The augmented reality market is still an emerging one, with a positive outlook for growth in the coming years. In fact, as of 2017, Global Market Insights, Inc. conducted research which projected the AR market size to be worth more than USD 50 billion by 2024, with a CAGR of over 75%.
This shows that there is a growing interest in this technology, and more augmented reality companies are rising up to the task. While there are new startups in this field, this is not exclusively a startup thing. There are also major big players who have been investing in AR development, working especially on hardware projects to implement this technology. Also, many software development companies are branching into AR and some new ones that specialize in this field are also being birthed, creating AR applications and offering other AR services in marketing, design, gaming, etc for corporate clients.
If you are a tech person, you surely would want to go where the world is going. So, if the future is in augmented reality, pursuing a career in an augmented reality company would be one way to secure your relevance in the future. Let us examine some of the top AR companies and what they are into.
Magic Leap always gets a strong mention whenever AR market players are named, perhaps because of its ability to raise huge funds from top investors, having gathered over $2.6 billion from the likes of Google, AT&T, Alibaba Group, and others.
The startup was founded in 2010 and has been working on several augmented reality and computer vision projects. However, it wasn’t until 2018 that their first real product was released, the Magic Leap One, an AR headset targeted at creators. AT&T secured an exclusive partnership deal to be the only distributor of Magic Leap One in the US.
Earlier this year, it was announced that AT&T has extended its partnership with Magic Leap to enable it to expand its services to businesses. With the new partnership, Magic Leap began creating AR, MR, and spatial computing business applications for businesses in the manufacturing, retail, and healthcare sectors.
In the AR space, Microsoft sealed its place with the HoloLens which was released in 2016 and started out at up to $3000. The HoloLens is an AR headset that helps technicians improve their productivity by displaying digital overlays of information to provide a real-time guide for their works, and also allowing them to collaborate with experts remotely.
The success of the HoloLens has scored Mircosoft a strong point in the AR field, even though the cost has largely limited its adoption by consumers. But this hasn’t stopped Microsoft from pushing further. In May this year, it announced it would be releasing HoloLens 2 by September, which is expected to come with major improvements in the areas of ergonomics, immersiveness and business friendliness.
Microsoft also has Windows Mixed Reality which, according to its official website, offers over 2,500 mixed reality games and experiences.
Wikitude was founded in 2008. It first focused on location-based AR solutions, which it provided via its Wikitude World Browser App. The company also launched its core product, Wikitude SDK. It is a framework which incorporates location-based AR, image recognition and tracking, video overlay, as well as 33D model rendering.
It launched SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping), a technology that allows instant tracking and object recognition using markerless AR.
Its solutions are built to work on smartphones, tablets running on Android, iOS and Windows operating systems, as wells as on some digital eyewear devices.
As a company in the AR space, Wikitude as won a lot of awards since its inception in 2008, including the Best Developer Tool 2017, Augmented World Expo; the Best Augmented Reality Developer Tool, Augmented Planet in 2012, and many others.
Zappar was founded in 2011. The company is focused on helping brands build and deploy AR experiences to their audiences. It has developed several products and solutions to this effect. ZapWorks provides tools to developers, designers and marketers for creating augmented reality experiences. With Zapcodes, these experiences can easily be deployed through printed materials. And with Zappar app, a free-to-download app, users can enjoy these experiences by scanning the zapcode on an item.
The company also has to its credit ZapBox, which according to the official website, “is the first affordable, Mixed Reality kit that allows developers and businesses to reimagine how they design, build and create 3D experiences.”
From all the products and solutions Zappar offers, it is obvious that the company is working hard on creating affordable AR solutions, thereby making AR accessible by consumers. This could mean a positive future outlook for the company.
VironIT is a software development company founded in 2004. The company has a strong footing in building AR and VR solutions. Their range of services includes AR app development, 3D-modeling, Geo-location based AR apps, MR app development and more.
The company boasts of having completed over 400 projects for an equal number of different customers who have made use of its custom software development services.
On its website, the company shares pictures that show an impressive workplace and work culture for its staff. Now headed by two co-founders, Maksim Osipau and Alexey Grakov, the company is a marriage of two companies, Antalika and VironIT, united in 2014 to become one.
One of its major projects is AnatomyNext; it is a web-based AR software which was created for the medical sector to use in training students and healthcare professionals.
If you are looking for a big and well-established company, Microsoft would be a great option. If what you want is a company where you would be able to work on a broad range of projects, you may consider companies like VironIT and Zappar who work with diverse clients to provide AR solutions. It is also important to consider a company’s product offers, which could point to its ability to stand in the future, as we have seen several AR startups fold up even after gathering millions in funding.