traditional educational methods, it can even surpass them at times.
AR is also used to treat patients. OxfordAR is an award-winning software used to treat patients with phobias and anxiety disorders. In its fear of heights simulation, the technology managed to reduce patients’ fears by an average of 68%. Another example is AccuVein, a tool that relies on AR technology to help nurses administer intravenous injections (IVs) by showing where the veins are. This technology makes finding a vein on the first stick 3.5x more likely, a task that is unsuccessful 40% of the time on the first try.
- Repairing, Guidance, and Diagnostics
In 2021, we will see more augmented reality being used for repair and diagnostics by displaying visual guidance overlaid on top of videos or images of real-world objects. From simple tasks such as setting up a coffee machine, to complex tasks like repairing an engine on a sports car, augmented reality will make it more efficient.
Porsche has been at the forefront of this new wave; one that has the potential to reduce their repair times by up to 40 percent. They call it the “Tech Live Look”. Essentially, by using a pair of AR glasses, a Porsche technician will be able to connect with a Porsche technical support team in Atlanta and have the remote assistant send detailed information to project onto the display of the technician’s glasses. Not only can they see things like step-by-step technical bulletins and schematic drawings, they will also be able to take screenshots and enlarge the images. This significantly increases the efficiency of diagnosing a problem, as solving complex problems over the phone or other methods is too slow and requires the technician to drop what they’re doing in order to communicate. With social distancing restrictions put in place at most dealerships, Porsche’s usage of the technology tripled from February to March of 2020.
However, the use of AR in this space isn’t limited to technicians. Consumers can also really benefit from having AR instruction manuals. This video shows how a manual’s pages can come to life through the implementation of AR. As the pandemic continues to ravage the world, AR will continue to efficiently provide solutions to problems.
Augmented reality in artwork is beautiful and mesmerizing. Some people say that it is the next natural progression of creative expression, and we couldn’t agree more. In an ideal art engagement experience, such as an art piece in a museum, the artwork should pique the viewer’s interest, evoke their emotions, and cause them to learn more about the artwork or artist. Augmented reality does all three.
For instance, at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, it was found that visitors using an AR guide learned more, engaged for longer, and had a better flow experience than visitors without AR. Similarly, at an AR installation called ReBlink at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), visitors used their phones to see existing pieces in AGO’s collection come to life and get transported to the 21st century. It was found that out of all the visitors who went to this AR experience, 84% reported feeling engaged with the artwork and 39% looked up the images after using the app. Augmented reality brings a world of possibilities to art, and allows artists to express their creativity in new, interactive, and impactful ways. This holds particularly true during this time when the art community has to come up with other ways to exhibit their artwork.
While many consumers know AR because of its prevalence on social media as Snapchat or Instagram lenses, companies have already started to capitalize on the virality and engagement aspects of AR filters for their marketing efforts. With in-person brand-to-customer communication being so limited during the pandemic, brands have seen a great ROI with custom Instagram lenses, which offer unparalleled engagement and conversions from consumers. This trend will only increase as virtual try-ons and augmented reality ads become available to advertisers worldwide, likely in 2021.
Virtual try-ons are a feature that uses augmented reality to allow shoppers to virtually try-on products before making the purchase. Currently, Instagram has partnered with brands such as MAC Cosmetics, Ray-Ban, Warby Parker, and NARS Cosmetics to test out this feature; one that allows for a seamless transition between trying out a product using an Instagram lens and buying it right through the app. Likewise, the IKEA Place is an app that capitalizes on the spatial element of 3D augmented reality to show shoppers what their furniture will look like in their homes. What makes this special is the fact that the AR experience is true-to-scale and that it has shading and texture features that respond to the light conditions in the room!
Similarly, augmented reality ads offer brands a novel and engaging way to advertise a product. Implementing AR has been very effective because it speeds up purchasing decisions and increases conversions through impulsive buying. In fact, compared to traditional static ads, click-through rates and sign-up conversion rates increased by an enormous 376% and 633% respectively with augmented reality ads.
It is clear that augmented reality in the marketing industry is rapidly increasing. In fact, Deloitte estimates that 88% of mid-sized companies are already implementing AR into their marketing strategies to boost engagement and conversions. Want to implement augmented reality for your business? Do you already have an idea for a branded Instagram lens? Click here to chat!