Most small businesses have probably never thought much about augmented reality. But for all its uniqueness, AR app development has more roles to play than you might realize.

Whether it’s part of a marketing strategy or actually a part of business operations, AR app development tends to seem like something that’s reserved for big companies with lots of financial resources. And that’s only natural. If there’s one thing that you associate augmented reality with, it’s probably Pokémon Go, which was developed for the gaming giant Nintendo.

Indeed, that’s the first example cited in a recent article on this topic at Business Insider. But the purpose of that article is to bring attention to the growing trend of AR app development and the opportunities it represents. And toward that end, it points out that some estimates have the augmented reality industry in particular growing to 120 billion dollars in the year ahead.

Of course, a number like that reinforces the idea that AR app development is a playground for multinational, billion-dollar organizations like Nintendo. Yet if you were to break down that huge figure into its component parts, you’d certainly find a tremendous assortment of small expenditures on AR app development through boutique tech companies in places like Charlotte, NC.

There’s no rule that says AR needs to be some grand, world-spanning game experience. It consists of anything that allows a customer’s handheld device to interact with the real world. And that concept can be used to tremendous effect, not just for marketing but also for training and ordinary business operations.

The Business Insider article confirms this as well as pointing to public safety and healthcare as just a couple of non-obvious examples of industries this type of app development has already penetrated. It goes on to say, “There’s no doubt that AR will continue to penetrate more industries and markets as time goes on.”

That goes to show that the possibilities are starting to be recognized, but AR app development is still something of a novelty. And if your business occupies one of those industries or markets that this technology has not yet penetrated, there could be great advantages in being among the first to adopt it.

With a little imagination, you may be able to think of ways to encourage people to interact with your business in person and on-screen, simultaneously. Opportunities include AR app development that provides additional information about a product when customers scan the label, as well as apps that respond to audio-visual cues in order to teach procedures to new employees as they follow prompts on their smartphones.

You can even co-opt the basic Pokémon concept by providing customers with an app that encourages them to complete a scavenger hunt, as a way of learning more about the business and possibly winning prizes from it. The global scale of Nintendo’s app is obviously beyond the scope of almost any other business, but the idea behind it is available to everyone.

It’s worth remembering that no single type of app development is prohibitively expensive from the start. It’s all a matter of what you plan to do with it, and whether you can find the right app development company for the job. If you can, then you’ll find that the entire spectrum of digital marketing tools is at your disposal. For many small businesses, a lack of imagination is a greater barrier in this area than a lack of budget.