AR (augmented reality) has been around the consumer market for a while now, most notably in Samsung’s earlier handsets, but leave it to Apple to really bring it into focus. The next line up of handsets to come out of the iStable will all be saddled with Apple’s new ARKit; a free software update for OS 11 that will allow developers to bring AR applications to the next generation of iPhones.

Together with ARCore, which is a similar technology brought to us by the tech. Wizards at Google, smartphones and indeed tablets have been revolutionised, with augmented reality perfectly placed to become a large part of users lives.

Google explains a little of the technology and its capabilities on their developer site, while Apple does the same with theirs via a video demonstration – they work in very similar ways, however. Such is the impact that AR ready hardware, and the coming software to make use of it, is expected to have, a prediction from TechCrunch states:

“AR could become the primary driver of a $108 billion VR [virtual reality]/AR market by 2021, with AR taking the lion’s share of $83 billion and VR $25 billion.

AR is very often thrown into the same technological drawer as VR (virtual reality) but the two things are very different. While AR brings digital elements into the real world, AR brings the user into the digital world. Experiences aside, the hardware itself is often very different too. VR for instance requires additional hardware, such as a headset, whereas augmented reality does not.

That said, there are augmented reality headsets available such as those offered by Lenovo and the HoloLens technology from Microsoft that it is partly based on. The difference is thought that augmented reality does not rely on external hardware to functions, as the smartphone and tablet elements, such as the screens and cameras, are all the software requires to function.

Because no additional hardware is required, augmented reality enabled devices are perfect for virtual reality event hire and meetings. Being able to use a shared device in the setting of a meeting allows multiple people to view the content on display, and see just what is on offer or being discussed in a way that allows for greater interaction and understanding.

AR and the Star Wars themed Sports Technology Awards

Since the STA event took place on May the 4th (as in, may the force… Be with you) which also just so happens to be international Star Wars day, the bright sparks responsible for the organisation of the event asked AR technology company, Skignz to create augmented reality reality content content for them, based around the theme of Star Wars.

Of the attendees of the awards event, 420 of them made use of the technology by downloading the Skignz application to either their smartphones or tablets, and they were able to scan the room using the device camera and would be able to see a life-size Yoda sat by them. Not only that, but they were also treated to sight of the iconic Millennium Falcon soaring around the Roundhouse in London.

Rebecca Hopkins, who is the CEO and also  managing director of the Sports Technology Awards, has said that she is now a confirmed fan of Augmented Reality technology, calling it “nimble, exciting versatile” and is planning to make use of it again at future awards.

As Brown, of AR firm Skignz, said

 “We’re trying to make augmented reality an essential part of what they’re doing. As much as social media has become part of people’s marketing and delivery strategy, then why can’t AR?”

Clearly, the technology has had a positive impact on the STA event and as the technology becomes more widespread, we will be seeing it in use at more events and in different ways. Fashion shows, for example, would become more interactive with the possibility of altering the clothes and accessories the model is wearing, to see how they look in different colours.

Naturally, the same could be said of car shows and the possibilities for art galleries and museums are practically endless. Where AR technology will take us in the future is not entirely certain but it definitely looks exciting from here.