In TMT Predictions 2018, Deloitte predicts that over a billion smartphone users globally will create augmented reality (AR) content at least once in 2018, and by 2020 AR will generate direct revenues of $1 billion USD. And with one of the world’s most innovative and top secret companies on track to launch their AR goggles in early 2018, we could see this game changer bring AR to the masses. Back home, it will be a big learning year for Australian businesses as they work out how to adopt this technology into their strategies and budgets. New products will assist, but it won’t be until wearable AR products become mainstream here that we’ll see a major shift, which is doubtful to occur in 2018. Beyond bunny ears At the moment, only around half of AR uses are non-enterprise focused – think selfie filters like bunny ears and dog noses. But we’re on the precipice of mass adoption of AR in Australia, particularly in key industries such as mining, retail, training and marketing. But again, we won’t see the technology becoming truly mainstream until internet speeds increase, costs reduce, wearables kick-off, and mobile device batteries don’t drain or overheat. Within the Australian market we expect to see more and more start-ups like Plattar (that raised $1.1 million capital from News Corp in 2017 ) continue to dominate and more from start-ups like PHORIA who is ‘on a mission to empower anyone with the ability to experience a physical place in a digital space’ . Acquisitions will take place from larger creative agencies looking to bolster their offerings within the VR and AR space. And development costs will vary greatly from company to company, with businesses fighting to win a slice of the AR market. Australian based companies will work with developers offshore in countries like India to keep development costs down, making this new technology more affordable for businesses to adopt. Schools and universities will increase their offerings with younger generations seeing this as a growing and exciting industry, where jobs of the future will be in areas of product development, innovation and design. Quality and overall user experience will also vary greatly – and successful companies will use a smart, customer first strategy to lead the way. A smart strategy is likely to include: First and foremost, the creation of original creative content Differentiation: search strategy (SEO) – organically, it becomes an exercise in correlating data to your search criteria as it pops up to be discovered and presented as a relevant search result in your wearable or mobile device Not overloading viewers with too much digital overlay in real world environment The creation of effective training solutions and help solutions to solve real problems Industry and use cases Industries such as construction, government, automotive, retail, media and travel will adopt augmented reality in areas of training, education and entertainment specifically. Within the property and development industries AR will be used a lot more to show future developments and provide a new form of sales tool for companies. The retail industry will increase the use of the technology to help customers in their buying decision and build a more personal relationship with their customers like what Ikea has done in 2017. The telco industry will look to develop new ways of communicating as we have seen with the recent launch of Facebook Spaces and Rumii. Advertising houses will work with retailers to create exciting media to draw customers into stores as the battle between bricks and mortar vs online heats up even further due to the launch of Amazon into the Australian market. Top use cases of where AR will be used: Training Field workers (helping them perform jobs in remote locations – mines etc.) Manufacturing (i.e. use of AR to increase productivity using new tech over traditional laptops or manuals Use case: Deloitte Lens Deloitte Lens is a multi-device smart glass solution. It provides field service workers with hands-free access to contextual, real time information. Deloitte Lens can be used to complete tasks with greater efficiency, accuracy, and safety. For example, when field equipment malfunctions Deloitte Lens, which uses existing wearable glass technology, allows others to immediately access the real time view of the field worker and work with them to repair or solve the problem: Gestural inputs mean workers can remain hands free Step by step manuals can be pulled up simply by looking at a QR code Each step is marked as complete as the work gets done Lens automatically logs a paper trail storing the meta data – useful for safety inspections The user can connect to remote experts thousands of kilometres away This tool is a broad immersive solution that can be used across various industries. Eyes on the enterprise Our Australian clients need to seriously look at this new technology as a way to better equip themselves for the changes that lie ahead. AR can already assist in so many ways from training and development for the medical and engineering sectors, more efficient manufacturing processes, showcasing future developments in mining and construction while also helping plan future cities. Companies who use this technology will in many cases be able to better serve their clients through better design, visualisations, simulations, and ability to train and equip their staff for real time situations. While still some time away, we believe that in the future AR will be used by every worker in every industry – computer screens replaced by virtual digital screens, advertising will be augmented and tailored to you, retail outlets will use AR to help guide shoppers and promote their products – AR will be everywhere. It will be those companies who embrace this technology now that will set themselves up for success – and have the ability to attract the right talent to help them grow. To find out more about TMT Predictions 2018 and view the other predictions, click here. Timelio. (2017). 40 Melbourne Startups To Watch in 2017 – Timelio. [online] Available at: https://www.timelio.com.au/40-melbourne-startups-to-watch-in-2017/ [Accessed 31 Jan. 2018]. PHORIA.COM.AU. (2018). PHORIA. [online] Available at: https://www.phoria.com.au/ [Accessed 31 Jan. 2018].