The augmented reality industry has a bright future built on innovation and growth, but that doesn't mean we can't look back at the close of the year to see what the industry has accomplished from a business perspective.
Magic Leap and Niantic, the industry's startup unicorns, returned to the list of top augmented reality investments for 2018, but Magic Leap stepped aside as another AR company claimed the top spot. However, when it came to innovative products, the AR company from Plantation, Florida would not be denied. Niantic also makes an appearance among AR's innovations for 2018 as well, but perhaps in a way you're not expecting.
In business news, one of Magic Leap's investors, AT&T, is leveraging its strategic sponsorship to give a major film franchise a promotional boost, while The New York Times again proves that it leads traditional news companies in AR adoption.
Last year's augmented reality investments roundup was impressive. And in 2018, the dollars flowing toward AR haven't decreased, as venture capitalists and strategic investors continue to aggressively fund AR startups at a rapid pace.
And while the technology still has yet to produce the mainstream breakout hits that the financial analysts and media are looking for, as one expert explained recently, revolutionary technology is a long game.
Let's take a look at the top companies that convinced investors to bet on a long-term investment in AR...
REALITY BITES: While analysts expect the global internet of things (IoT) market to surpass $11 trillion (with a T) by 2025, it is augmented reality technology that will enable companies to truly unlock the data that connected devices generate. Joe Biron, chief technology officer of IoT at PTC, and Jonathan Lang, lead principal business analyst at the same company, explore the AR use cases for connected devices in the enterprise realm.
In 2018, augmented reality went from the vague promise of interesting things in the near future to tangible developments in software and hardware, proving that immersive computing is indeed the future.
Traditional mobile apps on smartphones continued to maintain user attention, while desktop computing chugged along on fumes, and VR saw a few ups and downs, but mostly managed to remain somewhat relevant. But by far, the most exciting development in computing this year came by way of AR.
With that in mind, we decided to take a quick look back and highlight some of the best innovations that point toward AR's future...
REALITY BITES: From an AR perspective, Snapchat had a pretty good 2018, pushing several new products, features, and platforms throughout the year. However, the rest of the Snap, Inc. business suffered, with user growth declining, key executives departing, and its stock price plummeting. What better time than now for the Wall Street Journal to the examine the leadership style of CEO Evan Spiegel in less-than-flattering detail.
Despite less than glowing reviews from critics, the latest installment from the Harry Potter spinoff movie series, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, is winning at the box office.
Now, to help build on its holiday momentum, the film is getting another promotional assist from augmented reality in the form of the Magic Leap One.
Continue reading for more on the AR promotion and how you can experience the magic for yourself...
REALITY BITES: Magic Leap continues to drive hard for the hoop in order to score favor with developers and convince them to build apps for Magic Leap One. This time, the company is sponsoring the Reality Virtually Hackathon, which takes place January 17-21, 2019 at the MIT Media Lab. AT&T, Microsoft, Samsung, Alienware, and WayRay (with its new True SDK) are also sponsoring the event.
Last Friday, The New York Times published "It's Intermission for the Large Hadron Collider," an interactive story that gives readers a virtual tour of the Large Hadron Collider at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland and explores its most famous discovery, the Higgs boson.
Now, via augmented reality, readers can see one of the particle collisions that proved the existence of Higgs boson and earned the team a Nobel Prize. Using the surface tracking capabilities of ARKit and ARCore, the app projects the 3D collision data from the Atlas collider as it occurred on June 10, 2012.
Read more about the AR experience and how the Times jumped to the lead of the AR journalism practice in 2018...
REALITY BITES: We've established a new section on Next Reality that pull together all of the news on the business of augmented reality. So if you're craving news on investments, executive arrivals and departures, market analysis, and the like, check out our AR Business section!
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.