Deepak Amirtha Raj
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Augmented reality holds a huge opportunity for businesses looking to work agile.
Augmented reality sounds horribly philosophical and abstract, but it’s absolutely simple: AR connects real and virtual world – creating virtual overlays or 3D objects directly into the view of headset-wearers, or inserting these digital add-ons into video captured on a phone or tablet with market valued at USD 1.72 Billion in 2014 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 79.61% between 2015 and 2020
A quick example will make the idea clearer
You’re driving down the freeway sometime in 2020 and you start to feel hungry. Wink your right eye twice and a computer display overlays your windshield with a list of eating places in nearby towns. Wink your eye to select the one that looks most promising and your sat-nav system reads out directions for how to get there. You can email an order in advance so it’ll be ready when you arrive.
“There are competing notions of what AR is going to be” – Alex Fleetwood, Beasts of Balance
Whether you work in retail, events, or healthcare, this technology has the potential to rattle the business space as we know it — and for those looking to take advantage of its vast potential, here are five ways you can incorporate augmented reality into your business:
Better Customer Service
Augmented reality not only makes life easier for customer support staff of any organization, but it also helps them work smarter, and increase overall productivity. AR is perfect for the retail sector, helping retailers create their own products, thus allowing customers to experience their favorite products by themselves. For example, a sales representative at a spectacles counter can utilize AR glasses to assist customers to select the spectacles that best suit their appearance and style.
Recently, several banks have created AR apps to help customers find the nearest branches and ATMs. While navigating through the city and looking at their phone screen, a user can see real-time information on the nearing location, including the distance
In real estate, a customer would wear augmented reality glasses and they would walk through the property and the AR glasses displays virtual images which point out the positive features of the property ex. the size of rooms, architectural features, quality of materials, systems, etc.
Another useful ability of AR is how it allows virtual objects to be connected in the real world. Visualising objects through augmented reality can help professionals interact with virtual 3D models in the real world. Through the ability of visualization, augmented reality allows users to get a better sense of the finished products, rather than the flat image on the screen.
TopShop uses Kinect augmented reality to let shoppers try on clothes without going into a fitting room. A built-in camera recognizes a human body and superimposes a 3D model of a garment; users can switch clothes using simple gestures
“61% of shoppers prefer to shop at stores that offer augmented reality, over ones that don’t” – Retail Perceptions 
Instead of waiting to see your vision transform from paper, with AR, an automotive engineer drawing a plan for a new car can use an AR viewer to view 3D virtual parts, based on which they can easily manipulate and refine the parts to get the right design.
Many people, such as engineers, salesman, etc., often spend maximum time working onsite, and at some point in time, they face situations where they need a helping hand back from the office. Here is where augmented reality can come in handy and provide professionals with relevant information, like manuals or instructions, which helps them efficiently, solve the specific task in front of them. Instead of a salesman visiting door-to-door selling products, they can utilize an AR viewer to help customers understand products and its utility.
Using XMReality’s technology, the engineer onboard receives advice on troubleshooting and maintenance over a live feed, working just as if the expert from the equipment manufacturer was at his side. The engineer interacts in real time with the expert back at base, which could be on the other side of the world, using audio and video communication. The instructor has access to all the relevant data and can guide the engineer onboard in real time to solve the issue at hand.
Augmented reality allows businesses the opportunity to develop their own products, improve user engagement, and build a long-lasting relationship with their customers. A viable marketing option augmented reality helps organizations increase the scope of their business and inculcate a sense of mutual loyalty among the customers. For example, a travel company can make use of AR glasses to help customers experience wonderful places by themselves, and ensure that the experience they are communicating comes to fruition.
Digital content like 3D animations, video, audio, images, charts, signals & indicators etc. can be superimposed on devices. Based on a specific set of parameters like time, location, person and fiducial (trigger), a cloud-based infrastructure etc. Augmented Reality Tourism Apps can generate relevant content to handheld devices.
Innovative Working Methods
AR headsets could also change the way we work. With the functionality to recognize objects, augmented reality can change the scenario of today’s office culture, making it more productive and appealing. Instead of traveling to a site, an insurance company examining a wrecked car after an accident can make use of an AR headset to easily recognize the damage and the cost estimate for fixing it.
The Daqri smart helmet, Packed with sensors and cameras, the futuristic hard hat acts as an augmented reality display, giving workers a layer of information on top of what they already see.
I have to admit that we’ve only scratched the surface of what we’ll eventually be able to achieve with AR. From improving customer service to helping a worker remotely, AR used in innovative ways can transform the way business works.
How are you using augmented reality in your business?
Do you use Microsoft HoloLens, Google Glass or any other augmented reality within your business? If so, let us know how in the comment box below.
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