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Augmented Reality Battle Intensifies With Bigwigs' Efforts

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Augmented Reality (AR) technology has been gaining solid momentum in this data-driven world owing to its numerous end-user applications in various industries including healthcare, automotive, e-commerce, gaming, home furnishing, advertisement, banking and education.

Moreover, the amalgamation of AR with Virutal Reality (VR) is increasing the number of use cases of the underlined technology. Further, a radical shift in consumer preferences and demand for interaction between real world and 3D virtual objects in real time by businesses is a tailwind.

Tech bigwigs like Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) , Alphabet’s (GOOGL - Free Report) Google, Apple (AAPL - Free Report) , Facebook (FB - Free Report) and Snap (SNAP - Free Report) along with online retail giant Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) and Chinese e-commerce dominant Alibaba (BABA) are leaving no stone unturned to capitalise on the burgeoning need for AR technology, which is experiencing growing use cases.

According to a report from MarketsandMarkets, AR market is expected to witness a CAGR of 46.6% between 2019 and 2024 and hit $72.7 billion by 2024.

Further, an IDC report indicates that worldwide spending on AR/VR products and services is anticipated to see a CAGR of 77% between 2019 and 2023.

Consequently, growing endeavors by the abovementioned companies in a bid to rapidly penetrate this booming market is intensifying competition.

Year-to-Date Price Performance

AR Gaining Steam Across Social Media Players

Facebook is gaining on AR camera effects on Messenger that helps brands to gain traction across customers. Further, AR Studio on Instagram enables users create new face masks and AR world effects. Additionally, AR-based ads on Facebook platform are contributing to ad revenues.

Further, its strengthening focus on 6DOF devices—Oculus Quest and Rift headsets remain noteworthy. Moreover, progress on Oculus Quest is likely to aid the company in making consumer-ready AR glasses.

Additionally, the buyout of Scape Technologies, which has reportedly built localization engine designed for city-scale AR,is in sync with the company’s initiatives toward bolstering AR capabilities. Further, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company is working on an all-day AR wearable that is expected to launch between 2023 and 2025.

Meanwhile, Snap is benefiting from growing momentum of Spectacles AR glasses. Further, the company recently unveiled a Scan— an AR tool that enables digital interaction of users with whatever they see through their phone camera.
Further, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company has launched Lens Web Builder, which is an AR toolkit designed for the advertisers. Also, its robust Lens Studio 2.0 remains noteworthy. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

AR Usage in Healthcare: Google & Microsoft

Growing proliferation of AR glasses in healthcare industry is intensifying the battle between Google and Microsoft. Per a report from Research Dive, revenues generated by AR technology in healthcare market are expected to exceed $1.9 billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 25.5%.

Google that has recently acquired smart glasses maker, North, is best known for its Google Glass. Notably, the company can gain solid traction in the healthcare industry with its Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 as it reduces the possibility of making mistakes.

Moreover, the Google Glass vision is the most-used AR capability of the search giant in the multi trillion healthcare industry. Notably, Google Glass vision automatically displays up-to-date patient data, which remains crucial in the surgical procedures. Notably, Phillips and Accenture Technology have partnered in a bid to enable surgeons to view vital statistics through Google Glass.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has potential to rival Google on the back of its Hololens—based on mixed reality that is a combination of AR/VR technology.

Notably, this Zacks Rank #3 stock is also riding on the expanding portfolio of AR glasses, which is comprised of HoloLens and HoloLens 2. HoloLens is known to enable surgeons to view CT and MRI imaging of the patient in 3D during the operation.

Moreover, HoloLens has been able to project the human body in front of doctors, making surgeries easier and successful.

AR in E-commerce: Amazon & Alibaba

Adoption of AR technology by online retailers like Amazon and Alibaba is aiding them in providing better product visibility to customers before the sale, in turn enriching their shopping experience.

Amazon, which carries a Zacks Rank #2, is gaining on AR View app that enables shoppers to understand how a product will look in their homes before finally purchasing it.

Further, Alibaba is benefiting from its AR infused shopping app called Taobao Buy, which offers 3D images of a product that can be used to view the product virtually in the house before buying. The company carries a Zacks Rank #3.

Apple Capitalizing on AR Usage in Gaming & Others

Apple’s buyout of NextVR is expected to significantly ramp up its AR/VR efforts. NextVR provides live VR video contents, courtesy of its partnerships with NBA, Wimbledon, Fox Sports, among others.

The Zacks Rank #3 company is reportedly planning to release a combined AR/VR headset by 2021 or 2022, followed by a pair of AR glasses in 2022 or 2023. These are focused on gaming, video watching and virtual meetings. The company is also working on a common operating system (apparently called rOS) for AR and VR.

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