We’ve started noticing the rise of Augmented Reality as a growing tech trend the last few years. with many companies wanting to capitalize on the trend of building their own products to make the technology more appealing to consumers and brands. According to IDC Research, AR is expected to be a market of $215 billion by 2021.
One of the companies with the biggest hype in the industry has been Magic Leap. Despite their existing hype, they’ve only recently introduced their first product to the audience.
Magic Leap has finally launched their first AR headset goggles this month but how does this affect the AR industry and why is this company threatening big tech giants that want to succeed in this competitive market?
An introduction to Magic Leap – what you need to know
Magic Leap has been founded in 2010 by Rony Abovitz and it quickly gained hype with their mysterious vibe and their ambitious plan to bring the future closer to the present. Their goal is to transform the way we interact with reality and their headsets will bring their creations closer to a user’s reality.
They’ve raised $2.6 billion up to now from investors like Google, Alibaba, AT&T, JPMorgan, raising the expectations for their next plans. In fact, Rony Abovitz is ambitious enough to make it clear that they’re open to raising more capital soon in an attempt to fulfill all their goals in the forthcoming years.
It took them 8 years to present their first product, but they’ve finally introduced us to Magic Leap One. This is the Creator Edition of their first product and it seems to target developers and creators before they’re ready to target consumers.
It costs $2,295 and it’s sold to early adopters from six U.S. cities. Magic Leap One is treated as simply a glimpse to their future plans and how technology can evolve to change our lives. It promises to mix the real with the digital world by showcasing digital objects to your actual reality.
Here we go. Magic Leap One Creator Edition is now available to purchase. So if you’re a #developer, creator or explorer, join us as we venture deeper into the world of #spatialcomputing. Take the leap at https://t.co/8HbsM1yNQo #FreeYourMind pic.twitter.com/mpEqNFltlo
— Magic Leap (@magicleap) August 8, 2018
Magic Leap seems to acknowledge that this product is not targeting consumers while there will be an expected period of losses before they reach the profitable stage.
There are already plans for the next product, Magic Leap Two, including support for AT&T’s 5G wireless network, which lead to a bigger push for the company. There may not be set timelines for this release, but it will probably take faster than the launch of the first product.
The initial reactions and the changes in the AR industry
There were many tech enthusiasts who wanted to try out Magic Leap One and the initial reactions were mixed but mostly positive.
What’s important is to realize that this is the company’s first attempt to test the ground for their more ambitious plans.
That’s why most reviews acknowledged the glitches, but also admitted the potential of the product.
The Verge found that Magic Leap One is promising but it also looks like “a work in progress” which more tech enthusiasts agreed on.
According to CNBC, the technology is impressive but the question is to find out when consumers will be actually ready for this technology.
This is an important question that needs to be answered regarding the consumer need and whether the product is way ahead of the time and what consumers need now. Magic Leap doesn’t see their product as a prototype so they want to show that they’re serious about their plans.
How will consumers react to the next product though and what if it’s released too late compared to their competitors?
And here comes the question of how Magic Leap One competes with the other tech giants who are already investing in AR.
Magic Leap VS competitors
Many companies realize the potential of AR technology and they are investing in building devices and technology that will bring us closer to the future.
Microsoft, Google, and Apple seem to agree that AR will revolutionize the way we use technology and they are determined to beat the competition. Facebook is also interested in seizing the AR trend, which makes the AR scene even more exciting. We’ve already seen the power of AR through our phones and it’s only a matter of time until all these tech giants launch their own AR products.
Microsoft has already presented HoloLens, the so-called “first self-contained, holographic computer” that enables you to interact with holograms and engage with digital content in real life.
The first Magic Leap One reviews talk about a superior quality compared to Microsoft’s HoloLens, but not in an impressive way since Microsoft’s product had been launched two years ago.
The biggest struggle for Magic Leap will be to catch up with all these tech giants in understanding the consumer demands and delivering the right product at the right time.
For now, they seem to enjoy the positive reviews of Magic Leap One and the biggest bet will be to keep up with the growing needs, both financially and technologically.
AR and digital marketing
A closer look at the use of AR in digital marketing proves that there is a big opportunity to appeal to your target audience through innovative technology.
Even if AR is still at an early stage comparing to its potential, it can still be applied to different uses in marketing. The most obvious choice is to display your product in a realistic way that enhances the shopping experience.
IKEA has launched IKEA Place, an AR app to help users see how the furniture can fit their real-life needs and spaces.
L’Oréal has acquired ModiFace, an AR beauty company and they are launching a partnership with Facebook to bring on the power of augmented reality to their consumers’ needs.
MTV has launched an AR app during EMA music awards to bring viewers closer to the performers offering an enhanced experience customized to each performance.
Meanwhile, Magic Leap has already established a partnership with NBA to broadcast highlights as part of its offered AR experience. Viewers can use the Screens app in Magic Leap One to enhance their daily lives with a virtual screen of highlights and behind the scenes footage. This is possibly just a glimpse of what Magic Leap is planning for the future when it comes to partnerships.
It can also give us a good idea of all the different ways marketers can become more creative to be part of a changing trend. Smartphones may be dominating our lives at the time being, but AR is becoming the next big thing. Consumers may become more demanding but there’s also an opportunity to reach them in a more creative way that brings the digital world into everyday use.
Marketers should start being more strategic about the use of mixed realities into their brand campaigns in a way that they share their message in an engaging and interactive method. Attention span may be lower, but people are still eager to try out new ideas, provided that they’ll make their lives easier.
What does the future hold?
Magic Leap has made it clear that this product is just the beginning of AR and how they envision it. Abovitz considers Magic Leap One as a new window to a world full of infinite possibilities. He even compared the product to Macintosh, the first Mac computer that revolutionized the computing industry.
It’s also clear that the company never lacked ambition and the big question is whether they’ll be able to stay on top of the competition when big tech giants are determined to invest in the same field.
Apple is expected to launch their so-called revolutionary AR glasses within two years, while Google and Microsoft are also expected to follow.
According to Tim Cook’s interview on The Independent, AR could be the next smartphone in terms of everyday use
“I regard it as a big idea like the smartphone. The smartphone is for everyone, we don’t have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic, or country or vertical market: it’s for everyone. I think AR is that big, it’s huge. I get excited because of the things that could be done that could improve a lot of lives.”
Thus, the biggest challenge for all tech giants is to apply AR technology to everyday life in a way that the headsets will eventually turn into consumer products.
Since then, Magic Leap can be proud of being one the best options in AR technology for 2018. This can still count as a win.