One of the leading figures in augmented reality, Caspar Thykier, believes that AR will happily sit alongside virtual reality in the future rather than replace it.

“Most of the conferences over the last three to five years have pitted AR and VR against each other,” explained the CEO and co-founder of Zappar to the Pocket-lint podcast. “I don’t think that’s the case. AR and VR are profoundly different experiences and they do different jobs incredibly well. Clearly VR requires a different form factor, a different headset, a different kind of experience, and AR can be more ubiquitous because of the nature of it on mobile devices. I don’t think it is replacing it, but I do think that they are beginning to find their own rhythms in terms of what they can do well in terms of their own life cycles.”

Founded in 2010, Zappar specialises in augmented reality experiences for brands allowing them to turn almost anything like print, products, packaging or even a place into an interactive experience that can serve a video or offer you more information.

The CEO, who discussed a wide range of topics around augmented reality on the podcast, also believes that the advent of mobile webAR experiences rather than having to rely on native apps will help increase awareness and use of the technology over the next three years.

“I think that opens up lots of opportunities for certain brands and businesses to be more accepting of the potential of AR. Specifically in connected packaging and that ability to scan different types of packaging and products to access all sorts of types of information. Some of it might fit in that surprise and delight type of storytelling and some of it informational and instructional.”

Google and Apple are already experimenting with webAR based experiences for both information and shopping.

Over the summer Google launched a number of augmented reality animals using ARCore, such as sharks and lions, that search users could put into the real world to see just how big they are, while Apple offers, through ARKit, web retailers the ability to let shoppers see the size of products in their home via the iPhone or iPad.  

Thykier welcomes the support:

“Google and Apple’s involvement and push into AR is a good thing. This continued shift in the importance of the camera on these devices definitely opens up more opportunities.”  

But it’s not all rosy, the CEO does admit that having to hold your phone or tablet to see the experiences can be a barrier, but that many people outside the industry don’t think like that at the moment:

“I still think we are a few years out from that, I think most people don’t think about that because they are so reliant on their phone for other things. It certainly will be nice when it’s handsfree, no question, it will really open up some fun experiences.”

You can listen the full interview in the Pocket-lint podcast out this Friday.