AR app downloads to hit 1.4 billion by 2015, predicts Juniper Research...
Mobile augmented-reality (AR) app downloads will hit nearly 1.4 billion worldwide by 2015, up from just over 11 million last year, according to a report by Juniper Research.
Annual revenues generated by mobile AR apps and services will approach $1.5bn by 2015, the analyst house reckons, up from less than $2m last year. Juniper expects enterprise apps with AR elements to account for the third-largest proportion of revenues by 2015, second only to location-based search and games.
Augmented reality refers to the overlaying of graphics or text on top of a real-time video or other real-world display, with the aim of providing additional information to the viewer, while mobile AR refers to augmented reality apps running on AR-enabled mobile handsets.
Writing in its Mobile Augmented Reality report, Juniper said the number of AR-capable apps has already risen dramatically since AR offerings emerged for download on smartphones. The types of AR apps on offer have also increased significantly, with games, social networking, education, lifestyle and personal healthcare apps being added to the mix, alongside the location-based search apps and browsers - such as Wikitude - that pioneered the tech.
Brand interest in AR and awareness of the technology rose "dramatically" over the second half of 2010, Juniper added, noting that a number of high-profile brands created apps with AR content or used existing mobile AR apps to enable consumers to access AR elements of ad campaigns.
"High-profile companies such as Carlsberg are integrating branded AR apps into wider campaigns, while others – Time Out, Royal Mail, Coca Cola - are using B2C applications such as junaio to facilitate AR content," said report author Dr Windsor Holden in a statement. "These initiatives are indicative of a growing desire among brands to use AR as a key tool to engage with the consumer."
Juniper also noted that governments and mobile content regulators may need to revise or update existing regulations on copyright, libel and privacy to take AR apps into account.
The analyst recently reported on a surge in AR-capable smartphones - up from eight million in 2009 to more than 100 million in 2010.