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Mixed Reality trends to watch in 2020!

Tim Hermans

08 January 2020

9 min

Technology has changed in a faster pace than ever before. In the past few years, many new IT related innovations has hit the market. If we look back to the past five years, we have seen the rise of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality, they have evolved from a novelty into mainstream technology which have revolutionized several industries. With the introduction of Mixed Reality, which is the merging of real and virtual worlds, a true immersive experience is available. The forecast of this technology looks promising and the potential of this technology is much bigger than AR and VR.

I personally believe that 2020 will be a big year for these new technologies and more industries are adopting it in there process. Also, Gartner recognizes this step ahead by dropping AR from its hype cycle. Meaning that Gartner changed AR from an emerging technology into a mature technology. With the beginning of a new year, it is a good time to look ahead and make some predictions about the future of AR|VR and MR for 2020.

Trend #1: Augmented Reality in combination with Artificial Intelligence

Another trend that has changed the way companies work is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Combining Augmented Reality with AI can result in creating a complete new source of business. Training algorithms to help interprating real life videos can change industries for ever. Imaging the potential of a field service engineer looking at a machine. Via AI a problem can be discovered and the resolution can be visualized via AR. The potential is huge and these two technologies can become the perfect mix for many companies.

Trend #2: Arrival of the HoloLens 2

In a previous blog post I explained the new features an potential of Microsoft’s HoloLens 2. I still believe the HoloLens 2 will be a gamechanger for many industries. The new capabilities will result in mass adoption of Mixed Reality headsets for enterprises. The release of the HoloLens 2 will probably also trigger other device manufacturers to deliver similar device. Big enterprises like Google, Apple and Samsung see the huge potential in these markets. They have to innovate otherwise they will be left behind and “lose the AR battle”.

Trend #3: Mobile AR with the announcement of ARKit 3.0

Currently both Apple (ARKit) and Google (ARCore) have standard software development kits (SDKs) available which have standardized the way of developing AR for mobile devices. The potential of mobile AR is huge, because many people have a smartphone or tablet with AR capabilities. The benefit of developing an app using this technology is the fact that consumers don’t need to buy other devices, they can simply use devices they already own. With the release of the newest generation of smartphones and tablet the number of users with an AR ready device has almost doubled in the past year. More users meas more potential revenue, which eventually leads into more app development using this technology

Trend #4: AR becoming mainstream for consumers

By having ARKit and ARCore available on consumers fingertips, we see many big companies leveraging this technology. Recently Google Maps enhancement offers AR navigation.  Another example is the new consumer app, where IKEA explains in AR how furniture needs to be assembled. More and more companies are seeing the benefit of this technology and I predict many AR based apps in 2020.

Trend #5: WebAR

A new kid in town which probably will be the next rising star is WebAR. With WebAR people can experience AR without the need to by an AR ready device. At the moment both Google (with Chrome AR) and Mozilla (with Firefox) are working on AR support. Currently there is no WebAR standard, but also other web browser providers, such as Apple, Samsung an Microsoft are exploring this space. I expect 2020 will be a critical your where AR probably will become mass available in browsers.

Trend #6: Collaborate via Shared Augmented Reality

Mixed Reality is a really good tool to let people collaborate more efficiently than ever before. We see that multiple vendors like Microsoft (Remote Assist) and PTC (Vuforia Chalk) are delivering AR based solution. With these tools (apps/solutions) use speech, video and holographic annotations are used to allow people to work better together than ever before. These tools will become mainstream and I will not be surprised if more and more field service technicians will use these kinds of tools in 2020 to resolve problems.


What the future looks like


Many experts believe that the AR/VR/MR market will be bigger than $25B by the end of 2025. Due to this prediction, many companies try to get a piece of the cake. Where other markets slow down in their growth, like smartphones and tablets, the AR market outlook is promising. In the past years AR/VR and MR was predominantly used for gaming and entertainment, but I expect a huge shift from a usage perspective. Many different industries will experience the benefits and are expected to grow rapidly. This is combination with the release of better and cheaper hardware will boost the market.

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