AR moves by big players set stage for rapid growth in consumer and enterprise apps

The AR app market for both consumers and enterprises is set for rapid growth as big technology players like Apple begin to make substantial moves, according to The VR Fund.

The Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm thinks that Apples’ and Facebooks recent activity is set to fuel a ‘platform war’. The firm has released its industry landscape for Q2 2017, and is predicting overall growth in the industry, as well as increased investment and international impact.

“Over the past quarter, the AR industry witnessed several notable moves by major players including Facebook and Apple, which immediately led to a robust increase in developer activity as well as extensive coverage in the market,” said The VR Fund co-founder and general partner Tipatat Chennavasin.

“These strides are reflective of rising interest in AR driven primarily by device infrastructure and SDK tools.”

Standing on the verge

Over 2,000 companies were evaluated as part of the report. Here are some of the key findings:

Increase in activity

The industry is still in its infancy, but it is showing strong signs of evolution. The strongest Q2 activity was in the areas of device infrastructure and SDK tool development.

There was also a 60% increase in the number of companies that focused on AR development apps for enterprise from Q1.

The big players are moving in

Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Apple have all made substantial moves into AR in the last year, with each trying to position themselves as leaders in the market.

Microsoft’s Hololens and Google’s Tango ‘helped lay the groundwork and educate the market’ about what AR is capable of, but both had limited distribution of their developer kits. The release of Apple’s ARKit should spur the two tech giants on to develop these platforms further.

Google in particular faces problems in developing the Tango platform, due primarily to the fragmentation of the Android development ecosystem.

Facebook’s camera platform and the ARKit launch had immediate effects on market activity, with an increased amount of attention on the potential consumer applications. Apple’s move is expected to lead to ‘accelerated growth and experimentation with mobile AR applications’ as the input experience evolves to incorporate voice as well as touch.

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