As time progresses, so does our ability to interact with the world around us. And when businesses use the new tools available to them because of technological advancement, they flourish.
Augmented reality (AR) is a new technology that takes advantage of the rapid digitization of industries the world over. Its countless uses for are a source of both inspiration to most and intimidation to some – but there’s no need to fear.
Today, we’re going to talk about the impact AR is having and will soon have, and we’ll also discuss why your business needs to avoid being left behind.
Analytics and Intelligence
The term “augmented reality” was created by Tom Caudell and David Mizel in 1992, and was meant to describe data produced by a computer that is superimposed in the real world.
Now, we’re able to use the data collected by AR devices in combination with motion recognition tools to solve a wide range of design problems.
Images are easier to perceive than text. Today, we can see a clear evolution towards visual data 3D representations of data and imagery. And as visualization software becomes publically available for ordinary users, so will visual objects – through everything from social media to scientific papers. The software will then reward developers with analytics and intelligence about the ways users interact with these visual objects.
And when all of your products are visualized digitally in 3D, you’ll be able to collect analytics from your website or catalog in real time.
Augmented Reality in Industry 4.0
There’s a term for what augmented reality has become: disruptive technology.
Augmented reality is a new form of human-machine interaction that improves the transfer of digital instructions to the physical world. Advanced robots and 3D printers are now at the point where their reliability and low cost are starting to make sense for industrial applications.
In January 2016, Goldman Sachs released a report that highlighted the future impact of augmented reality and virtual reality across a number of industries. They listed nine areas that would drive AR and VR revenues in the future:
- Real Estate
- Video Entertainment
- Live Events
However, many companies are not keeping track of the advancements in AR and could be left behind. In a survey of 300 manufacturers in January 2015 by McKinsey, only 48 percent considered themselves ready for Industry 4.0.
In order for companies to move successfully into the future of Industry 4.0, they seem to have no choice but to embrace these emerging digital technologies.
Try Before You Buy
The customer experience will be better than ever thanks to the incredible precision of AR. Because AR permits full freedom of movement, it allows customers to see your product in striking reality.
Instead of looking at a pretty picture on a screen or printout that shows what the product they’re interested in looks like, they’ll see it in front of them.
One automaker used data from their online configurator together with purchasing data to identify options that customers are willing to pay a premium for.
They were able to reduce the options on one model to three orders of magnitude fewer than their competitor. As a result, their development time and production costs fell dramatically.
So, not only are customers able to experience how products would impact their lives before they make a purchase – their interaction with those pre-purchased products allows the companies that sell them to make cost- and time-saving improvements before they’re manufactured and sold.
Providing Physical Context
Whether it’s seen through a tablet or a wearable device, augmented reality allows us to plug data into our experience of reality.
And in the future, it won’t just be boring spreadsheets and 2-dimensional maps. Any company that employs AR technology in ways that don’t use the full potential of rendering software could be seen as a failure.
Instead of a heads up display of a map, companies will use 3D navigational overlays of your route. A company in the industrial sector would highlight aspects of real world objects to provide physical context.
The ways in which AR technology will be used are entirely up to the companies and designers that use the highest quality rendering software – and the consumer will decide what works best.
The Emerging Applications of Augmented Reality
This technology may seem to exist only in the near future, but businesses are actually using it now for countless applications.
- Construction fields like oil and gas are using wearable devices with AR software to guide their employees as they make repairs on equipment. DAQRI’s smart helmet, for instance, lets users see through faulty pipes or overlay directions onto the helmet’s display.
- AccuVein is a handheld scanner that projects an image over patients’ skin and makes it easier for doctors and nurses to find veins for injections.
- A company called Help Lightning lets a surgeon in one location project their hands onto the display of another surgeon’s Google Glass during surgery to act as a guide.
- AR also has incredible applications for the entertainment and gaming industries. In July of 2016, Niantic, Inc. released Pokémon GO – one of the first AR games ever. The game places a collectible creature in 3D space and encourages players to travel in the real world to catch them all.
Digitizing Your Business
Augmented reality technology is finally here – and it’s not going anywhere, so don’t leave your business behind.
Look at the way the world is changing – it’s time to transition from the old analog world into the new digitized one.