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AR Versus AI: Which is the Most Disruptive Emerging Technology?

The AR versus AI debate is quickly becoming the topic of hot discussion among industry analysts. Most analysts like to see AR as an extension of Artificial Intelligence, and therefore, think AI as the core of AR applications. We are now tempted to explore what does AR market look like in the traditionally disruptive AI landscape? Tricky question .. well, leading data analytics company GlobalData has provided some fodder to this debate of AR versus AI.

According to GlobalData, AR is overtaking AI as the most disrupting technology of the year. According to its latest report, ‘Emerging Technology Sentiment Analysis Q2 2021’, 70% of industry professionals responded that AR is most disruptive force among the current crop of emerging technologies. The report highlights AR’s superiority that would disrupt the digital industry most out of a selection of seven emerging technologies AI, Cybersecurity, Cloud Computing, IoT, Blockchain, and 5G. 

Last quarter, 51% of the respondents favored AR to leap forward in this race.

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Filipe Oliveira, Senior Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “This change in how people see AR will likely be long term, and not just a temporary blip. It is clear that people are warming towards the technology, even if they don’t believe that it will make a big difference tomorrow.”

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AR Versus AI: Treading with Caution

When we hear about Augmented Realty (AR), we largely visualize its role in social media and gaming. But, thanks to recent push to the AR-based applications in digital commerce, we could expect AR to become the key ingredient in emerging technology market. Respondents to this survey took a cautious approach to AR applications. Most feel that the impact of AR would be witnessed in the later half of the decade.

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Popular AR applications already use a bulk of AI software for different purposes, including for Face recognition, Computer vision, Geo-location, Scaling and Camera calibration data.

AR: A Hype in Comparison to AI?

50% of the respondents feel that AR is a hyped technology when compared to AI, Cloud computing and cyber security. For 60% of the surveyed groups, cloud computing and cybersecurity are justified investments that live upto their promise. Only 26% feel the same about AR.

So, is AR hyped?

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Not really, as respondents still believe that there could be significant volume of opportunities arising for AR technologies in the coming months. For example, AR for social media has been in the industry for some time now. But, the recent pandemic has opened up new industry applications for AR in the MedTech, Edtech, healthcare and e-commerce sectors. GlobalData states, “COVID-19 has put some AR use cases in the spotlight, namely in healthcare and e-commerce, and new uses are continuing to emerge. For example, in April, Delta Air Lines announced that it would equip all flight attendants with AR technology delivered via 5G to enhance training and help staff with in-flight catering.”

Oliveira added: “The contrast between the large share of respondents that said AR is disruptive and the low share that said AR was already disrupting their industry suggests that there is some way to go before AR becomes ubiquitous in business. However, several conditions are aligned to make the promotion of AR as a business tool easier.”

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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