Future applications of AR and the integration into our everyday life,
The future of Augmented Reality (AR) is here now. AR has been around for quite some time, longer than many may think. For it to be accessible and useable for all, in the way we think of it, it is still is very much in its infancy, maybe just getting into its toddler phase. Developers and designers are crawling around in the space and starting to find their feet and soon users will be walking around with their devices; phones or glasses, whatever they may be, with a new way of seeing and interacting with the world.
Like the introduction of any new innovation, it happens little by little and then one day we realise just how much of an impact it has made and just how far along it has come. Sometimes there can be an explosion of application and it seems like it came out of nowhere, and I believe that will be the case with AR. It has been utilised in different spaces for sometime now.
In sports and entertainment such as NFL or WWE it shows viewers pertinent information, entertaining entrances, or advertisements. Pokemon GO was probably the most interaction users have had with AR, and probably to most their first conscious introduction to AR, because in some respect they are in control with how they interacted with AR within their environment, rather than just viewing it.
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IKEA use it with SPACE where users can see how an item is going to look in their home before purchasing it, recently I have seen Amazon too have started to have a feature to allow users to do the same without down loading an app. We use AR without even realising it, well, maybe not all of us, but those who use Snapchat or Instagram or any of the like that use filters. Yep, those dog ears, nose and tongue that launches out when you open your mouth is your reality being augmented to give you that cute picture that seems to be a popular way to advertise yourself on dating sites, go figure. So we are already interacting and using AR and in someway already taking it for granted.
So here I am, sat enjoying my flat white pondering on what the future holds for us and our interaction with the world and AR and the impact it will have on us personally as well as how it will impact us socially. How will we feel about AR being integrated into our everyday life?
I’ve had my time on dating apps, a few actually. Some want you to just give the basic information and then you are swiping left and right as soon as possible, while others want you to fill out some kind of personality survey and spill your life story, taking what seems like half a day to complete, but after that you will have a greater chance of matching with someone who will be a good personalty fit for you. You scroll through your preferences, but it is left less up to chance, though you never know until you actually meet and see if that connection is real or not.
With AR integrated into a dating app I can envision those that are serious to find “The one” or even those just looking for a quick hook up would use an app that would be able to let you know in real time what are people’s intentions. I can see an amalgamation of apps like Match, Happn and Feeld. Sign up, choose your intentions, have the choice to be “live” so that anyone with the app could use their device and it would pop up information you have agreed to be shareable when you are in sight. I see users being allowed to have that information shown only with people that match their preferences also. Those that are after a serious connection, a compatibility score could be shown; I image users being able to to select an option such as “Happy to be approached” or “Send a message first”.
What could users that are looking for something less…..longterm let’s say, have? Well a virtual application of the red light, green light could easily be used. Imagine at a bar, users being able to put in their intentions, and allowing others know who are happy to be approached and who aren’t. Again that is being shared with users they match with, or are within their set preferences.
Looking further into the near future where the use of glasses-like devices are at the point that they can rival what our smartphones are now, AR would be more immersive than being used on a phone that is clear. So having apps running in the background at all times, switching between or allowing apps to run simultaneously, then you could be walking down the read and see someone and when in a proximity up would pop up information.
Exposure or Exposed.
I wonder at first, how comfortable would people feel about this kind of openness or exposure? We already put so much information about ourselves out there on social media, dating apps that anyone can view, but now that someone could see use their personal device and see that personal information would be presented next to that person in real time, will that challenge what information they want to share with the world? At first there would be fear; apprehension, it’s new, how will people interact with me now? how vulnerable will people feel? As soon as you passing someone you see a pop up you would know they would see your info pop up too. Virtually you have locked eyes. How comfortable, or more so how uncomfortable will people be with that.
I don’t think it would take long before people adapt and it becomes the new normal. It wouldn’t take too long to be accepted, but it will definitely take some time to adjust to. It would challenge the way we share information and more so challenge ourselves and our own insecurities, which is bigger than just AR.
Now with shopping this could be from food to furniture to clothing, and for this moment I am just thinking and focusing on the clothing aspect.
You walk passed a shop and what draws you in? Mannequins, well the clothes on the mannequin that is. You see and outfit, a top, a dress and think that’s nice, that would look good on me, let’s see what else is in here, let me go in and have a browse. Now you are in the store and you find what you like, if you don’t have time or just don’t want to undress and try it on, what do you do? You hold it up against yourself to have an idea of how it will look on you. You repeat this process and you may end up buying things you might not.
Now imagining the integration of AR in this experience. You see that top, that dress you, that shirt you like and you decide to see how it would look like on you, not by holding it up to yourself but rather by viewing on your own virtual mannequin. What else, well with AI it would suggest the outfit, you would have the option of 2 or 3 different outfits as the AI would be learning your preferences. You decided you like it and want to buy it, so now the choice is do you buy it to take with your now, or have it delivered to your address, or even to an a place you will be later on? Options making the shopping experience seamless. Do you want to see the recommend outfit for yourself now? Yes, well now you are shown directions to where that product is in store along with information of how much it is, how many are left in your size. I can only see the integration of the physical and the virtual world as a positive one that is going to help create new spaces for retail businesses. It will expand as well as create a new shopping experiences that will be the better for both consumer and the retailers.
Going one set further, you are out and you enable a function that will allow you to see information about clothing that others are wearing. People would become human mannequins, a real time advert for those clothes. Again with AI being able to know that you have selected those clothes it will learn your style. You would see a piece of clothing and it would say how much it was, where it is available for purchase, maybe where the person purchased it, a history of when and how much. You could then go to purchase that from the place of your choice, finding the cheapest option, delivery options as before. Pick up in store, deliver to address.
What about if someone has decided to buy something that you are wearing. Could we get to a place that we can be compensated for being this living breathing advertisement? Why not? why not earn a percentage of that purchase going towards a wallet you hold with that store that you can redeem at anytime? Incentivising the user to use AR for the benefits of all the interested parties.
Living in and designing that future.
So can you imagine living a life where we would be shown information continually, how would we as designers be able to limit the cognitive overload, integrate information in a fun, engaging and interactive way that isn’t intrusive.
Personally I think the introduction of AR into our everyday lives is only a positive, and I am excited to (hopefully) be apart of it, designing products that people will use to enrich their life, as well as thinking and talking on what the future implications it has on us as a society. I am excited to have a hand in helping shape that future society that I and all of us will eventually live in.
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Future applications of AR and the integration into our everyday life was originally published in AR/VR Journey: Augmented & Virtual Reality Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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Author: Marc Robinson