Augmented Reality for Business: New Horizons
We are entering an era when businesses can hybridize physical and digital experiences. AR blurs the line between the real and digital worlds, creating a new type of environment we can interact with.
Virtual and Augmented Reality Technologies Catch Our Imagination
But we still perceive them, rather, as an entertainment component of life, and gaming applications, of course, appear to be the largest and the most popular segment for investments so far. But due to technologies development of AR and VR funded by gaming industry giants, AR technologies that are able to help out other business areas pursue development as well.
In our today’s article, we’ll find out companies in which industries should experiment with augmented reality and consider it as a new opportunity able to solve business problems and increase company profits.
Retail and E-commerce Opportunities with Augmented Reality
A promising sphere for AR adaptation is retail and e-commerce. Augmented reality is especially relevant when a client doesn’t have an opportunity to “try before you buy” option.
AR makes it possible for your consumer to explore and try on products presented in an online store, catalog or simply items missing on a display case, and achieve the main goal of the store — to increase the number of loyal clients and boost sales.
AR provides new possibilities for organizing exhibition spaces and presentations at conferences and expositions. The opportunities for a demonstration via AR are much wider both in terms of the number of exhibits and the presentation of technically complex and large objects.
Manufacturers can also effectively present products without their actual presence at exhibition venues and in their own showrooms — starting from furniture and cars and ending with new housing projects and space stations.
Electronics, Mechanical Engineering, Robotics Benefit from Immersive Technologies
Another industry where the use of AR is justified is electronics and any complex equipment manufacture, as well as the repair of such devices. In this case, AR will facilitate the collaboration of high-level specialists and their less qualified colleagues on a remote advisory basis. An ordinary master, using augmented reality, will be able to receive instructions from an engineer to manufacture or repair a complex device.
The use of AR is possible in robotics. Thus, AR can be useful for robot path planning. Working with augmented reality, engineers will be able to develop routes with the help of robots that will effectively explore those surfaces that are inaccessible to humans. These can be the surfaces of other planets, caves, ocean floors and other locations difficult or dangerous for a human to be.
By the way, using augmented reality for logistics purposes in other areas is still unjustified (but only for now — Harvard Business Review assumes a great future for AR technologies in logistics). Given the development cost, now it’s more profitable for a business to hire operators rather than create new, technically sophisticated equipment with AR functionality.
Medicine and Biology Gains with Immersive Digital Transformation
In medicine and biology, augmented reality can be used by the same principle as in electronics and mechanical engineering. The first and main area of application is the remote work of top-level specialists. Let’s say a young surgeon can become “eyes and hands” for a more experienced doctor, who for some reason is far from a patient at an important moment.
The second way to use AR in these areas is teaching and training future doctors. Students and young researchers will be able to simulate situations and carry out the necessary manipulations in augmented reality.
Furthermore, AR devices helping patients to cope with a disease existing in psychiatry and psychotherapy. Barcelona company Psious developed a technology that allows simulating situations provoking phobias, for example, a fear of enclosed spaces, flying on an airplane or a fear of spiders. Under the supervision of specialists, a phobic person undergoes a phased adaptation to a stressful situation.
Architecture and Design Benefits from Augmented Reality
In architecture and design, AR is used to visualize the projects of buildings, bridges and other objects, and further on, for advertising and subsequent construction of the object. During construction, AR allows visualizing the final result. Thus, an architect will be able to avoid all errors and make the design of a building better with simplified planning of each process.
AR enables the creation of 3D building projects with further possibility to animate them at places where buildings will be constructed. Due to this, all nuances and features of an object can be taken into account. Algorithms will help to choose the right materials, calculate the estimate, create the design of each room.
Restorers also appreciated the benefits of augmented reality. A number of AR programs that will be able to design an original appearance of the building’s facade or interior, and carry out restoration work based on it are being developed.
Return on Investments of Augmented Reality Solutions
Having examined all these areas, in turn, one can see certain patterns. Thereby, augmented reality looks promising in two cases. The first is when a business is trying to replace or “relieve” highly qualified specialists by means of augmented reality. The second is when a company creates a new customer experience that would not be available without AR.
If none of these conditions are met, most likely, spending on AR functionality will be unreasonable and investment won’t pay off. But if you see what specific benefits an innovation will bring to your clients or how it will help your business then welcome to the world of augmented reality!