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AR Insider
A publication about spatial computing | Brought to you by ARtillery Intelligence.

As you may have heard, Niantic has launched its AR developer platform, Lightship. This is partially a rebrand of the existing Real World Platform, but also a functional transition. The latter refers to the platform’s release as an SDK, or augmented reality developer kit (ARDK).

This is a significant step as Lightship will be made available to developers on broader and more open basis. Real World Platform was conversely available to select partners. More importantly, this move seals Niantic’s fate as an AR platform — a direction it’s been headed for a while.

Though the company has risen to prominence…


A common AR industry sentiment is that the smartphone will pave the way for smart glasses. Before AR glasses achieve consumer-friendly specs and price points, AR’s delivery system is the device we all have in our pockets. There, it can stimulate demand for AR experiences.

This thinking holds up, but a less-discussed product class could have a greater impact in priming consumers for AR glasses: wearables. Among other outcomes, AR glasses’ cultural barriers could be lessened by conditioning consumers to wearing sensors on their bodies.

Meanwhile, tech giants are motivated toward wearables. They’re each building wearables strategies that support or…


VR appears to be in the midst of a rebound. Covid-inflicted supply-chain impediments caused shipments to decline an estimated 10 percent in 2020, but that could have been worse if not for Quest 2’s Q4 performance. We’ve also seen a strong overall start for VR in 2021.

We continue to compile evidence to that effect. But going one level deeper, what market signals can serve as formula inputs to estimate Quest 2 unit sales specifically? As the current propellant for VR’s gradual mainstream penetration, Quest 2 sales can reveal key market insights.

So it’s time once again for our ongoing…


As you likely know, one of AR’s foundational principles is to fuse the digital and physical. The real world is a key part of that formula… and real-world relevance is often defined by location. That same relevance and scarcity are what drive real estate value….location, location, location.

Synthesizing these factors, one of AR’s battlegrounds will be in augmenting the world in location-relevant ways. That could be wayfinding with Google Live View, or visual search with Google Lens. Point your phone (or future glasses) at places and objects to contextualize them.

As you can tell from the above examples, Google will…


Frequent readers of this publication know that one of the most important and under-exposed AR sub-sectors is enabling technologies. Also known as “ picks & shovels,” these are the tools that do the back-end heavy lifting, including developer platforms and 3D creation engines.

Even less discussed are tools that enable AR delivery and infrastructure. We’re talking about efficient compression, rendering and delivery of graphically-intense and bandwidth-hungry AR content. That’s especially an issue when the endpoints are underpowered smartphones.

In fact, it’s often taken for granted that low-poly AR lenses are delivered and rendered nicely on your Snaps and selfies. But…


Snapchat is the engagement and revenue leader in consumer AR. This is driven largely from the high-frequency lens usage it’s been able to generate….and its ability to monetize. This stems from Snap’s AR focus, and the technology’s alignment with its core “ camera-company “ ethos.

Snap’s leading AR position also continues to be validated by performance indicators like advertiser ROI metrics. The latest figures were revealed in its recent Q1 earnings, where Snap announced continued user and revenue growth. This occurred in both AR and non-AR areas.

Before getting into the AR-specific growth metrics, what were its overall earnings highlights…


Like many analyst firms, one of the ongoing practices of AR Insider’s research arm ARtillery Intelligence is market sizing. A few times per year, it goes into isolation and buries itself deep in financial modeling. The latest such exercise zeroes in on headworn AR revenues.

This takes the insights and observations accumulated throughout the year and synthesizes them into hard numbers for spatial computing ( see methodology and inclusions/exclusions). It’s all about a strong forecast model and lots of rigor in assembling reliable inputs.

So what did the forecast uncover? At a high level, headworn AR revenue is projected to…


When it comes to emerging technologies, some companies are in a unique position to accelerate adoption. That can often happen by tapping into large established networks or user bases to expose and distribute the technology in question. It’s a classic incubation play.

In AR, Apple is a good example of this approach, given its work to seed user demand and developer interest through ARkit and other mobile means. Snap has likewise popularized AR lenses by integrating them into the existing and popular activity of social multimedia sharing.

But greater impact could come from the web’s most well-traveled destination: Google. Can…


A common AR industry sentiment is that the smartphone will pave the way for smart glasses. Before AR glasses achieve consumer-friendly specs and price points, AR’s delivery system is the device we all have in our pockets. There, it can stimulate demand for AR experiences.

This thinking holds up, but a less-discussed product class could have a greater impact in priming consumers for AR glasses: wearables. Among other outcomes, AR glasses’ cultural barriers could be lessened by conditioning consumers to wearing sensors on their bodies.

Meanwhile, tech giants are motivated toward wearables. They’re each building wearables strategies that support or…


AR continues to prove itself as a shopping tool. It can help consumers visualize products on “faces and spaces,” to make more informed decisions. This is amplified during a pandemic when it can bring back some of the product essence and dimension that’s lost in retail lockdowns.

AR meanwhile resonates on the sell side: brands and retailers. On one level, it appeals to their creative sensibilities — erstwhile stuck in 2D media — to demonstrate products in their full 3D glory. On a more practical level, they’re seeing real results from AR-based campaigns.

This is what we call “camera commerce”…

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