In the recently accelerated but still-early phases of AR, it can be hard to keep up with market signals that indicate opportunity. This was the topic of a recent ARtillry Intelligence Briefing, and we’ve decided to make a companion presentation for ARtillry readers (video below).

The background starts with the macro trends that have converged to make multimedia sharing a prevalent consumer use case. That includes evolving camera optics, mobile broadband, millennial behavior and innovation from Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest among others.

That’s caused the smartphone camera to take over as the next development platform, where lots of product innovation resides. And that trend in turn has natural synergies with smartphone-based AR, as we’ve seen through development platform launches over the past year.

The smartphone installed base has further validated and motivated tech giants to move in. It started with Facebook’s Camera Effects, leading up to Apple’s more saturated ARkit. And others have joined the AR party, each in unique ways that mirror their respective goals and positioning.

— Google sees AR as a way to boost “visual search” and user engagement, towards supporting its core search business.

— Amazon wants to get you to buy more stuff, using AR to qualify purchases and visualize product placement in home.

— Facebook wants to boost multimedia sharing through AR lenses, supporting its core ad business and setting a foundation for an immersive media future.

— Apple launched ARKit to breathe new life into waning iPhone sales and generally position its future hardware for continued dominance.

— Microsoft will combine a vertically integrated hardware approach (Hololens) with its classic model of licensing mixed reality software to OEMs.

One of the takeaways is that each of these tech companies is playing to their strengths in the path to market they’ve chosen. And as they execute, there will be gaps in the value chain that open throughout these developer ecosystems. And that’s where business opportunites will be spotted.

For example, as we explored earlier this week, AR commerce and navigation apps will require location tagged data such as place information and local business attributes. These data sets will be a valuable and in-demand component of an AR future. What else does it mean?

 For developers, the opportunity starts with AR app toolkits. Aligning platform capabilities and audience/reach of each available platform will be key success factors.

 Startups can identify areas where greatest demand and valuations lie, especially if interested in market exits or partnerships with tech giants setting this course.

 Non-developers and media companies should watch the AR approaches and market shares of tech giants to decide which platforms offer opportunities for audience extension and user engagement.

We unpack this further in the video presentation embedded below. Consisting of slides and audio voiceover, it walks through some of the findings of ARtillry’s latest Intelligence Briefing. Play in full using the embedded version, or use chapter links to jump around.

AR State of the Union: Chapter Links
Definitions, market sizes
Mobile: AR’s stepping stone

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Disclosure: ARtillry has no financial stake in the companies mentioned in this article, nor received payment for its production. Disclosure and ethics policy can be seen here.