2 things I wish augmented reality did today and 2 things I could do without

I feel very strongly that augmented reality will eventually play a significant role in what we do each day. Granted, it needs to be a little more subtle and integrated into how we do things – the least amount of friction as possible.

Here’s where I would love to see incremental movement in how augmented reality could be used to move us along. Not perfect but still ahead of having something pop out of my coffee cup.

The wishes

Homes for sale
For sale signs are so old school – why hasn’t someone reinvented these things? Why not do it with an augmented reality app that, once your position is determined through GPS and you point it towards a house for sale, it starts hammering you with data. Interested in square footage? The app does that. Interested in knowing the heating and hydro costs? The app does that. Interested in seeing the size of the living room or the brand of faucet in the ensuite? The app will do that. Using augmented reality could give the buyer the answers they most want access to but don’t want to ask a broker about.

Available seats at a venue or restaurant
How many times have you been wandering around looking for a place to eat in an unfamiliar city or even your own city. I see a neat use-case for an augmented reality app that you hold up to scan restaurants within walking distance to see table availability or wait times if there is a line. This app could also highlight specials, prices and reviews pulled in from third party sources.

In a similar vein, what about the same app letting you know there are only front row seats available for the movie – saving you some grief and allowing you to change plans while there is still time.

The dismisses

Directions
Today’s implementation of augmented reality as a direction tool is inefficient. Maybe in the future there will be a better way of using this tool for that function – perhaps with foldable screens – but the concept of holding up a small screen in front of you and using it to find a location is not one for the current state of augmented reality. We shouldn’t be looking at ways to use a tool like this to replace something that is currently much more effective – a map!

Product details
If you’ve ever gone through the process of trying to see the ports on the back of a television set through an augmented reality experience you know that it is not frictionless and better served in other ways – like a photo. Throwing AR at a simple problem and making it complicated is what we should avoid at all costs and where there is already a solution that works effectively – and where AR doesn’t add anything to it – we should leave it alone. This is one of those times.

Are there any companies out there doing great things with augmented reality? Reach out and let me know!

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of UNTETHER.tv and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

  • Gravity Jack

    Awesome insight. We’re working on some very similar things right now, focused on practicality, usability and doing away with the more bulky, gimmicky things. We hear ya completely. You are definitely on the right track!

  • Hey Rob! Long time no speak. Totally agree with your point on real estate. I wanted to let you know that we recently launched HomeSpotter, a service that allows any real estate broker to have their own augmented reality home search app. Check out the demo video at http://www.homespotter.com/

    Cheers

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