The European AR Business Conference, ARBCon, provided a forum to talk about the business aspect of Augmented Reality. I was very happy to contribute my story “Mobile Augmented Reality – Mass Market and Business Opportunities” that pointed out the similarities between the history of Mobile Augmented Reality in the last 1.5 years and the evolving world wide web in the last 15 years.
The Mobile Augmented Reality industry is currently entering the third phase of a process we’ve seen in the early times of the world wide web before. Both started out with a new category of devices. The multimedia PC of the mobile age is the smartphone, a new category of portable devices that comes with outstanding new abilities like data network connection, touch user interface and decent audio and video capabilities. Quite similiar to what the multimedia PC came up with: data network connection, grafical user interface and decent audio and video capabilities. Media distribution started on CD-ROMs and via Apps respectively. But very soon the world wide web emerged as a new medium. After a short phase of brochureware transfer we saw the creation of medium specific contents. Same in Mobile AR.
But the key to mass usage is distribution. Like in the beginning of the web, when preinstalled browsers finally paved the way to web mass usage, we see rising competition in the AR browser space and preinstallation agreements ramping up Mobile AR usage.
I very much enjoyed ARBCon, the friendly open-minded guests and many interesting talks. ARBCon was held in the Ludwig Erhard Haus, Berlin, on April 23rd, 2010 and was organized by Dan Romescu and Willi Schroll.