AI-Powered Augmented Reality Transforming the Digital Experience
Thu, April 22, 2021

AI-Powered Augmented Reality Transforming the Digital Experience

Regular reality is now being disrupted and overpowered by augmented reality / Photo Credit: Rommel Canlas via 123rf


Regular reality is being disrupted by augmented reality—the blending of interactive digital elements into real-world environments like dazzling visual overlays, sensory projections, or buzzy haptic feedback. A myriad of developers is underway to make AR devices present everywhere just like computers and smartphones. Tim Cook, the Apple CEO, claimed that the technology will be “as big as the iPhone.” 

Recent reports showed unprecedented growth in the AR global market. Finances Online, the fastest-growing independent software review platform, said that the AR market will reach a staggering $198 billion in 2025 from roughly $3.5 billion in 2017. Several projections also revealed that AR revenues will overtake VR revenues, according to 70 percent of technology leaders. 

In terms of gaming, AR will cost less than virtual reality, which is why companies are focusing more on the former. It was reported that the projected total installed user base for AR-supporting products like mobile devices and smart glasses will exceed 2.5 billion by 2023. AR tech will also improve user satisfaction through life-like shopping experience using augmented inventory visuals. Aside from that, the technology will produce new high-end AR games that will expand the AR gaming market to $11.6 billion by 2025. 

AR is also widely used by professionals in marketing for digital campaigns, healthcare to improve service delivery, and retail to engage customers. The technical complexity behind compelling AR experiences is boosted by another hyped trend: artificial intelligence. Both AI and AR are set to transform industries, particularly digital experiences.



The Power of AI and AR

The realistic and engaging experiences and powerful personalization that AR provides will not be possible without AI. Using AI and machine learning, developers create AR experiences that look and feel convincing. According to CMO, an online site that delivers digital trends, insights, expertise, and inspiration to help business leaders navigate the digital landscape, 3D design tools are able to handle time-consuming tasks because of these technologies. At the same time, they create photorealistic results that previously required costly photoshoots or hours of creative work.

From object recognition and tracking, eye tracking, gestural input, and voice command to manipulating 2D and 3D objects in virtual space, AI has definitely elevated what AR can initially provide. Tatiana Mejia, product marketing and strategy officer at Adobe, said, “AI is enabling creators to develop immersive experiences much faster and with greater fidelity than ever before, and promises to empower individuals to interact with those experiences in real-time.”

Through AI, an AR system can predict the appropriate interface for a person in a given virtual environment, which enables capabilities like real-world object tagging. AI enhances AR in creating a multidimensional and responsive virtual experience that people can enjoy and bring developers new levels of insight and creativity.

Aside from elevating content creation, AI also helps in personalizing AR experiences and providing contextually relevant information in real-time. AI, which can mimic "cognitive" functions that humans associate with the human mind, has the ability to learn from users’ reactions. The data will then be used to predict or customize the user experience. 

But how is that AI effectively takes AR to the next level? An article titled “A New Way Augmented Reality is Meeting Artificial Intelligence” showed that there is a natural bridge between the two technologies: advanced analytics and computer vision. AI-powered AR lets users engage with 2D and 3D objects in virtual space with eyes, hands, and words. People gain a new way to communicate and find ways to be entertained while developers gain a new medium for expression. 


AR technology's "interactive" purposes would not be possible if there's no AI in it / Photo Credit: everythingpossible via 12rf


Augmenting Mobile Apps and Customer Experiences

“We think AR with AI can be a killer combination of experiences unlike anything we’ve seen before,” said Abhay Parasnis, EVP and CTO at Adobe.

Parasnis’ statement has been proven on several occasions. For instance, many companies now are experimenting with using AR to give consumers an X-ray vision to see internal construction or details of products with the help of AI and machine learning. Both of them can learn from every customer interaction so they continually become better at delivering the right services and products. Using AR-based apps has become an opportunity for brands to engage with their customers.

According to Customer Think, the world's largest online community dedicated to customer-centric business strategy, real-estate enterprises are now offering a 360-degree view of properties to consumers using AR apps. This makes it easier for them to choose or buy properties, furniture, and many more. For instance, IKEA has been allowing its customers to see how a piece of furniture would look in their house setting using AR technology. 

General Electric Company, an American multinational conglomerate, is also using AR to help its factory workers become more productive. Employees are able to complete complex wiring faster using an Xbox and Kinect motion tracker. Instructions are projected onto individual parts and motoring sensors enable live feedback. Boeing Company, an American multinational corporation, has also turned to AR to help trainees assemble aircraft wings accurately.

With the help of AI, AR is effectively bridging the physical and digital worlds. Stefano Corazza, head of augmented reality at Adobe, said, “We’re used to art that lives in the physical world. And we’re familiar with interactive experiences that live on a screen. AR is bridging these two worlds. It’s providing new flexibility and fluidity to the physical world.”