Augmented reality on the tipping point between gimmick and utility

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 6 February 2018

Augmented reality is on the cusp of becoming reality - rather than a gimmick, according to Deloitte.

In its latest Technology, Media and Telco Predictions report, the firm outlines where it thinks the major advances in consumer uptake of emerging technologies will be in 2018.

Augmented reality is  major area of focus in the report and the one that will have the most significant impact on people's daily lives, Deloitte technology, media and communications lead, Kimberly Chang, tells AdNews.

It will go beyond gimmicks and entertainment, and into organisations, enterprise, and education as well as giving brands an opportunity “to reach out and touch consumers in a different way”.

“This year is going to be a year of experimentation, but brands are going to be thinking about how they adopt this technology into their core business strategies to make it a differentiator, and enhance the customers' experience,” says Chang.

“It really is going to be a tipping point for augmented reality.”

Companies and brands that find a way to use AR technology to respond to specific business challenges are set to benefit, the consulting firm believes.

Deloitte predicts that augmented reality will generate direct revenue of close to US$1 billion by 2020.

While it has been around for some time machine learning is another that will start to dramatically change the way we live, according to Chang.

“Smartphones can learn our behaviours and connect with personal processes on an individual basis to predict what a person might want to do next, where they want to go or what they want to eat. Brands can use that to provide a better level of service. This is a big one for media,” she says.

Chang says what makes it so prevalent to the marketing and media industry is the ability for brands to predict behaviour.

“The potential for machine learning can be a number of different things, but that provides a really interesting opportunity for brands and media, because you’re now going to be connecting disparate actions.

"The opportunity is to leverage that and the data that goes along with it, into a connected model that differentiates how you target and the content you serve to an individual. It's really about the interconnection,” she explains.

There is a warning among the possibilities, however.

The increasing smartphone use to accommodate the relevance of these technologies could spark a backlash against the devices.

Smartphone penetration us Australia will surpass 90% by the end of the year, according to Deloitte, but 41% of Australians already claimed to worry they are using phones too much.

Chang says there will come a recognition that not all mobile usage is equal. Some use is more effective than others, for example passive scrolling at the dinner table, versus a service that allows you to pay your bill more easily and quickly.

Something marketers should be aware of is finding ways that demonstrate the effectiveness of their services on mobile, and providing capabilities for people to track their usage.


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