It has increased the public awareness (and trust) of augmented reality (AR) technology.
Barely anyone had heard of augmented reality before Pokon Gos release. With the release by Nintendo and its universally known IP, this technology has become more familiar to consumers. AR blends virtual reality with reality, creating a world within our own existing world. Unlike virtual reality (VR), augmented reality keeps part of our world while adding brief instances (like Pokon) to the environment.
We talked to Ross Finman from AR Spirit, a mobile application bringing imagination into real life with their full 3-D augmented reality social media platform, about the success of Pokemon GO.
Mobile AR is fundamentally a different way of using your phone than most people are accustomed to. To change the habits of people, you need a big brand [like Nintendo] to push for the change. As mobile AR becomes more widespread, the barrier is lowered for other apps.
Nintendo, with its huge IP, was able to break the barrier and educate Pokon enthusiasts everywhere on AR technology and its ease of use.
It used the App Store (Apple) and Google Play (Android) as their platform.
With its free release on the App and Google Play market, millions of consumers with smartphones were immediately able to get access to the app. As Ross says, Consumers aren't likely to buy a $3,000 Microsoft Hololens [an AR headset] in the short term (and they only have developer releases available), so mobile phones are the platform consumers will be introduced to AR. And Ross was right, as the app already has an estimated 9 million daily active users. The traction gained from this app will generate a stronger push to introduce AR using more affordable platforms.
It brings a wave of resources into the AR industry.
With its success and recognition by the public, investors have noticed, pledging over $1.1 billion to AR/VR startups so far this year. This is up from $700 million in investments for the entire duration of 2015. This increase in investments will surely help struggling AR startups gain access to more funding and resources.
With more investments, we can look forward to an exciting future. Terrence Masson, founder of Building Conversation, a startup that uses AR to let consumers walk around multiple architectural design options, believes that investment and awareness into AR will push innovation.
Startups will look at PGs faults and ask themselves how much better that experience could be? They can use this guiding question and funding to make improvements on areas that PG may have struggled with. How can Nintendo and other larger corporations help? Terrence believes by creating APIs and devkits that smaller firms can use to create more innovative apps -- such as tools to help those with mental illnesses interact with the world around them.
Challenges that the Niantic team solves can be used by other AR startups.
We cannot forget about Pokon Gos problems. People are getting into serious danger from using the app, from armed robberies to finding dead bodies, to walking off cliffs! Nintendo is going to have to confront and assess these issues that may be causing these problems. By solving these issues (or at least educating the public to look up and stay alert!), AR startups anywhere can look to Pokemon GO as a trailblazer to find success in their own apps.
It can be replicated for other, more practical uses.?
The use of AR technology wont be just used for applications. Entrepreneurs like Adrien Birbaumer, founder of Darix and its application Vizir, which uses thermal vision and AR to help firefighters have a clear vision in dark and smoky environments, have big predictions for AR.
Adrien believes that Pokemon Go is just the tip of the iceberg. If you dig through all the hyped market reports to find the real core of use cases, AR is useful in three different areas: instruction, visualization, and entertainment. Being able to visualize which lego pieces you need to put in next instead of looking at the paper and trying to figure it out in your mind is a good example of instruction. Visualizing how a mechanical part looks is also useful. Entertainment has a lot of different dimensions to it, but there needs to be a breakthrough in AR algorithms before you can fully realize the potential.
As AR increases in popularity, people everywhere can benefit from its technology. Specifically, Terrence believes that AR creates a more open world by encouraging folks with disabilities to engage in environments around them in useful ways.
?All in all, Pokon Go is helping the AR industry tremendously. We look forward to seeing how our MassChallenge alumni are involved in the future of AR.