The global markets for augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) technologies will together exceed a total revenue of $95 billion by 2021, according to a new report from ABI Research.

In its first study tracking the AR and MR markets, ABI identifies 244 companies operating in the space worldwide, with this number expected to continue to climb. Data overlay and hands free usage, whether through passive AR or interactive and spatially aware MR, is providing significant value to early adopters, according to ABI.

Stephanie Lawrence
Stephanie Lawrence

"Increasing demand led to a more compelling, albeit complex, market," said Stephanie Lawrence, research analyst at ABI. "There is significantly more opportunity for companies across business models than even six months ago, with a need for devices, content, developer tools, professional services, and more to drive growth."

The most common business model is one that focuses on AR and MR data, applications, software, and content distribution, with 45 percent of the companies identified currently taking this approach.

Enterprise use cases will dominate the AR and MR markets, accounting for 94% of device shipments in 2017 and responsible for 89 percent of shipments in 2022. Verticals include logistics, retail, commerce, marketing, technology, media and entertainment, and manufacturing markets.

Energy, manufacturing, and logistics verticals are the dominant enterprise markets for smart glasses, comprising nearly 60 percent of smart glass shipments in 2021, ABI said.

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Bob Violino

Bob Violino

Bob Violino is a freelance technology and business writer who covers a variety of topics, including big data and analytics, cloud computing, information security and mobile technology.