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Augmented Reality Technology: Is Your Business Missing Out?

Is augmented reality technology just more marketing hype or can it really help your business? This article explains: What is it? What does it do? How are different industries using augmented reality (AR)? 

Augmented Reality – What is it?

The best definition for augmented reality (AR) that I have seen is “real-time use of information in the form of text, graphics, audio and other virtual enhancements integrated with real-world objects.” Indeed, it is different from virtual reality in that augmented reality technology integrates and adds value to the user’s interaction with the real world. Consequently, virtual reality (VR) at its best only simulates the real world (See Gartner). Moreover, some say VR is 75 percent virtual, while AR is only 25 percent virtual.

What Exactly Does Augmented Reality Technology Do For Businesses?

Augmented Reality Technology - Augment your reality.
Augment Your Reality

Augmented reality technology provides two things. First, a real world user interface for users to interact with the real world. Second and concurrently, it displays the relevant data associated with the real world situation. Specifically, businesses can use AR technology to augment the reality of their employees or enhance their customers’ experience. There are two main AR applications for business

  • Enhances Training and Procedural Task Execution. Augmented reality provides real-time, on-site, step-by-step visual guidance either to train or provide procedural guidance.
  • Enhances Human Decision Making. Augmented reality technology integrates 2-dimensional information in the form of a digital overlay. Consequently, AR can be integrated into the real world in order for user to make better decisions in real-time.

See Harvard Business Review’s Why Every Organization Needs an Augmented Reality Strategy for more information on what AR technology can do for business.

How Can AR Technology Be Used In Different industries.

Businesses are seeing incredible benefits using AR technology. Specifically, this includes using visual overlays and user interfaces (UI) to improve communications, enable faster decision-making, access to remote experts, reduce service time, reduce shipping expenses, flexible training opportunities and improve customer experience. See below for example by industry.

  • Retail Industry. For the retail industry AR technology is a marketing and user experience technology tool. Example: eRetailers can use AR technology to place 3D virtual furniture into the room of a potential buyer.
  • Healthcare Industry. In the healthcare industry AR technology augments medical procedures, assists with medical advice, and augments procedural tasks. Examples: Surgeons use AR apps to identify tumors during surgery.  Additionally, AR can assist with explaining symptoms to doctors.
  • Education Industry. In education AR technology increases student interaction and accelerates the learning experience. Example: AR apps, tutorials, and devices are helping students to perform virtual practice and acquire experience.
  • Manufacturing & Logistics. AR technology enhances worker productivity by providing them real-time access to contextual documentation and procedural documentation. Example: A warehouse worker accesses a digital picking list and AR provides the worker visual guidance on the best route to pick the items. 
  • Gaming and Sports Industry.  AR technology is able to overlay relevant information to fans and enhance communications between team members. Example: At a football game, fans can see real-time stats of players and teams.
  • Real Estate Industry. AR technology can be used to visualize 3D rendering of new construction or objects in the real world. Example: Realtors can add virtual furniture or even hide existing furniture in a home that is for sale.

See Medium’s How Augmented Reality is Changing the Business Landscape, Appleinventiv’s Augmented Reality For Businesses, and Clutch’s Why Business Should Invest in Augmented Reality more information on the reasons for your business to you augmented reality technology.

For more information from Supply Chain Tech Insights, see articles on Information Technology

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