Watch Out For Augmented Reality In 2014 - 23 Dec 2013

During the course of 2013, there have been many augmented reality apps, some good and some bad. Sadly, there haven’t been enough successful attempts at creating a truly great augmented reality smartphone app to make people take notice of the technology, but 2014 is set to change that.


Google released Ingress, an augmented reality game, earlier this year. The game began with only a few users, sending invites to friends in order to build up the number of people on their team, as the app was initially not released on any stores. The game tasked players with finding power nodes around the world, which could be found by using the game whenever they were out, and capturing them. As more players joined, the battle became more intense. Soon the whole world was competing in Ingress, attempting to capture as many nodes as possible in order to be in the lead, and made global news. While the app was a complete success, it didn’t spark a new generation of apps in 2013.

In 2014, augmented reality will be used more, and for more practical purposes. One great example of how it will be used is in the TechStars Seattle startup project, ResolutionTube. The app is aimed at technicians, giving them a way to access all the information available on a piece of machinery or technology that they might be working on. The app hopes to reduce the time it takes to acquire specific knowledge on all hardware, as it can take up to 45 minutes for a technician to even speak to someone on a technical support helpline.


All users need to do is scan the barcode of the machinery or hardware they’re working on with the app, and all the relevant information will be brought up from the app’s database. Should the answer not be found in this initial stage, technicians can call for live support, and use their phone’s camera to show them the problem. The live support team will also be able to draw on a user’s screen, giving accurate directions for repair or further investigation of a problem, and how to fix that problem once identified.

Once the problem has been fixed, the entire conversation, video feed, and relevant information will be stored. This way, technicians in a similar position in the future will be able to view the situation and how it was resolved, potentially allowing them to fix the same problem in a fraction of the time. To see ResolutionTube in action click here.

Another example of the future use of augmented reality is an app from Metaio. The company produced an app for the Volkswagen XLI, the car manufacturer’s latest concept vehicle, which showed engineers how to perform the perfect service. The app had live demonstrations of tools working on the car overlayed on the image users could see on their screen, as well as helpful explanations of each part of the car’s engine.

As iOS and Android developers, we’re really excited about what augmented reality is already able to do, but also what it will be able to do in the future. Events could use this technology to produce apps that show people to their seats, and include features such as, the location of the nearest toilet or snack point. The same technology could also be used in shops to direct customers to the products they’re after. One day an app could even be used to guide surgeons through their training by overlaying guidance notes and animations for their training operations.

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