[BtoC] Why is augmented reality not taking off?
The augmented reality, otherwise called RA, is a technique which aims to insert in real time a virtual element (2D or 3D) into a real image from a device. It made its appearance to the general public in 2009 with the application Layar and at that time it was expected that the market would explode by 2010.
The number of augmented reality applications has therefore multiplied at a lightning speed, the B2B market has grown rapidly, and brands, seeking to boost their sales, have learned to appropriate the technology and try to offer great consumer experiences. Yet only 1 to 2% of smartphone users today take advantage of augmented reality applications and, apart from the gaming industry, the consumer market is stagnant. So why isn’t augmented reality taking off?
First probability, the general public does not understand theutility of augmented reality. According to a study carried out by the firm Porpoise on perceptions of augmented reality, the French perceive the technology in 4 different ways: some think that it would allow them to obtain additional information about a product before going to buy it, others see it as a possibility to share their experience online, others have understood the technology but do not intend to use it, and the latter do not understand the technology and its benefits. In short, until the general public understands the usefulness of augmented reality, they will not seek to use it.
Another explanation, the need to use a device ” bulky To take advantage of technology. Smartphone, tablet or computer, to date there are no small, practical and almost invisible objects that allow you to take full advantage of augmented reality. Google Glass or iOptik lenses, which should be released in spring 2013 and 2014, respectively, could be good alternatives to current media. Yet here is another problem that arises. The most useful and above all the most real AR applications apply to expensive products (€ 1,500 for Google Glass). When this kind of function develops around cheap models, the general public is likely to be interested.
Last hypothesis: the multiplicity of applications ” gadgets »Dedicated to brands. As mentioned earlier, merchants have integrated the technology well and want to take advantage of the interactivity of AR to improve the transformation rate of their sites. Everyone thus began to develop their own augmented reality application, such as Ax with its “Ax Hair” application for iPad, which allowed users to choose, view and share their future hairstyle, or the “La nuit des Chimères” application. »From TV Mag which offered the possibility of discovering the cathedral of Le Mans in augmented reality from the paper magazine. There are many examples, but the problem is there: consumers download applications and quickly get bored of them. They don’t add value to the product, and it’s hard for the consumer to start the download process all over again for every brand they encounter on the street. The idea, according to Jean-François Chianetta, creator of the start-up Increase, would be to create a common platform that would bring together all the brands and that would allow users to open a single augmented reality application to use with any brand.
Today, two consumer markets open to augmented reality are working quite well: that of video games, and that of optics, where the try-on of AR glasses on the internet is very popular. Other markets are also starting to emerge, such as real estate, tourism and culture.
The start-up youARhere is also developing augmented reality solutions related to these areas, and recently created the application CultureClick which allows you to take advantage of information on monuments that you meet in the street, works of art, museums, etc. Regarding the clothing market, which was one of the first “general public” to embark on the experiment, the trials, inconclusive for the moment, should now be associated with the Kinect and connectable televisions.
In the end, Augmented Reality must take a step forward to break into the general public market, by freeing itself from the shackles of the screen and by finding the perfect convergence between device and application.