Much like the farm wife with her Sears catalog, consumers will be able to use simple AR applications to make more informed buying decisions. Some items are well-suited to commerce with AR, but others need image recognition and databases containing all the information a consumer might need. Expect retail outlets and brands that provide fast-moving consumer goods to be among those eager to exploit mobile AR for shopping.
There is a risk that talk about haptic interfaces and heads up displays for AR will seem like just hype, and certain industry participants fear that over promising and under-delivering could send AR in the same direction as Virtual Reality went a decade ago: into oblivion. That said, new ways of interacting with digital data on the real world are possible and not hype to those who work on them. To appreciate the full potential of new user interaction for AR, a test drive is valuable.
The hottest applications for AR in the next year will closely resemble familiar human interactions with the physical world. We interact with objects in our environment. Then we move through space, get to where we are going with the fewest detours, or, perhaps to discover places and landmarks (points of interest) that would otherwise have been overlooked. We also enjoy interacting with one another.
RFID remains an interesting option to supplement other tracking technologies for indoor applications and situations which are relatively tightly controlled (e.g., teaching/training, museums, entertainment venues, architecture and urban planning). Tracking for consumer AR applications in uncontrolled environments when all the user has is a camera phone remains a very, very challenging area of research and we should expect to continue seeing major developments in this field in the year ahead before it is gradually integrated into our everyday AR applications.