Augmented Reality, or AR as it is often called, is already changing the world.
Consider Go Pokemon, which has engaged game-loving consumers with unprecedented speed. Over the past two weeks, the Augmented Reality game has become the world's most popular leisure activity, luring millions of users and arousing the interest of millions more. Such companies as Disney and Time Warner could be next to capitalize on Augmented Reality mania with their beloved franchises and arsenal of likable characters.
But gaming represents potentially only one of many industries that Augmented Reality will impact. AR has applications for such areas as dating, real estate, retail and health and wellness.
Credit Pokemon Go for creating a wider awareness of Augmented Reality's promise.
Pokemon Go uses an individual's real life locations -- natural and man-made landmarks and animate objects -- as a backdrop for capturing and fortifying Pokemon characters and engaging other Pokemon in augmented reality gyms. The app requires users to hold up their smart phones and uses Google maps data to sync with the user's location at any particular time.
The craze has sent Nintendo (NTDOY) stock soaring to more than double its value of two weeks ago. Nintendo has stakes in Niantic, a closely held Google spin-off and the Pokemon Co., which holds licensing rights to the beloved Pokemon characters.
Below you'll find four other industries and companies that could benefit in the months and years ahead from Augmented Reality technology.
Dating: Pokemon Go has already succeeded for connecting people by motivating people to leave their homes and play the game in parks and other public areas that can serve as a backdrop for capturing Pokemon characters and engaging other characters in augmented reality gym bouts.
Pokemon GO has more downloads than Match's Tinder accumulated in its four years of existence. It is somewhat of a Tinder 3D, and if a chat feature is added enabling users to communicate with players nearby that would further enhance its ability to bring people together. Moreover, users may be more likely to have successful dates via a shared interest like an AR game than through chats and other online communications.
Real Estate: By holding up a phone to a property that's for sale, users could not only access key information, including the number of bedrooms and square footage, but also enjoy a more detailed view of the interior. Look for major online real estate players like Zillow, Trulia and Redfin to explore the use of this technology..
Retail: Users could learn about special offers, new products, or take an advance, detailed look at a restaurant that they may want to try.
Exercise: Pokemon Go has already motivated video game users to leave their houses and exercise. Players can only find Pokemon characters or move up a level when they actively participate. Other exercise apps could capitalize on this type of gamification technology.