Social media is predicted to aid the rapid growth of the future realities market, rising to $14.1 billion by the end of 2021, according to industry experts.


Augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) has paved the way for the creation of smart phone applications and consequently new revenue streams which should help to drive consumer adoption.

The race is on

According to a report by Futuresource, AR and MR technologies have a long way to go before becoming a feature in everyday lives of consumers.

IBC2017 For more on AR, VR and MR, attend the Leaving the Hype Behind session on 17 September 

The report draws experts from across the media industry including vendors, content creators and service providers, who agreed it’s only a matter of time before the development of “the essential killer application” will be established and, in doing so, will secure native AR and MR mobile content as a dominant platform that is competitive across the media landscape.

Snapchat and Pokemon Go were reported as directly driving the success of the AR and MR market value in 2016, which reached $1.7 billion. As a result of the short-term success, the market subsequently has been overinflated for 2017 after losing momentum, reaching only $1.4 billion.

What is the end game?

While there has been significant focus on the establishment of virtual reality (VR) as the ultimate “must-have” consumer device, the AR and MR end-game is clear.

Futuresource Market Analyst Michael Boreham said: “For Facebook, Apple, Google, SnapChat, Microsoft et al AR and MR is considered to be the next major computing platform, offering a revolutionary technological leap that has the potential to evolve and enhance our digital interaction across industries such as communication, utilities, entertainment and e-commerce.”

Senior Director Consumer Electronics IHS Markit Tom Morrod told IBC365: ”To be connected to and connected with others at a distance is something we have been striving for, for years.

“AR and MR will provide an interactive digital layer to interact with content alongside the real world.”  

 According to Futuresource between 2017 and 2021 the long term outlook for compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is 77% for mobile AR and MR with social media driving this growth. 

The key challenge is to develop the range of essential applications that will drive consumer adoption with the ability to reach users and innovate in a unique application. 

”It’s not just tech adoption; it requires consumers to want that digital immersion” - Tom Morrod 

Futuresouce Research Analyst Media and Entertainment Amisha Chauhan also told IBC365: “AR and MR has been in use for several years even within consumer applications – however, most consumers still don’t associate it with the term AR and MR.

“Whilst it may not strictly be the end game, untethered glasses are considered the ideal solution for AR and MR, offering an improved experience over the current mobile experience. However, this will all be redundant without compelling and useful content and applications.”

The promise of technology 

“The key battle is not which platform is the most innovative, as the social media networks are looking over each other’s shoulders and mirroring their ideas, but which ecosystem will win out.

”Ultimately, the end-game is who will own the customer and where will they conduct their mobile computing needs whilst utilising AR and MR?” said Boreham. 

Morrod told IBC365: ”It’s not clear if AR and MR are going to be a success but there is something in that technology which is going from a 2D flat experience to an immersive engaging experience.”  

IBC2017 Hear from producers and developers on the first ever entertainment format using Interactive Mixed Reality (IMR) on TV and mobile devices: Case Study: Lost In Time - TV and Mixed Reality