Commentary

Mobile-Augmented Reality Set to Boom

Get ready for a better reality — and more of it. Mobile-augmented reality is set to soar over the next four years, according to a new forecast from market intelligence firm Tractica. The rise of MAR (you kind of have to love the acronym) will have wide-ranging impact across categories that include gaming, entertainment, marketing and advertising.

Tractica predicts that the number of actively used MAR apps around the world will jump from 292 million this year to over 2.2 billion in 2019, with a cumulative annual growth rate of 76% over this period. The main growth areas will be in gaming and entertainment, but Tractica also sees big expansions in such areas as industrial applications and retail and product visualization, all of which have shown high user retention rates.

Meanwhile another forecast from CCS Insight estimates that the value of the market for MAR and virtual reality hardware will reach $4 billion by 2018, with 90% of this hardware designed to be compatible with mobile devices, including products like Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR.

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Separate reports from Sandler Research sees even higher growth rates for MAR in certain markets like Japan, where MAR will grow at a cumulative annual growth rate of 104.8%, and China, set to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 110% from 2015-2019. These regional forecasts see growth powered, in Japan, by increasing use of enterprise mobile devices, referred to as “corporate owned, personally enabled” (COPE) devices, while in China crowdfunding is expected to play a major role in the development of new MAR apps.

Not coincidentally, all these forecasts seem to be coming out during the Cannes Festival, where MAR and virtual reality are big topics. Among other things, Microsoft is demonstrating the capabilities of its HoloLens to advertisers, making it one of the hottest tickets at the conference, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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