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Enterprise use of augmented reality apps to generate $2.4bn revenue in 2019

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British firm Blippar is an AR business, one that boasts high-profile clients including Argos, Disney, and Nike. Using its platform, brands can add hidden digital content – discounts, exclusives and so on – to tangible items like magazines, labels, cans and boxes, which can be triggered and viewed through mobiles.

In contrast to a consumer focus, Volkswagen supported employees with an AR-infused enterprise app called MARTA (Mobile Augmented Reality Technical Assistance) back in 2013 by working with AR business Metaio. 

It was developed to offer step-by-step guidance to staff working on increasingly complex new vehicles, the VW XL1 in this case, providing information on the tools required, test specifications and more via tablet.

With developments like this, 2019’s $2.4bn will mark a tenfold growth on the $247m revenue generated by the enterprise AR app space. Such an increase suggests that the next couple of years will see incremental adoption from businesses, as existing users ramp up and non-users embrace the tech.

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According to Juniper, business interest has increased as a result of software and wearable technology improvements, which companies believe will guarantee enhanced efficiency. 

Costs will remain high, however, owing to the individuality that each enterprise’s app will require – in turn this also explains why the revenue will spike drastically.

Steffen Sorrell, research author, Juniper Research, said: “Most enterprise AR apps must be bespoke in order to comply with requirements. That presents challenges – entry costs are increased so a return on investment must be assured.”

Although revenue is high for the sector, the study noted that overall enterprise AR app uptake will be rather slow until the end of the decade due to a lack of standardisation for security and integration.

Mobiles are commonly the key to unlock AR content, but the research revealed that head-mounted devices (HMDs) will overtake smartphones and tablets as the preferred device for enterprise app use after 2019. One of the reasons for this is that they enable wearers to have their hands free, which could be useful for engineers like those at Volkswagen.

In March, Blippar CEO Ambarish Mitra spoke of the AR company’s success at home and abroad, having grown beyond London to open ten offices in six countries since launching three and a half years ago.

He said: “We’ve recently raised $45m in Series C funding, which will further accelerate our breakthrough in technology and our fast growth. We have enjoyed great support from the British government throughout our rapid global ascent to date and give credit to them for introducing policies favourable for British tech startups.”

AR isn’t the only new technology that businesses should be concerning themselves with, however – Apple started sales of the Apple Watch on Friday 24 April and we’ve observed how the device will impact entrepreneurs and enterprises.

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