Augmented reality used to be a thing of science-fiction novels and comics. But now, gaming console manufacturers and game creators are making good use of it to provide a heightened gaming experience to their audience. If you have heard of Pokémon GO, then you have a good idea of how AR works.
The gaming industry is not the only one banking on the technology, however. In fact, augmented reality in business is becoming more common. Use cases for it include customer support, collaboration, workflow management and employee training.
Before we delve further into how and why AR technology is changing the workspace, let us take a quick look into what this innovation is all about.
What is augmented reality?
Augmented reality technology can be easily mistaken for virtual reality. However, these two are different in many ways. For one, AR digitally augments real-life environments to bring them to life, so to speak, or to make them more interactive.
A clever use of this in advertising done by Pepsi for its Pepsi Max drink. The beverage company put a screen in a London bus shelter and set it up with cameras to capture in real-time the goings-on in the street. It then added some effects that augmented reality - surprising people and even giving them scares.
At times, there is no need for devices like goggles for AR such as in the Pepsi Max ad. In other cases, a mobile app or a pair of special glasses is required for AR to work.
Meanwhile, virtual reality needs headsets and VR-enabled machines all the time to work because they produce wholly computer-generated environments. Only when those two factors are met can people explore them and interact with the elements they find in them.
Augmented Reality for Business
Going back to enterprise augmented reality, why is the innovation changing the workplace?
Here are some reasons:
1. It enhances remote assistance and cuts down travel costs.
Often, when an expert is needed to solve a problem, companies have to fly that expert when an online or telephone consultation is not enough. This translates to huge expenses in transport, food, and lodging.
By injecting augmented reality in the mix in remote assistance, though, organizations can contact specialists where they are and still solve problems as if they are on-site. This is possible because AR enables the expert to coach an employee through a diverse range of tools like holograms and visualizations. If AR is combined with VR, companies can even employ 3D drawings and transform collaboration. This way, machines and systems downtime is reduced as well.
2. It enables immersive training sessions.
When it comes to different scenarios at work, there is nothing like experience. That is why people are trained to handle various situations before they are referred to their new teams. But there are still circumstances that are not fully hashed out during the coaching.
To bridge that gap, companies can have immersive instructions using augmented reality. Not only does this lower the cost, but it also minimizes the risk of employees damaging property or hurting other people while they are learning how to do things properly. The field of medicine, especially, can benefit from this.
Apart from that, augmented reality can help learners retain information better. As Deloitte shared in an online article, surgeons absorbed 80% of training material they consumed via AR/VR. Compare that with the 20% retention they had when they only listened to a lecture.
3. It upgrades the customer experience.
As mentioned above, gaming companies use AR to provide a one-of-a-kind experience to their customers. They are on the right track with that and businesses in other sectors are also following suit. Aside from the clever AR-powered advertisements, organizations also employ augmented reality in allowing customers to interact with their products or services. This is one of the innovative ways on how to provide great online customer service.
For example, interior design, architectural, and engineering firms take their clients to the site by superimposing their visions on the location. Through this, they can make their customers see and not just imagine the building or the design. What’s more, with the help of AR, firms can use their 3D or CAD models from the get-go. There would be no need for setting up showrooms, show houses, and miniatures that use up a lot of time and money.
We discussed above how augmented reality helps businesses in different ways. Those are only a few cases and there are more applications for AR in other sectors.
The technology is fast becoming an essential addition to organizations. While not every company can implement it, those who can look forward to cutting costs significantly. Enterprises also look forward to winning more deals with the help of AR.
Augmented reality is changing the shape of how humans experience the physical and digital worlds. There are still challenges to the adoption of the technology but when organizations clear those hurdles, they can revolutionize every aspect of their operation, especially the customer-facing ones.