How are Tech Giants building AR businesses? What’s driving them? What does it mean for AR’s future?

ARtillry’s latest intelligence briefing examines AR’s tech leaders including Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. Where do their respective approaches and directions signal AR opportunity? Preview the reports below, subscribe to access them in full, or purchase a la carte.


Executive Summary (Parts 1 & 2)

One of the factors that gives us confidence in the future of AR and VR (collectively XR) is the amount of investment being made by influential tech giants. That includes most of the major platforms and more notably, tech’s “four horsemen.” This group consists of Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.

But an important question is “why?” What are their motivations? The answer is different for each of these players, but one theme persists: They’re each motivated to protect or grow core businesses. And they’re finding ways that XR – especially AR in the near term – accomplishes that goal.

For example, Google has a vested interest AR-based visual search to boost monetizable search query volume. Facebook wants to keep us in its walled garden through visually-immersive content sharing like AR camera effects. It also sees VR as a prominent future modality for social interaction.

Similarly, Apple wants to make iPhones — where it makes most of its money — more attractive through AR apps and features. And Amazon has AR features that let shoppers visualize products in-home to boost e-commerce and reduce returns. It’s all about more informed purchases through AR.

Why is all of this important? Answering the question of “why” can inform the “what” and “how,” which have implications for the rest of us. Knowing where these players are headed and what their motivations are can help XR startups and investors align their strategies and product road maps.

With those strategic implications in mind, we set out to analyze and unpack the XR moves of tech’s biggest players. In addition to those mentioned above, we’ll cover key influencers such as Snap, Niantic and Microsoft. The end goal is a clearer picture of the top of XR’s food chain.

In order to maintain focus, the scope of this report is primarily AR, and within consumer contexts. VR’s has a different place on the immersive computing spectrum and a longer-term horizon to consumer scale. Still, we’ll touch upon VR as it relates to tech giant investments and implications.

The following pages will examine these tech leaders’ XR ambitions and actions, one by one. For each, we’ll look at what they’ve done recently and where they’re pointing next. More importantly, what does it mean for you, and what clues does it provide for XR opportunity spotting?



Price: $499 (w/ analyst briefing) $299 (w/o briefing)

Parts 1 & 2 of this report are available by subscribing to ARtillry PRO, or purchasing a la carte. You can also purchase both reports, bundled together for $499. This includes a briefing with the report’s author to discuss takeaways and answer any questions you may have. They can also be purchased without a briefing for $299.

 


Excerpt: Follow the Leader

What are the leaders in today’s technological landscape doing in AR & VR (collectively, XR)? More importantly, what does this mosaic of investment and innovation tell us about the trajectory and velocity of immersive computing? There are patterns and strategic takeaways materializing.

One place to start such an analysis is with the simple yet multi-dimensional question of “Why?” In other words what are the motivating factors that drive deep-pocketed tech giants to chase XR ambitions? Answering that question can reveal insights about “where the puck is going.”

The answer to the question interestingly differs for most major tech companies. But on another level, the answers for each share a common thread. When looking at tech’s “four horsemen,” for example, each has XR motivations to protect or grow their core businesses and primary revenue streams.

For Google, it’s all about search. Its “version” of AR is visual search such as Google Lens and Visual Positioning Service (VPS), which boost search query volume, albeit visually instead of text-based. This positions the increasingly popular and millennial-favorite smartphone camera as a search input.

Consider Facebook’s core business: Its primary ad revenue correlates to the time we spend in its walled garden. So AR is a means to keep us in that environment longer through more compelling – and advertising-conducive – content to share with friends. Its “version” of AR is Camera Effects.

On to Apple, though it’s increasingly diversifying into software and services, its core business is selling hardware. So most moves it makes are to make iThings more attractive to consumers. AR is no exception, as more immersive and visually-compelling apps, via ARkit, make iPhones sexy again.

The fourth horsemen, Amazon, is likewise making big XR moves, though perhaps the most shrouded in mystery. Its AR product visualization features engender more informed shoppers who buy more and return less: big factors for the margin-obsessed giant. And its Sumerian platform looms large.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is making big moves in enterprise AR (HoloLens) and consumer VR (Windows Mixed Reality). Snapchat is an early mover in mobile AR, as is Niantic which is in the midst of an ambitious AR platform play. And Unity is increasingly expanding into an AR powerhouse.

Altogether, this landscape has discernable patterns when viewed at different focal ranges. Our goal in the following pages is to do just that. We’ll examine each of these players up close and by zooming out to examine macro-trends. The goal is a more informed perspective of the landscape.


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Price: $499 (w/ analyst briefing) $299 (w/o briefing)

Parts 1 & 2 of this report are available by subscribing to ARtillry PRO, or purchasing a la carte. You can also purchase both reports, bundled together for $499. This includes a briefing with the report’s author to discuss takeaways and answer any questions you may have. They can also be purchased without a briefing for $299.

 


Methodology

This report highlights ARtillry’s Intelligence viewpoints, gathered from its daily in-depth coverage of the XR sector. To support the narrative, data are cited throughout the report. These include ARtillry Intelligence original data, as well as that of third parties. Data sources are attributed in each case.

For market sizing and forecasting, ARtillry Intelligence follows disciplined best practices, developed and reinforced through its principles’ 15 years in tech sector research and intelligence. This includes the past 2.5 years covering AR & VR exclusively, as seen in research reports and daily reporting.

Furthermore, devising these figures involves the “bottom-up” market-sizing methodology, which involves granular ad revenue dynamics such as campaign pricing and spending. More about ARtillry Intelligence methodology can be seen here, and market-sizing credentials can be seen here.

    


Disclosure and Ethics Statement

ARtillry has no financial stake in the companies mentioned in this report, nor received payment for its production. With respect to market sizing, ARtillry remains independent of players and practitioners in the sectors it covers. It doesn’t perform paid services or consulting for such companies, thus mitigating bias — real or perceived — in market sizing and industry revenue projections. Disclosure and ethics policy can be seen in full here.


Subscribe to access both reports, or purchase .

Price: $499 (w/ analyst briefing) $299 (w/o briefing)

Parts 1 & 2 of this report are available by subscribing to ARtillry PRO, or purchasing a la carte. You can also purchase both reports, bundled together for $499. This includes a briefing with the report’s author to discuss takeaways and answer any questions you may have. They can also be purchased without a briefing for $299.