Exploring the Future Potential of Augmented Reality: Trends, Technology, and Impact

With the augmented reality (AR) revolution already well underway, the future looks to blur the lines between the physical and virtual worlds even more than they are today. Although the history of augmented reality is already set in stone, we can wonder what exactly does the future hold.

Augmented reality: current state

Let’s first grasp the current state of AR before we start making assumptions and predictions for what the future holds…

AR came from incredibly humble beginnings into the common technology it has become today, AR applications are being stretched and the technology is bleeding into more industries every day. From AR viewers and visualisers on eCommerce stores (see example below) all the way through to helping our healthcare services through technology such as AccuVein, the possibilities that augmented reality is providing reach far beyond the pioneer’s expectations for the technology.

Although mobile AR is by far the most accessible, AR is by no means limited to these devices. Glasses are of course the hot topic, and many see these as the AR ‘end goal’, but we might not be as far away as you think. At the high-end of the glasses range lays the Microsoft HoloLens 2, which will set you back around $5,000 and is mainly used for industrial applications rather than everyday use. The HoloLens 2 is also shaped like a VR headset and nowhere near anyone’s expectations of what AR glasses will look like. But we will talk more about glasses later (it’s pretty much unavoidable).

Anyway, the rest of this article is going to do what the title suggests and provide insights and predictions about the direction that augmented reality is heading in the future. We will explore our predictions, potential trends, the challenges and opportunities ahead and offer a glimpse into how this technology will affect the future, for all of us. We hope you’re as excited as us about the future scope of augmented reality…

3D & AR product models to replace static 2D imagery

Okay, we know this is already the case for some brands and products. But the key is some, and a potential 94% conversion lift when 3D and AR content is used on a website, what eCommerce stores can realistically avoid, and afford to miss out?

3D and AR viewers allow consumers to not only explore a product from every angle on a website but also allow them to view products in their own space. Check out the example below created by REYDAR, view, zoom and interact with the viewer before pinging it into your own space:


Thanks to LiDAR on iPhones and technology on Androids also developing, AR on smartphones is becoming more powerful than ever with greater light detection and ranging to create augmented reality experiences which offer much more depth. We expect many more online retailers to start adding AR into their customer journey in the coming years.

The future of AR is glasses…

Well, we said we’d be going back to this point. We are making a fairly confident prediction that the (not so far) future of augmented reality will revolve around augmented reality glasses. Earlier we spoke about HoloLens 2, but what other, more affordable, glasses are out on the market?

Nreal Air – See Different

The Nreal Air augmented reality glasses are essentially what everyone imagined AR glasses would look like. They are sleek, compact and stylish, which unless really inspecting them, look like a pair of sunglasses. These AR glasses are most powerful when connected to another device, such as a phone, games console, or PC. They can display large virtual screens, great for gaming or watching movies.

MONOCLE – a pocket-sized AR device for the imaginative hacker

The device is called MONOCLE, and as you can imagine is a small circular device, the AR device can be clipped onto any pair of glasses. The Monocle comes with a heads-up display with a camera, microphone, Bluetooth connectivity, and touch buttons. What makes monocle different is that both its software and hardware are open source. Anyone with enough knowledge or experience could essentially do their own thing with the glasses.

Despite advancements coming along in AR glasses, they are by no means at the level of affordability that fits that ‘end goal’ specification. In the near future, we predict that AR glasses will become more common, widely used in daily life, and more affordable. Then in around 5 to 10 years, we expect to see augmented reality glasses as sleek, lightweight frames that contain more power, capabilities, and technology than today’s smartphones.

We said we wouldn’t but let’s push it further (hologram level further). Going forward 20 years we predict that augmented reality eyewear tech would have come so far that we will be at either contact lens or implant level, and at this point the physical and digital worlds become totally integrated. We may well be playing a real-life version of Cyberpunk 2077.

Augmented reality meets artificial intelligence (AI)

AR and AI are pretty much made for one another. AI doesn’t only power facial and spatial recognition software to enhance the performance of AR, but also AI solutions can (and will) be interwoven to create unique solutions. Ai can simplify the process of creating complex algorithms, making AR more accurate than development by a human.

We predict that the retail industry will be totally transformed by new AR and AI trends. There will be virtual assistants and AI chatbots that support you while shopping and offer personalised recommendations when both shopping online and in a physical store. We also assume future AI AR technology will allow you to ‘try on’ clothes without actually putting them on. Some apps or filters already achieve this via a smartphone camera, but we expect it to look incredibly realistic in the future and probably just viewed through AR glasses.

We also anticipate that AI and AR could be used together in the healthcare industry. For example, doctors and nurses could use AR to overlay medical images onto a patient’s body in real time, allowing them to identify problems more accurately. We assume that AI could also be used to analyse large amounts of patient data, assisting healthcare staff with decision-making and treatment options.

Education can also be improved using AI and AR. Much like analysing patient data, the same could be done for students. Personalised recommendations based on learning styles could be made, allowing students to become more engaged and perform better. We expect AR to be used similarly, allowing students to get more involved with their subjects using 3D AR models.

The potential for AR and AI to work coherently is vast, and we can expect many exciting and innovative applications to emerge in the coming years.

Transforming industries and creating new opportunities

The future scope for augmented reality is limitless. So, we’re going to take a step back and highlight just how much we think AR is going to impact everyday life. Augmented reality is already incredibly common, and you probably use it much more than you think, from products on a website using WebAR to showcase their products to social media filters through your favourite platforms, AR is everywhere.

As the technology evolves and trends grow in popularity you are likely to bump into AR in almost every aspect of life. It will change the way we communicate; avatars may replace us for online meetings so remote feels a lot less remote. Entertainment is likely to become a lot more engaging and interactive, virtual experiences with 3D objects and characters may replace, or enhance what we’re currently used to. Marketing will become more personalised, engaging, and informed, allowing audiences to make far more confident purchase decisions. It is even likely that AR will push even more people off the high street to online channels.

The scope of augmented reality reaches so far that it is almost impossible for us to even pin down its exact direction. Although we have blasted you with predictions, we can guarantee that augmented reality is destined to integrate with our everyday lives at a rapid pace.

Augmented reality is the future

Although we have just laid out our predictions, the truth is we do not know the exact path that augmented reality will take. It heavily depends on how both individuals and industries adopt the technology and how trends develop.

What we can guarantee is that AR can create immersive and interactive experiences that are personalised, informative and engaging. Augmented reality can enhance the way that we communicate, learn, navigate, shop and entertain, making everyday experiences more enjoyable, why would this technology not be pushed to the limits?

REYDAR – your augmented reality agency

Never considered using AR in your business before? Done it a million times? It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at. Choosing an augmented reality agency is tough, but at REYDAR we have been developing AR solutions and experiences for over a decade now and we are all ears when it comes to new projects, if you’ve got an idea, talk with one of our AR experts today.

What are you waiting for? Let’s get started.