Patience isn’t a widely-preached virtue these days. Whether it’s news, technology or just our football team winning – we want it all and we want to now.

It’s easy to forget that revolution normally doesn’t come without evolution.

Remember the HP-150 or IBM Simon?

Without these devices we wouldn’t have the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy – incredibly powerful mobile phones which can seemingly do more innovative things every day.

This is where Augmented Reality (AR) comes in.

We are still relatively near the start of AR’s journey into mainstream, everyday devices.

For sure there is a “shiny and new” factor to it all, but we need to move beyond that – just as the phone in your hand went from novelty to necessity – if mobile AR is to become part of everyday life.

  • Phone battery life
  • Useful applications and practical usage that goes beyond gaming
  • Changing consumer content habits

These are just three of the big challenges faced by those – like us here at Laduma – who are looking to make a name for themselves in the AR space.

For sure, the introduction of Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore have been a big helping hand for others looking to move into this area.

But ease of creation doesn’t always mean successful execution.

You need an experienced team of developers who understand UX, UI and practical applications to do this. And you also need something which underpins everything we do as a business – what problem are we solving for our clients?

Without technical knowhow, and the ability to address such a straightforward question with a straightforward answer, mobile AR will remain fun and frivolous.

That’s not to say that parts of it shouldn’t be.

Pokemon Go remains the go-to explainer when it comes to teaching people about the medium.

But what about a game where you could learn more about a sports team, or a historical figure?

What about a game that increases footfall to your venues?

What about a game that drives revenue, or increases your brand’s visibility on social platforms by making fun content ridiculously easy to share?

It’s all achievable right now, and will be even more so in the future, because as phone battery life, processers, connectivity and graphics capabilities improve, so will the scope of what’s possible with mobile AR.

But just like Virtual Reality (VR), the public need to build up a tolerance.

And in just the same way we can’t expect people to watch an entire feature film or football match in a VR headset (although I have done the latter on more than one occasion for research purposes), we can’t expect people to embrace mobile AR for hours on end (Pokemon Go being the exception to the rule) at the expense of their battery and other content.

What we, as an industry, need to do is champion what we can do now, but also signpost clearly what the future holds – and needs.

One clear AR marketplace (look what the advent of iTunes did for iPod sales), technology which can bring one’s surroundings to life (furnishing them with everything from local tourist information to virtual tape measures) and phones which can do brighter and bolder things will all help, but ultimately we need to give the consumer a reason to go back and use mobile AR products on a regular basis – so much so that they become an integral part of their everyday life (think Alexa).

When it comes to mobile AR we are doing well but we can, and will be able to, do so much better in the future as technology progresses.

We’ve passed the start but are nowhere near the end of this journey. Simply because there is no end. Only opportunity to improve products, choice and solutions for the consumer.

And while succeeding will be fun, it definitely isn’t a game.

By Alex Kunawicz