Burberry's augmented reality integration in its iOS 11 app
Burberry’s augmented reality integration in its iOS 11 app

“At some point, we’re going to look back and think, how did we not have a digital layer on the physical world,” Greg Jones, director of VR and AR at Google, said at Shoptalk Europe earlier this month.

The role of augmented reality (AR) is set to be transformative, he argued, and that’s particularly the case when it’s applied to retail.

Those words were echoed in an interview with Apple CEO, Tim Cook, published by Vogue magazine around the same time, in which he said he believes AR will impact everything from runway shows to shopping. “Over time, I think [these features] will be as key as having a website,” he commented.

The fact is both Apple and Google are facilitating this happening. While AR has been around for many years, 2017 will be marked as the beginning of mass consumer uptake, thanks to the smartphone integration we’re starting to see.

The introduction of Apple’s ARkit, a developer platform for augmented reality, and the subsequent launch of iOS 11, which hosts it, has paved the way on iPhones and iPads. Google’s ARcore meanwhile, brings the same to Android.

Consumer adoption follows the fact users have long been playing in this space – they know what AR is by the filters they put on their faces on Snapchat, or the characters they’ve chased around the streets using Pokémon Go.

The difference now, is having this utility integrated in a multitude of other apps on their phones; making it a second nature experience to add that digital layer to everything they are doing. Head over to Forbes to read the full story, including the fashion and retail brands already jumping on board.