Telecommunications, Media & Entertainment

Global Trends in Technology, Media & Telecommunications

Augmented reality: will 2018 be the breakthrough year?

Mark Casey, Global Media & Entertainment Sector Leader

2018 looks to be a year of progress and experimentation for smartphone-based augmented reality (AR). Over a billion smartphone users will create AR content at least once this year, Deloitte Global predicts; 300 million will be monthly creators, and tens of millions will make and share content weekly. Tens of thousands of apps incorporating AR capabilities will likely become available during the year, and by year’s end, billions of smartphone users will probably have downloaded an app or operating system update that incorporates AR content creation capability. In all, billions of people are likely to view AR content created on a phone this year.

Thus far, smartphone AR creations typically have been photographs or primitive animations that are exaggerated, artificial, and cartoonish. Starting in 2018, that may begin to change. AR content created on a smartphone will likely look increasingly photorealistic and will often be recorded and shared as video.

Photorealistic AR is being enabled by a combination of software and hardware advances, one of the most significant of which is the launch of dedicated AR frameworks in smartphone operating systems. As of October 2017, a few hundred million smartphones had dedicated support for AR. By the end of 2018, about 800 million smartphones will likely have both an operating system with dedicated AR support and hardware sufficient to power it.


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