AR is not the product

Just read this column on the future of Augmented Reality (AR) in relation to the marketing thingys made with it right now.

Now, I’ll grant that all of these are marketing gimmicks. They’re probably not meant to be anything more. But let’s just step back and call a spade a spade–and recognize that whatever “augmented reality” becomes, these projects probably won’t have much to do with it.

And of course Cliff is completely right.
I think this is also a recurrent pattern you see with a lot of new technologies that are a-claimed as promising. The first uses are based on what you can, not what you need. This was already the case with DTP years ago. It turned out to be a useful thing.

In AR there are two separate uses now. The marketing gimmicks as mentioned in the column, and the functional uses where adding information to the reality serves a purpose. Like the heads up manual for car mechanics, or the Layar-apps that add non-existing buildings to the city.

The sign that AR will be mature will be when we are not designing AR solutions, but we are integrating AR in holistic services when this adds a necessary function. When an AR service does not equals AR anymore.
We will definitely see those emerge the coming year, but can expect that real integration will take even much longer. At the end we will see that the current uses has a strong function in making AR understandable.

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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