Augmented reality a distant dream in India: Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan says despite the hype building around expected products from Google and Apple that will deliver new and exciting services to displays on customers’ glasses, there is still a long way to go for Augmented Reality (AR) to become real reality.

The industry heavyweights are moving their pieces, however, the infrastructure behind these services will take a lot of players to align and deliver. Simple services such as video-calling will be easy to implement, but the really futuristic services will take time.

There may be some product releases this year, but it won’t really be until late 2014 that the whole package around these glasses starts to come into effect. Such products have an evolution cycle which varies a lot, based on the regions, culture and economy.

Though these products are expected in India with great interest, there may not be a huge impact for at least another 4-5 years. The primary hurdle for such products to be adopted here in large scale within a short span is mainly cost and security concerns.

More than any other group of services created to-date, delivery of AR services to a single customer relies on a big, wide eco- system. Without the sensors in your environment – be it your house, car, office, the store or in your arm – the various AR services dreamt up by the techies will not be able to function.

One has to also consider the speed of mobile or Wi-Fi coverage, the IT system of the suppliers, the IT in your house/car etc. as well as having the right device and/or smartphone combination. Smartphone apps are child’s-play in comparison.

Telecom operators in India find it difficult to scale the exponential increase in data demand from mobile devices. When new AR based wearable devices are introduced, optimizing the mobile networks to suit such devices becomes a complex task.

Though the rising middle class of the country is extremely fascinated by such technologies, the high cost of these devices is expected to lower the adoption rate among them.

The mobile operators may find it difficult for a period of 2-3 years, to orchestrate their network resources for small number of AR based wearable device users within the country.

The manufacturers of such devices have not addressed key security concerns such as privacy and transaction issues. In recent times, Indian government, regulatory boards and consumer forums have raised various questions about the privacy violations and feeble content regulations in smart devices, social networking sites, mobile and online transactions.

In India it is likely that such devices are met with multiple restrictions from the bureaucracy and regulators. In order to facilitate widespread usage of such AR innovations, government and regulators should ensure that necessary regulations are passed, user privacy is protected, security and safety issues are addressed.

In order to overcome all the issues stated above, mobile operators, telecom carriers are expected to provide strong guidelines encompassing various security and operational issues.

Though the telecom operators have to start with limited number of users, they are expected to use this opportunity for putting up strong protocols, security guidelines and resource optimization plans, which if successful, can be implemented on a larger number of users.

In spite of all the hype surrounding the AR based wearable devices market, the reviews could still turn out to be negative. Especially with Indian customers, it has been proven in the past that products without clear cut benefits get rejected.

It is necessary that telecom operators in India adopt a wait and watch approach and place enough measures to make a balanced solution delivery. It is expected that when iGlass is launched in a large consumer market, the prices will go down, but the percentage of the price slash is unpredictable.

Hence, many stake holders would prefer to wait and watch for the product along with the verdict on its usability.

Google Glass or Apple iGlass may look promising in the marketing hype that’s building, but the reality of the service behind them could be disappointing for some time if customers are expecting streamed videos, adverts in stores that come alive on their screens and the other sci-fi style apps that people dreaming up today.

picture source:

[email protected]