Juniper Forecast: Augmented Reality Mobile Apps to Generate Nearly $300 Million in 2013

HAMPSHIRE, U.K. -- A new report from Juniper Research indicated augmented reality applications will generate close to $300 million in global revenues next year.

The report found that while the traditional pay-per-download payment model will continue to account for the largest share of revenues in the medium term, retailer engagement with AR suggested that ad spend increased dramatically in 2012 and is poised for further strong growth next year.

It also found that many retailers now perceived AR as a key means of increasing engagement with consumers, both as a means of providing additional product information or in the form of branded virtual games and activities.

The report cautioned that while lack of consumer awareness of AR remained a key hurdle which needed to be overcome, it was by no means the only barrier to growth. It argued that technological limitations of AR-enablers such as the phone camera, GPS, digital compasses and markerless tracking meant that in many cases, the AR experience was failing to live up to consumer expectations.

The report claimed that even some higher-end smartphone cameras lacked sufficient sensitivity to trigger an AR experience unless light conditions were optimal. Furthermore, the need to recalibrate digital compasses – allied to poor in-building functionality of GPS – means that under certain circumstances the level of location accuracy would not be sufficient for many potential corporate applications. As a result, the report stated that enterprise adoption would be limited in the medium term.

Juniper says its research suggested that more than 2.5 billion AR apps will be downloaded annually by 2017. The firm said AR is increasingly being deployed in prototype wearable devices, with Google Glass the most high-profile innovation.

On the less high-profile side, AllThingsD reports on an augmented reality hat from Scottish start-up Zapper that makes the wearer appear to be either President Obama or Gov. Mitt Romney. On the retail side, Venture Beat reports that IBM is offering a mobile AR app that allows shoppers to pan grocery store shelves with their smartphones to check for coupons and other info.