Investments in consumer AR & VR will drive increased device options and experiences.

As Steven Levy of Wired commented, AR in 2018 will involve layering information onto live images provided by mobile phone cameras. Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook all are providing deep toolsets for developers to create apps for this approach. This sets us up for a near future where “a set of always-on glasses that will blur the line between the physical world and a digital contract made of pure information,” according to Levy. We believe these 3D visualizations and content creation capabilities will translate well into the enterprise.

Last year jump-started a stream of product unveilings from software giants that also make the conversion of content from other 3D sources easier. For example, Microsoft acquired Simplygon a year ago and has since integrated it into the Azure marketplace to facilitate content decimation and distribution. Google also launched the Poly API which has a marketplace of free-to-use 3D assets for application development. Because it is much easier to ingest and convert existing 3D assets than to create new ones from scratch, these tools make a huge difference in AR/VR content production.

Further, Amazon’s most recently also announced Sumerian enables AR application creation on a web-based interface to design 3D immersive experiences without any special programming knowledge. This takes the codeless app development on steroids by eliminating the need to know Unity to develop basic AR apps.

Of course, Apple and Google began shipping ARKit and ARCore respectively, opening up an install base that was previously serviced by third party SDKs and APIs that cost extra. By allowing iOS and Android developers to build AR capabilities right into the apps they are building today using the tools and APIs they are already familiar with and at no incremental cost, it makes building AR experiences way more accessible to mobile devs.

All of these activities by the technology giants in 2017 are lowering the barrier for entry for content creation. This will be a boon not just for consumers, but also the enterprise, particularly as the shared ecosystem continues to grow exponentially.

Want more color commentary? Watch our on-demand webinar, “What’s Next for Enterprise Augmented Reality in 2018?”

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