November 23, 2021

Augmented Reality

Jim Harris
Magazine Article

The Future of Augmented Reality

By 2025, the global market for augmented reality (AR) will be $300 billion with 1.2 billion users, but not in the way you think.

What is Augmented Reality (AR)?  

Ikea has an AR application that lets you see what a room would look like with an Ikea couch in it. The reality (a photo of your home) is augmented with an image of an Ikea couch. This is a great example of how AR can be used in retail.

One of the most basic mobile AR apps are the Instagram filters people overlay on selfies. The ultimate AR app of course is Pokémon Go. It was released in 2016 and was downloaded more than 500 million times globally by the end of its first year! That grew to 1.1 billion downloads in 2020. Critical insights from Pokémon are:

Specialized Equipment vs. Smartphones: Millions vs. Billions

If AR requires special equipment like an Oculus headset (pictured), the market will be limited because 1) people don’t carry a specialized headset around with them at all times, but they do carry their smartphones; 2) It’s predicted that by 2025 53 million AR headsets will be sold a year. By comparison that more than a 1.5 billion smartphones will be sold in 2025, according to IDC; 3) the average selling price (ASP) of a consumer AR headset is currently $800 and it is predicted to fall to $500 by 2025. Unless you’re a serious gamer, or have a specialized corporate use case, smartphone apps will dominate AR.

Bringing Museums to Life  

Dali Lives is a way for visitors to interact with Salvador Dali at the Dali Museum in St Petersburg, Florida. The system uses artificial intelligence (AI) to answer questions that museum goers might ask. Everything that Dali ever wrote, all his interviews were analyzed by the AI. It determines the most likely answer Dali would have given to any question he might have been asked. Dali’s image was extracted from photographs and video and his voice, accent and intonation all come from audios of the artist.

“Dali Lives” is a large stand alone display with speakers (left). Now imagine that rather than this display answering questions, using 5G and GPS you could listen to the AI on your earbuds via your smartphone as you walk around the museum. Dali would be serving as your personal tour guide telling you about the exhibits, but also answering your questions about any piece of art that you were curious about – using the vast reservoir of the world’s knowledge about Dali.

How engaging would a museum be for children learning about art history? Literally art would come to life! Think about all the applications for museums, historical sites, tourism and education in general.

Now here’s a specialized application that uses a AR headset:

AR in the OR: Transforming Surgical Visualization

Dr Christopher Monely, the co-founder of MediVis, spoke at CES in 2017 during the Verizon keynote. MediVis uses augmented reality and 5G to take big data and using 3D modeling and AI, dramatically improve surgical outcomes. Many surgeries today are performed the same way they were 30 years ago: blindly.

Among the most frequently performed neuro surgical procedures is the freehand ventriculostomy. The surgeon drills into the patient’s skull, determining the angle by eyeballing it. There’s no consideration for the immense variation between individual patients. Unsurprisingly 40% of procedures go wrong and 20% of patients have serious complications. This procedure requires that the angle, width of hole, and drilling depth are ALL EXACTLY right.

All patients have a detailed digital map of their brain from CT and MRI scans. This data has been historically trapped on 2D monitors. Patient data can now be transformed into actionable intelligence. Using AR, 5G and cloud computing, the data can be modeled in 3D so that the surgeon wearing AR goggles can see all the blood vessel and brain landmarks perfectly perform the procedure. The technology allows surgeons to radically rethink the procedures making it safer and simpler.

By 2025, AR combined with 5G, AI, cloud computing and mobile will allow for an infinite array of new applications and business models to deliver more real-world value in retail, eCommerce, education, tourism and health to billions of people.

Jim Harris is the author of the Blindsided which focuses on disruptive innovation. It is published in 80 countries worldwide and is a #1 international bestseller. You can follow him on Twitter @JimHarris or email him at

Recent Posts

Tesla’s market capitalization (value) is greater than the combined value of General Motors, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, Nissan, Daimler (Mercedes Benz), Hyundai, Kia, BMW and Renault as of January 2022.

Continue reading