AR (Augmented Reality) is going to force us to burn down everything …and start afresh!

I enjoyed playing around with the BMW Visualiser App on the ASUS ZenFone AR in October 2017

It’s been almost eight years since I wrote my first smartphone review. The iPhone wasn’t the phenomenon it is today, Android was in take-off mode. The Blackberry was the ultimate status symbol while Nokia (and the Symbian OS) was still king of the hill. We didn’t FB on our phone and heck, Instagram wasn’t even a thing.


Justin Bolognino answers questions at DesignUp

The 2010s will always be about the smartphone. How the cameras got better, the displays got sharper and the bezels started to disappear – certainly 2017’s most definitive trend, But we’re almost done with the 2010s. While smartphones have certainly jumped by leaps and bounds, it’s getting mighty clear that the next big thing is not going to be another smartphone.
I’m betting big on Augmented Reality and I met two Industry observers at DesignUp 2017 in Bangalore who made me even more convinced about my hunch. My first conversation however was with Jay Dutta, the curator of DesignUp that has seen over 600 participants in just its second edition. Technology in Design and Design in Technology and a vision to humanise Tech and Business, by Design. Particularly relevant when bots drive search results and SEO trends are redefining the content we consume. It was my conversations with Alysha Naples (Former Sr Director of UX @ MagicLeap and an acknowledged AR pro) and Justin Bolognino (Founder/CEO at META) that weren’t just invigorating but clearly underline what we already know – AR is coming. Here’s why:
  • Disruptive is not necessarily a good thing: Disruptive is a buzz word, often misused. But while disruptive marketing techniques and brands have redefined the 2010s landscape, disruptive media is clearly on the wane. Think about the ultimate couch potato who watches maybe three or four hours of TV. He/she is still going to be away from the TV screen for over twelve waking hours; a clear opportunity for AR to step in.

The ASUS ZenFone AR showcases both VR and AR

  • The VR vs AR conundrum: I remember my first experience with the HTC Vive, at the company’s shiny HQ in Taipei. I was blown away with the experience and yet couldn’t help feeling boxed up with the VR headset, cut off from the real world around me. It’s probably why Pokemon Go became one of the decade’s biggest deals.
  • Brands are cashing in: Apple’s decision to make AR one of the talking points of its 2017 strategy and its AR kit is a clear indication that AR has arrived. The Ikea Place is a great example of a simple AR App that has made marketers sit up and notice.

Developers like Kazendi have used Microsoft’s Hololens to create an immersive mixed reality experience for Remy Martin.  Rooted in Exception, showcases Cognac Grande and Petite Champagne vineyards with a voiceover from the brand’s Cellar Master.

  • Social media as we know it doesn’t cut it anymore: Alysha nails it – “There’s a significant difference between fitting in and belonging – which is really showing up as yourself. Social media today is a ‘fitting in chamber’. If you fit in, you don’t really belong”  Hopefully AR will change that too.
  • Third eye vision: Justin Bolognino believes that we will all acquire a third eye via AR. He sees AR as a tool in a toolbox of experiences. It might be the closest we will get to visualising our thoughts. We might actually be able to ‘see music’ through the eyes of AR.
All our tech experiences and interactions – like ‘pinch to zoom’, with devices are currently largely two-dimensional. It’s why the extra dimension (that AR will bring) is going to shake things up. We can’t wait.
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