Two years ago, Gartner reported that augmented reality was on the verge of becoming a technology with valuable potential for the business world. I remember thinking, “Hmmm… Maybe I’d better take a look.”
If you’re wondering what exactly “augmented reality” is, Gartner’s principal research analyst, Tuong Huy Nguyen, explained in the article that,
“Augmented reality is the real-time use of information in the form of text, graphics, audio and other virtual enhancements integrated with real-world objects. AR leverages and optimizes the use of other technologies such as mobility, location, 3D content management and imaging and recognition. It is especially useful in the mobile environment because it enhances the user’s senses via digital instruments to allow faster responses or decision-making.”
He had me at “technology.”
What is augmented reality?
Augmented reality (AR) is like blending physical reality with the virtual one. It’s live!
Businesses gain real-time perspective, with the ability to create a fully interactive view.
Augmented reality can:
- generate a 3D model from a 1D image,
- assist rescue operations in a search where the view is obscured,
- provide surgeons with a view inside their patients that would otherwise be impossible,
- and more…including this fun example of an interactive rock climbing video game, watch below:
- The military uses AR systems to assist soldiers in the field with better visibility into movement around them.
- Air traffic controllers use AR to increase their situational awareness.
- Firefighters use the technology to check for potentially dangerous areas within a building.
In training and education, augmented reality apps enable students to learn and practice on a computer screen (laptop, smartphone, tablet)—but not just with simulation. AR provides outline recognition that puts the learner right into the scenario. It has been proven that “hands on”, interactive learning is more effective than reading or listening.
So what about augmented reality in business?
Geolocationing is a reflection of augmented reality. Sensors enable a business or organization to locate people and assets (e.g., vehicles, expensive equipment). AR enables supervisors to monitor activity, like the loading dock or a construction site, to check on productivity and safety.
From a marketing perspective, combining AR with geolocationing brings consumers closer than ever to you. With the right software, you can reach out to customers who are near your business or searching for a product like yours. Automatically send them product information, special offers, loyalty points, or other incentives to convert the browser to a buyer.
You can also equip your sales people with a 3D catalog, using AR software. The products are already downloaded to a device, so connectivity is not required. John Jackson, a research analyst for IBC, explained, We have to think about [AR] as a platform that makes use of lots of different technologies and mashes them up to give you a new way of interacting with the world around you.”
According to the Gartner article, augmented reality “has the potential to improve productivity, provide hands-on experience, simplify current processes, increase available information, provide real-time access to data, offer new ways to visualize problems and solutions, and enhance collaboration.”
Augmented reality technology is here. What do you want to do with it? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @LTronCorp!