Developers will invest $670 million in augmented reality applications this year, according to estimates. In five years' time, that figure will jump to $2.5 billion.
That's the word from ABI Research, whose analysts believe that "AR," as it's called, will become "a more everyday part of mobile experiences," particularly for retail and marketing.
Why? Cloud computing, that nebulous concept that means everything (the Internet!) and nothing (vapor!) at the same time.
"The cloud is a natural fit for AR developers, considering how big benefits cloud-based content libraries present for image recognition technologies," senior analyst Aapo Markkanen said in a statement. "The leading SDKs, Qualcomm's Vuforia and Metaio, introduced cloud recognition capabilities last year, and it's exactly moves like those that will help bringing AR to the mainstream."
AR is in vogue at the moment as the future of computing, owing mostly to the recent dominance of portable electronics, the rise of software-as-a-service and Google Glass. It also helps that it looks pretty damn cool, in that clichéd Minority Report way.
But if there's even a grain of truth in this forecast, there will be loads more data created. Which ushers in a need for those other two buzzwords: big data and analytics.
That's not something especially necessarily for the goons walking around in Glass at the moment, but it may be quite useful—critical, even—for the enterprise. In particular, engineering, logistics and healthcare.
Your local deliveryman may agree:
"In a world where a countless number of physical objects and structures will be connected by sensors," ABI's Dan Shey said in a statement," AR can serve as a visualization medium that will make the sensor data situational, bridged to the real-world surroundings."
See you in the future.