Interest in AR high despite low familiarity

According to Parks Associates, more than 60% of U.S. broadband households are interested in receiving some sort of information enhanced ...

According to Parks Associates, more than 60% of U.S. broadband households are interested in receiving some sort of information enhanced by augmented reality (AR) on a handheld device or headset, with the most popular being navigation information. The research house says this interest persists despite low familiarity with AR - only 12% of heads of U.S. broadband households are familiar with AR, increasing to 24% of millennials and 33% of Generation Z heads of household.

"Interest in AR capabilities is high, and many people have unknowingly interacted with AR features through apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage, while Pokémon Go was the first AR mobile game to receive widespread attention and adoption," said Kristen Hanich, senior analyst at Parks. "While familiarity with AR remains low, consumers are interested in the capabilities that come with AR - 42% of U.S. broadband households are interested in AR-enhanced navigation applications, and 36% are interested in AI-enhanced price comparison."

Most current residential use cases center on apps for smartphones and handheld devices, while AR head-mounted devices (HMDs) are more focused on enterprise adoption. Parks estimates the total installed base in the enterprise market was under 300,000 units at end of 2018, to reach 6.5 million units in 2025.

Most enterprise applications of augmented reality are in the pilot stage, and Parks anticipates AR HMDs will continue to see headwinds in the enterprise space until 2025 when improvements in technology, applications, and execution trigger widespread adoption.

Other findings indicate:

  • Parks Associates consumer surveys find an increase in consumer awareness of AR of three percentage points since 2016.
  • Approximately 48 million U.S. broadband households currently have access to Apple's ARKit platform via a compatible iPhone.
  • Out of all tested AR platforms, consumers report the highest level of familiarity with Google Glass, even though Google ended retail availability of those devices in early 2015.
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