The Audio AR Industry – Q3 2019

I am just coming around to thinking of there being such a thing as the “audio AR industry” and not just esoteric artistic explorations. This report by the folks over at ARtillery Intelligence shows how much things have changed over the past few years as some very big players are realizing that augmentation for your ears has a ton of potential.


I have not read the entire report because it is a professional research report that is sold to interested corporations for more than I can afford, but here are some nuggets from their announcement of the report as well as a short video that presumably summarizes their research.

You can think of AirPods today like the first iPhone before the App Store came out.

Mike Boland – ARInsider

Altogether the revenue opportunity for audio AR apps will grow to $3.46B by 2023.

Mike Boland – ARInsider

Huawei “smart” glasses

Looks like Huawei is getting into the AR glasses game along with Bose, though they appear to be significantly behind at this point. Also, it is very hard to tell what their intentions are beyond glasses that act like headphones that have some form of interaction capability with tapping/touching. I don’t even know if these have an IMU built-in (though the ability to tap them to interact does suggest that they do) so they may not really be on par with the Bose Frames, but more will likely come out soon.

AAR with VPS


I have been thinking for a while that Visual Positioning Systems (VPS) combined with big data and AI may be ultimately be very helpful for AR given how important accurate, precise and consistent location is for many AR experiences.

I recently came across this article from last year about a very interesting experiment using VPS with audio AR. It is worth a read.

A Glimpse into a Screenless, Audio AR World

TL;DR – These guys did an experiment with audio AR glasses, sort of like Bose Frames, but instead of relying solely on GPS data for location and glasses’ IMU data for head orientation, they incorporated a camera and connected the setup to a cloud VPS system. I’ve been wary of the Bose AR system’s reliance on GPS positioning given that those error bars are big enough that when combined with IMU data errors, the compounded inaccuracies can be so significant the data served up could be entirely unrelated to the viewed object. It feels to me that something like VPS could be much more accurate, though there is no doubt incorporating a camera into glasses would increase bulk, power consumption and generally complicate matters. Not to mention a whole additional host of privacy issues spring up as soon as cameras are introduced. I love what Bose has done and there is huge potential; I’m looking forward to seeing how their engineers will tackle this issue.

Some observations from the article were music to my ears:

What’s striking about the AR Audio user flow is its simplicity.

We believe in a world where we no longer have to stare down at our screens while walking, and instead listen to interesting stories about places just by looking around.

This is where creative developers and location-based content producers can use VPS and audio AR to unlock useful new ways for people to connect directly with the world in front of them without looking down at a flat 2D map.