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Augmented reality set for take-off

Users to approach 200m globally by 2018: report

Google Glass is giving impetus to augmented reality.
Google Glass is giving impetus to augmented reality.

The number of people using mobile Augmented Reality (AR) technology is set to increase to nearly 200m users in 2018, up from 60m users this year, according to UK-based Juniper Research.

The market will expand from the "early adopter" gaming and navigation segments to become an integral part of the consumer ecosystem.

Despite initial trepidation and single-use applications of the technology, Juniper forecasts AR to become a key future platform for communication and commerce.

AR has a potential to engage a new generation of consumers in a unique manner, combining the personal nature of mobile devices with the Internet's wealth of accessible information.

Juniper's report finds that as the market matures, the app ecosystem is set to expand rapidly over the forecast period. Initial innovations will stem from games, such as Google Ingress, but the technology will expand to include lifestyle and fitness apps. It also contends the possibility of a paradigm shifting utilisation of AR within social media, potentially breaking the digital-physical wall with potential future uses allowing a digital representation of a person to appear in the user's surroundings.

As the AR market matures the utilisation of AR apps will evolve to suit the device, with the tablet becoming a natural environment for multimedia and second-screen apps and the smartphone becoming a platform for navigation AR apps to thrive on.

Forthcoming smart glasses will once again evolve this dynamic, as users will increasingly benefit from multiple AR capable devices each with unique app ecosystems, the report indicates.