From the Archives – Originally published on 23rd June 2015

When I was a child, I was told that the world you see is not real. I grew up to confirm that the world I see is indeed real. But, I grew up further to understand that the world I see can be augmented. Yes! I can design the way I would want to see the objects around.

Heard about Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality? Those are hot topics now and all big companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Google, etc., are investing huge amounts of money in to it. I’ll leave Virtual Reality for a later topic and discuss now about Augmented Reality.

What is Augmented Reality? (source: Wikipedia)

Augmented Reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. 

To make it simple, open the camera app on your mobile or tablet and point it towards a table next to you. What you see is reality. What if I place a 3D model of a toy car on the same screen that you are looking at, such that the toy is placed perfectly on the table? Your brain will be tricked to believe that there is a real toy car on the table. What you see now is Augmented Reality. The same can be ported to a wearable smart glass (remember Google Glass?)

Let us think this a little further. Using the same principle mentioned above and taking advantage of a smart glass;

  • What if I remove the real laptop on my table and replace it with a virtual Mac Book Pro?
  • What if I remove the watch that is on my hand and replace it with a virtual A. Lange & Söhne Datograph watch? 
  • What if I remove the lousy mobile phone that is lying around and replace it with a virtual iPhone or Vertu Signature Diamond?
  • What if I remove the smart TV in my room and replace it with a virtual Samsung UHD TV?
  • I can go on replacing any display device around and printed media with a virtual projection.

So where are we going with this list?

  • All Laptop manufacturers will be out of business as I can customise my laptop instantly and virtually.
  • No more competition for smart watches and expensive time pieces (though I would still want to buy a A. Lange & Söhne Datograph).
  • Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, LG, etc., who are heavily investing in futuristic mobile phones will have to disappoint their investors.
  • I mean really… Why wasting your time in developing large, High Definition TV’s when I can have a mini home theatre using AR?
  • No more need for any display devices and printed media.

Now you see where this is going. Yes! I strongly believe that the future is bright for Augmented Reality and certainly will be a market disrupter. A study says that mobile Augmented Reality make will grow at 96% CAGR till 2019. Fortune magazine estimates that the Augmented Reality will generate a revenue of $150 billion by 2020.

Above is evident with Apple’s purchase of Metaio, Facebook’s purchase of Oculus, Google’s investment in Magic Leap and best of all, Microsoft’s HoloLens.

There is always a reason why I say Microsoft is getting the future right!