Last year, it looked like augmented reality apps were at the cusp of becoming mainstream as numerous ad campaigns and mobile apps started to use this technology. The same goes for QR codes. For the most part, though, both technologies haven't been able to go beyond being a gimmick yet and according to a new study by youth marketing and research firm Ypulse, even the members of the tech-savvy Millennial generation either have no idea what QR codes and augmented reality apps are or don't see any value in these technologies.
According to Ypulse's survey, high school and college students, for the most part, have no idea what augmented reality and QR codes are. Only 3% of Millennials have tried AR apps more than 4 times, though far more (7%) seem to use QR codes somewhat regularly. Mostly, though, the fact that only about 11% of high school and college students have ever used an AR app shows that there is still a lot of room to grow for these services, but only if they can provide some value to their users.
QR Codes: A Solution in Search for a Problem
As Kevin Marks pointed out just a few days ago, QR codes don't really solve any real-world problem. Most people use them in lieu of a URL, but most people can neither identify what a QR code actually is and those who do now have to pull out their phones, start an app and then hope the app can scan the code correctly. Few people think this is a worthwhile exercise.
AR Apps: Easy to Use But Not Useful
As for AR apps, the majority of those students who actually tried them thought they were easy to use (34%) but just weren't useful (53%). Indeed, the AR industry itself has, for the most part, relegated its products to novelty items that pop up little animations when users point their cameras at an ad or scan the horizon with their phones. There are clear technical limitations to what AR can do right now, especially as long as phones don't have the power to do real image recognition to the degree where AR can become more than just a video overlaid with crudely estimated guesses of where the next subway station might be.
There is a missing link between mobile apps today and AR apps. Although not as useful as the public may want them to be, AR apps will probably make a second entry. The possibilities of applied AR in our home, offices, cars and private environments are just too varied for any passionate researcher/entrepreneur to stop pursuing their vision just because teens don't seem to like them as much at the moment.
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