At what point do you declare an emerging technology as having reached tipping point? There’s a lot of academic thought on this, but one factor that I always point to is when you no longer have to explain the nature of a technology in layman’s terms with people: The technology is so ubiquitous, they are already familiar with it.
Whenever I have to explain Augmented Reality to anyone now, I merely have to refer to Pokémon Go and say, “that’s augmented reality”. In case you’ve been living in a bubble for the past couple of weeks, it’s worth explaining Pokémon Go. This is the latest gaming craze where players have to hunt for cutesy monsters by wandering around their neighborhood and capturing them using an augmented reality enhanced app on their phone. The game has been such a success that delivery firms have had to send memos to their staff to warn them of distracted kids wandering into busy roads without care and attention of their real world surroundings. Matrix signs on main roads have flashed up warnings of the dangers of playing Pokémon and driving at the same time… Yes really, that’s the world we live in today.
One of the barriers for the widespread adoption of augmented reality in aerospace is the lack of use cases where a compelling business benefit can be expressed. However, augmented reality technology has until now has not been widely understood and adopted in the consumer world. Now that we have a cultural hit in the mainstream, more consumers of technical content will have a desire to see similar applications in their working environments. That in turn, will lead to more use-cases being offered with tangible business benefits.
So, are we at the tipping point for augmented reality in aerospace? Thinking back to existing technologies that are now widespread, such as mobility and tablets, it often took a cultural hit in the consumer market to drive demand in the enterprise. The signs suggest that Pokémon Go could be the driver we’ve been waiting for.