For so many of us 2020 has been a year out of the ordinary for so many reasons, both personal and professional. We changed so much our lifestyle and coped with risks and dangers never encountered before, and we all hope 2021 will be the year of hope and the return to a better and safer normality. The brutal changes introduced by the pandemic forced the society to introduce new solutions in so many fields, in order to guarantee the continuity of activities like work and school.
In 2021 we expect to see the strengthening of some Augmented Reality trends that started in 2020 or even before and at the same time the emergence of new trends that will shape how this market will evolve and change in the next few years.
Augmented Reality confirmations of 2021
In 2020 thanks mainly to Covid-19 restrictions we have witnessed the strengthening of technologies and ways of working that were introduced in the last few years in an effort to help the workforce to fix problems more efficiently and reduce business trips.
One of such existing trends is the rise of Remote Assistance and Video Conferencing tools. It is quite predictable that we will start to see additional efforts to bring even more Augmented Reality features in this application domain, including holographic avatars in 2021.
Mobile AR is another field where AR shined in 2020 because it allowed to partially fill the gap of not being face to face or in a specific place by adding immersivity to solutions in areas like Industry 4.0, Education, Cultural Heritage and even Marketing events and exhibitions.
We expect to see even more Mobile AR adoption in many industries because, unlike wearable devices, smartphones and tablets are widely available and that makes mobile AR a great tool for B2C applications.
Augmented Reality new entries of 2021
At the moment we canít be 100% sure of what kind of year 2021 will be for business since -as we go into the new year the virus is still there- most of the restrictions are still in place and we all expect that at some point, hopefully around the half of 2021 things will slowly go back to business as usual, even if some behaviours and habits will probably persists in the future (e.g. tendency to reduce low added value business trips and higher attention to safety issues both in public and working environments).
What we know for sure instead is that, technologically speaking, we are getting ready for an important jump especially in telecommunications and artificial intelligence sectors.
The widening telco infrastructure will bring 5G to millions more people in 2021, enabling numerous additional AR/VR use cases that were not possible before.
The exceptional speed and the reduced latency that 5G guarantees will allow companies to build apps and software that will access to AR content on demand and almost instantly, enabling entirely new use cases of real time access to information and content.
Parallel with the emergence of Mixed Reality Headsets with a better market fit, Smartphones will play a crucial role in this revolution and nearly any user will be capable of streaming ultra high quality videos, highly detailed 3D models and other challenging content on their device. This scenario will make it possible to create applications in Education, Publishing, Tourism, live Sport events, that were not possible before. Even the further development of an AR Cloud accessible to all will be a step closer.
In 2021 weíll probably see even more intersection between AR and AI, where Augmented Reality will be the visualization layer and Artificial Intelligence the computational one.
Finally, with the recent release of the iPhone 12 Pro, with an embedded Lidar sensor, Apple brought a powerful tool, based on the laser technology, to the masses. A Lidar is used basically to assess the depth of an environment, to recognize objects better and will help a lot with mobile photography as well as with Augmented Reality apps.
In particular we expect to see a massive increase in Photogrammetric Reconstructions in 2021 since the iPhone 12 Pro helps the user to capture objects from the world, isolate them and create a digital copy that could be used in dozens of use cases.