Augmented reality has exploded in recent years. According to statistical aggregator Statista, the AR market is worth $8.9 billion USD in 2021, with over 810 million active mobile users worldwide utilising apps that feature augmented reality technology.
But how does an ambitious entrepreneur turn an idea into a business that leverages the benefits of AR? In a highly competitive space, how can budding businesses stand out, ensure they are delivering value for customers and end users, whilst avoiding some of the common pitfalls that sink up to 60% of companies within the first three years?
In this article, I’ll share my experience of starting my own AR business Fixzy Assist. We’ll also explore why it’s critical to have an intimate understanding of your target markets when working with AR, what to watch out for when bringing in technical expertise and why you should always invest strongly in dependable teams.
How to Get Into AR: Don’t Start with AR
First, let’s begin with some context. My professional experience has been acquired from a long history of starting up businesses in the home repairs industry. While designing a technical solution for real-world room dimensioning, it occurred to me that using remote guidance through a smartphone would be a far more efficient way to solve the problem.
As a result, we began developing a smartphone web app that could apply the benefits of AR to any business requiring expert assistance.
By starting with the real-world problem, augmented reality became just one of the ways in which we could provide competitive value. Technology wasn’t an additional gimmick but a practical way to remove frustrating inefficiencies that businesses have to contend with every day.
3 Critical Tips for Creating a Successful AR Business
My years of experience in setting up and selling companies have taught me that there are three critical considerations aspiring entrepreneurs must get right if they are to build successful businesses.
The following especially applies to AR businesses, as we’ll explore below:
- Know Your Sectors — Hone an intimate understanding of your target markets
- Focus on Your Customers — Don’t get distracted by developmental complexity
- Understand Your Potential — Establish realistic timelines and a plan for future growth.
Know Your Sectors: How to Communicate the Benefits of AR
Understanding your target sector is essential, especially when designing a business that intends to capitalise on the business benefits of AR. For Fixzy Assist, this involved optimising the use case to challenge the inefficiencies that cause bottlenecks in the home repairs and construction sector.
Our direct experience of the industry enabled us to create an AR remote guided assistance app tailored to the issues the industry has struggled with for years.
When communicating the benefits of AR to your target market, it’s essential to explain the advantages that the customer can expect in the language they already use. To your target customers, AR technology isn’t the interesting piece: it’s always about what pain points they can remove by investing in your solution.
Key Tip: Invest in Tech Teams That Can Deliver
Be cautious about who you partner with to create the technology. Plenty of development teams claim to be able to develop cutting-edge technology at a highly competitive rate. It’s much better to invest upfront in a market and a team that you can trust rather than wasting your time trying to save money early in the process.
Focus on Your Customers: Applying Augmented Reality in Business Applications
Although this point might sound obvious, it can be all too easy to lose sight of the customer due to drawn-out development cycles. Falling into the trap of forgetting about the customer can lead young companies to develop overcomplicated solutions that try to achieve too much, too quickly. If business owners aren’t careful, interfaces can become confusing and unintuitive.
The best way to keep your vision laser-focused on the customer during the development process is to establish a single statement of truth. To do this, distil your objective down to a single, emotive sentence that everyone can understand. The single statement of sentiment for Fixzy was this:
Giving end-users confidence to act and fix issues in the moment of crisis.
Our emphasis on giving users confidence meant that everyone we brought into the project understood what we were trying to achieve and, more importantly, why we were doing it. Technology isn’t included in the app for the sake of it. Rather, the reason for including AR in the first place is to give confidence to the customers and end-users we were set up to serve.
Understand Your Potential: Designing a Future for Augmented Reality in Business
Successful businesses don’t just have an eye on what’s possible today. Creating a long-term, viable business depends on the founder having a clear (albeit flexible) idea of where future opportunities lay.
Applying foresight and critical thinking in the early stages can help you explain how you intend to scale your solution, and therefore the business as a whole. Although you need to keep the technical development streamlined and neat, establishing a growth vision and realistic timeline can help to provide your young company with a north star: something to aim for when the going gets tough.
The strategy for Fixzy Assist has been to keep a clear focus on the viability and flexibility of the solution. For other businesses, the strategy might be to keep the service niche and rollout across multiple locations or steadily release additional services that increase the viability of AR across industries.
Designing Augmented Reality in Business: It’s In the Journey
There’s no doubt that augmented reality is an inspiring space with boundless potential that entrepreneurs are just starting to leverage with modern solutions. But for ambitious entrepreneurs, there are some critical factors to consider from the outset.
By maintaining a focus on the customer, honing an intimate knowledge of your target markets, and developing a vision for the future, ambitious entrepreneurs can further drive the fourth industrial revolution.
Harness the Power of AR: Leverage Logistical Efficiency with Fixzy
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Our artificial intelligence, computer vision, AR and deep learning increase first-time fix rates by connecting customers with expert guidance in an instant.
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