What do you think of when you hear “AR?” No, it’s not the much-anticipated punchline to “What’s the new pirate movie rated?” (Not this time, anyway). Actually, it stands for augmented reality; a technology that enhances one’s live view via a real-time, computer-generated image, typically on a smartphone or tablet. Augmented reality experiences are quickly becoming the hottest marketing tool for brands. If you haven’t considered how AR can fit into the marketing mix for your business, now is the time. Google and Apple are making sure that mobile phones are THE device for AR as they incorporate the appropriate hardware in their smartphones, while Amazon and other retailers see AR as a valued addition to their customers’ shopping experiences. Want more about AR’s mobile marketing benefits? Here are a few fun facts: Approximately 77% of U.S. consumers already have a smartphone. This provides brands with a great case to develop AR platforms sooner rather than later. As augmented reality grows, its vehicle will likely remain on mobile—there is an ease of access for businesses due to the absence of clunky headset technology. AR already has quite a few existing applications, particularly in retail and industrial industries. ARKit and ARCore, two AR platforms created by Apple and Google (respectively), allow for AR application design, meaning that developers can build augmented reality features into existing apps or create new ones with unique AR features. For example, Amazon’s app utilizes an AR feature that allows a user to virtually view certain products in their homes before buying them. What’s the latest and greatest in augmented reality? Google’s aforementioned ARCore was released to software developers in February 2018. They unveiled tools to make augmented reality apps for mobile devices using the Android OS, initiating its most recent battle with Apple’s iPhone over super-advanced smartphone features. Google, which planted its AR flag in the sand first, now allows developers to upload their own ARCore-based applications to the Play Store. AR take off: initiated! Some BIG companies doing BIG things with AR on mobile: Snapchat: It’s easy to say that Snapchat’s been the major driving force behind the augmented reality revolution with the general public. They were the first social media company to successfully bring AR to its user base with the launch of facial filters, or “lenses” in 2015. IKEA: In September 2017, the furniture company introduced the app IKEA Place. This innovation allows its customers to view furniture inside their home in real-time with 98% accuracy, according to the company. L’Oreal: The beauty company giant, L’Oreal, developed its own AR-branded apps, including Makeup Genius in 2014 and Style My Hair in early 2018, allowing users to virtually try on makeup and hair styles. With all this innovation in augmented reality, we’re staying ahead of the real curve. If you’re looking to develop or refine an AR app for your business (or you just have questions/comments/concerns on the topic), Rebel Interactive Group can help!