Market Reality: AR Display Companies Cash in as Apple Acquires Akonia & Avegant Closes $12M in Funding

AR Display Companies Cash in as Apple Acquires Akonia & Avegant Closes $12M in Funding

For the augmented reality hardware industry to progress towards the consumer segment, display technology needs to get better. Investors recognize that, and they are showing AR display makers the money.

This week alone, AR display maker Akonia Holographics gave its investors a sweet exit via acquisition by Apple. Elsewhere, investors gave Avegant a vote of confidence in funding for its consumer-focused technology.

Meanwhile, marketing teams are still finding value in existing AR technology for promotional purposes, with American Express and Intel serving up the latest examples.

Apple Acquires Akonia Holographics for AR Display Tech & Patents

While Apple may not be ready to divulge its roadmap for shipping its rumored augmented reality headset, the company's actions tell us a different story.

The latest move, according to a report from Reuters, is the acquisition of Akonia Holographics, a company that makes full-color, transparent waveguide displays that check off all the right boxes for augmented reality headsets — thin, lightweight, energy efficient, and a wide field of view.

Read on to find out what else Akonia brings to the table in Cupertino and for a bigger picture of Apple's unannounced smartglasses plans...

Image by Akonia Holographics/Twitter

REALITY BITES: Magic Leap continues to take body blows from the tech press, with CEO Rony Abovitz counter-punching via Twitter. However, the company continues to attract partners to its corner. For example, Relay Cars plans to adapt its VR automotive app for Magic Leap One.

Avegant Clears $12 Million in Funding for AR Displays

The display is one of the most critical components in augmented reality hardware, and on Tuesday, one of the companies making that component, Avegant Corp., closed a funding round of $12 million to support development of next-generation AR displays.

Avegant's new funding comes as particularly good news for its team given the relatively tumultuous year for the company. In February, Avegant cut its staff down to about 20 employees in research and development and brought back founder Ed Tang to serve as CEO.

Read on to learn more about Avegant's new approach to the market and how the funding will enable it to move forward...

REALITY BITES: According to the XR Industry Survey Report from VR Intelligence, 69% of enterprises that have adopted augmented reality in their operations have benefited from the technology. Furthermore, 86% of companies using AR or VR plan to invest more. On another, related front, business consultant Titos Anastassacos outlines how enterprises are applying AR to their field services functions.

American Express Taps Venus Williams for AR at US Open

Fans attending the US Open Tennis Championships in Queens, New York, which kicks off on Monday, will have the opportunity to meet tennis star Venus Williams in an augmented reality game sponsored by American Express.

Fittingly, Williams' younger sister Serena was recently featured in a 3D Bitmoji Lens from Snapchat in conjunction with another major professional tennis tournament, Wimbledon, less than two months ago.

Continue reading for more on the AR experience, how it benefits American Express, and why major sports are putting AR in the game...

Image via Getty Images

REALITY BITES: Continuing its partnership with the Knight Foundation, Niantic introduced its Fellows Program this week. The initiative empowers local civic leaders to use Niantic technology to solve problems in their communities.

Intel Turns to Snapchat to Promote Smithsonian VR Exhibit

Burning Man 2018 wraps up this weekend, but Intel and the Smithsonian American Art Museum are giving those not in attendance the ability to view the art from the event through Snapchat.

Snapchat users can step through a Portal Lens and preview the VR experience created by Intel and VR company Sansar to experience "No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" remotely.

Read on to find out why it makes sense that Intel is promoting a VR experience with an AR app...

Images via Snapchat

REALITY BITES: For businesses that haven't already implemented AR technology in either internal or customer-facing applications, Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter and PTC CEO and president Jim Heppelman recently explained why companies should devise a strategy for adopting the technology.

Every Friday, Next Reality reviews the latest headlines from the financial side of augmented and mixed reality. This weekly Market Reality column covers funding announcements, mergers and acquisitions, market analysis, and the like. Check out previous editions of Market Reality for more news you may have missed.

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Cover image via Adario Strange/Next Reality

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