Augmented reality is a rapidly expanding technology that is finding a home within many industries. The technology is providing solutions within both product lines and manufacturing, the training and entertainment industries are also avidly utilising the technology and developing further applications which will bring the general concept of Augmented Reality to our daily lives.
The benefits of improved customer service and an easier, richer communication method for relaying information to a customer are welcomed within all industries.
Some industries have taken the lead in adoption, although these may be internally applied solutions, other industries are using the technology in a customer-facing way and these sectors represent many people’s first experiences of Augmented Reality.
The benefits of Augmented Reality are being realised within the education industry, the technology offers an efficient tool to aid learning. Skilled trades are always in demand, some industries are finding they have an ageing workforce and a large volume of learning and education needed to bring new blood into the industry, so the improved efficiency and speed of learning enabled by Augmented Reality are deeply welcomed.
Other educational tasks like learning the use of heavy machinery, both military and industrial are often high-risk activities. These risks can be reduced or removed by the use of augmented reality simulators. Instruction manuals for individual pieces of machinery can be made interactive, overlaying instructions or technical information within the VR goggles of a user or trainee. This is of great benefit to all industries, but specifically high-risk industries like defence, petrochemical industries and within manufacturing.
The entertainment industry has been an early adopter of Augmented Reality technology. The magical effect of virtual imagery projected over reality is one that works incredibly well as an entertainment medium.
The most explored method of integration so far has been using mobile apps where virtual images are superimposed over the device’s camera view. Many will have seen Snapchat filters that change your face or superimpose objects within the field of vision.
Further developments have taken place that leaves generic mobile devices behind and adopts purpose-made headsets like the Microsoft Hololens application. To experience this requires investment in equipment and results in a much higher cost.
It can be seen from games like Pokémon GO that the potential realised by the mobile gaming sector is massive, partly due to the simple need for only a smartphone to play. The game had a huge success and was even credited with improving people’s fitness by getting them moving while they completed their Pokémon collections.
Pokémon GO’s success has led to game developers investing in the technology and further games have been developed like Real Strike and Zombie GO
These games rely on geolocation to bring the game to your doorstep, placing virtual objects in your physical location. However, game developers are now flipping the concept to place real objects within a virtual world. The toy manufacturer, Air Hogs has produced a drone game that takes a real drone and places it within a virtual world. The gameplay is controlled by a smartphone.
The eSports industry has taken augmented reality and what it offers seriously. The industry is gaining market share and carving out a niche for itself, with augmented reality giving an interactive element to its games and events.
This is well illustrated by Norway’s Lost in Time TV programme, the format is one of the contestants facing tasks and challenges within the TV studio, but augmented reality gives the show the ability to offer the same experience to its viewers sitting in their own homes.
The gambling industry has also taken a keen interest in augmented reality and what it can offer the industry and its customers. People in the gambling industry are suggesting that all gamblers in the future could be using augmented reality to play at a quick payout casino. It is an exciting time for the gambling industry where online casinos are now major players and augmented reality fits perfectly within its platforms.
Sales And Marketing
The sales and marketing industry has taken a keen interest in Augmented Reality, and the benefits of being able to clearly demonstrate products to potential customers at a distance have been quickly realised.
Possibly given a boost in development by the lockdowns generated by the Covid-19 Pandemic, industries like estate agencies have felt the need to market their homes and buildings for sale at a distance for the potential buyer. Methods of explorable 3d models have been developed. But the biggest development is virtual viewing; this transports the customer digitally to the property they wish to view. Directly putting potential buyers’ eyes directly within the property and giving them the opportunity to explore and get a feel for the property on offer. All this is now possible without them having to leave their own homes.
Augmented reality is making an appearance in retailers too, Ikea has launched the IKEA AR app which can be used to take pictures of the living spaces within your home, measure them and make suggestions for suitable furniture that will fit the space perfectly.
The Future of Augmented Reality
Augmented reality might not be anything new but advances in technology over recent years means that it is not only more accessible but something is now better quality than ever. When you consider how much technology has improved over recent years it makes sense that augmented reality is something that more industries are starting to take advantage of.
As we approach the new year businesses will already be considering what their 2023 will look like and what they might need to invest in in order to be successful. For many industries a dabble into augmented reality could be in their future – especially when you look at how well it is working out in the industries that are already taking advantage of this success. However, what the next 12 months really look like for augmented reality is something that remains to be seen.