What did we learn in 2020? What can we expect in 2021?
As we approach the turn of a new year, it’s once again time for our annual ritual of synthesizing the lessons from the past twelve months and formulating the outlook for the next twelve. Notably, when kicking off this thought exercise, we realized that several of the topics look similar to last year.
Though there are lots of developments and new insights to break down, the topical containers that house those insights are beginning to coalesce into standard buckets. We’re talking mobile AR engagement & monetization; AR cloud development; enterprise AR and the gradual march of VR.
This standardization is good news, in that it signals spatial computing’s exciting – yet insecure – early days have transitioned to an adolescent period of its lifecycle. We have a firmer grasp on what’s working and not working… versus 2017’s wild speculation on the technology’s world-shifting impendence.
For example, AR’s near-term viability is supported by smartphone scale – estimated at 3.04 billion AR-ready devices and 598 million active devices. This has attracted reach-driven brand advertisers that are interested in immersive marketing. AR ad spending has reached an estimated $1.4 billion.
Elsewhere in mobile AR, Pokémon Go is experiencing the most successful stage in its lifetime, recently passing an estimated $1 billion in year-to-date revenue, and $4 billion cumulatively. Speaking of Niantic, it joins the list of tech giants investing heavily in planet-scale spatial mapping that’s hoped to power the next generation of AR experiences.
The list of companies assembling “AR clouds” otherwise includes Google, which continues to apply its vast knowledge graph as a visual database that can localize AR devices. It also includes Facebook, whose Project Aria is a step towards its Live Maps AR cloud ambitions. Meanwhile, Amazon’s IoT data could represent an AR cloud sleeper.
All of the above mobile AR happenings will pave the runway and create a softer landing for consumer AR’s fully-actualized head-worn era. Meanwhile, a different technology is working towards the same end: wearables. The device class will acclimate consumers to wearing sensors on their bodies – starting with Apple.
Speaking of Apple, its rumored AR glasses in the 2022 timeframe could determine the fate of the AR industry, given the company’s proven “halo effect” on emerging technologies. This year, we learned many clues that signal the approach Apple may take, including elegant and ambient ways to enhance human vision.
But the story doesn’t end there. What about enterprise AR? What about VR, given the sector’s acceleration at the hands of Oculus Quest 2? Finally, what impact will an ongoing global pandemic have on spatial computing (spoiler alert: there will be mixed results)? We’ll tackle these questions and more in this report through numbers & narratives.
This report highlights ARtillery’s Intelligence viewpoints, gathered from its daily in-depth coverage of spatial computing. To support the narrative, data are cited throughout the report. These include ARtillery Intelligence’s original data, as well as that of third parties. Data sources are attributed in each case.
For market sizing and forecasting, ARtillery Intelligence follows disciplined best practices, developed and reinforced through its principles’ 15 years in tech sector research and intelligence. This includes the past 4 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 ARtillery Intelligence methodology can be seen here, and market-sizing credentials can be seen here.
Disclosure & Ethics Statement
ARtillery Intelligence has no financial stake in the companies mentioned in this report, nor received payment for its production. With respect to market sizing, ARtillery Intelligence remains independent of players and practitioners in the sectors it covers, thus mitigating bias in industry revenue calculations and projections. Disclosure and ethics policy can be seen in full here.
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