Investment in Augmented Reality (AR) technology is taking enterprises to the next level. Digital friendly companies are utilizing AR technologies to improve customer engagements.
With AR-based apps, users can feel a magical realism around their physical world. This becomes possible with the help of a smartphone’s GPS system and other digital, sensory and graphic technologies.
This technology opens a sea of opportunities for the gaming industry as well as other verticals. It grabbed the attention recently with the launch of AR-based Pokemon Go game, which made the world go crazy.
The success of Pokémon Go and the hoopla and hype it has created in the tech world raises the possibilities of Augmented Reality.
Technology research firm TrendForce says the game is set to become a significant contributor to the expansion of the global AR software market, which will reach $30 billion in scale by 2020.
How enterprises can make use of AR
Industry experts say augmented reality in enterprise is to explode over the next five years, probably pushing the technology into the mainstream.
According to ABI Research, the capabilities of AR will drive investors and project managers to explore AR with smartglasses applications in the healthcare, industry, and government market segments.
Eric Abbruzzese, senior analyst at ABI Research says that 2016 will see higher volume investment and rollout of AR. Devices with more powerful processing and hands-free input methods, such as ODG’s R7 and Daqri’s Smart Helmet, stand best suited for industrial and healthcare usage.
AR with smart glasses applications in the healthcare, industry, and government market segments will hit 27 million shipments by 2021. Early AR adopters, like Boeing and GE, highlight the interest surrounding this technology and encourage others to get involved.
According to an article published in medicalfuturist.com, the AR can revolutionize the healthcare industry by providing doctors the real view of a medical situation.
EyeDecide is an AR-based medical app dedicated for the ophthalmic division of the medical science. AccuVein is another app, which helps nurses to find veins for injections by scanning the skin.
The technology can be a boom to surgeons while conducting a surgery. It helps to locate the affected part easily, saving the time and more importantly, the life of the patient.
In the retail sector, AR offers physical experience to customers who are shopping online from home or any other convenient place.
For example, an AR-supported fashion store offers a customer the convenience to try apparels and accessories at his home through internet. There is no doubt that people would love to go for such an experience as it offers privacy and escape from crowded shops.
Apart from that, the GPS system helps traditional customers to locate stores and thereby saving their time.
According to a blog published by Tata Technologies, for the manufacturing industry, AR helps to rapidly familiarise with product features through a combination of virtual and physical interactions.
Further, it offers clear visualization of technical publications for all assets, parts, components, tools etc. moreover, it reduces training time and increased work efficiency.
European Commission’s Executive Agency for SMEs says pilot error is the cause of 60-70 percent of aviation accidents.
It suggests current technologies require that pilots mentally convert complex instrument readings and 2D flat panel displays into 3D, 360° reality, which increases their mental load and level of stress.
Aero Glass is a technology that contributes to solve this problem: using Head-Mounted Displays (Epson Moverio, Google Glass or similar) it is the first to bring Augmented Reality to pilots providing an unparalleled 3D, 360° experience in the cockpit, regardless of the visibility.
AR Market players
Google developed AR-based optical head-mounted display, Google Glass, in the shape of eyeglasses. It helped wearers to communicate with the internet like any other hands-free device through natural language voice commands.
The company offered it for the public for a hefty $1,500 in May 2014, but it stopped selling the product because it received wide criticism due to privacy and security concerns. However, the project is still alive and Google is developing the technology.
Google also offers digital contact lens, which would change the way we look at the world. It will give information about blood glucose levels and records every movements occurring in eyes.
Microsoft has a similar product called HoloLens in its AR-based product portfolio. It runs on Windows 10 operating system and costs $3,000.
According to research firm Markets and Markets, the AR market is dominated by Google, German company Metaio GmbH, Infinity Augmented Reality Inc. Oculus VR, Samsung Electronics, Eon Reality, Vuzix Corporation, CyberGlove Systems and Microsoft Corporation.
Perfect Corp. and Cosmoprof North America will launch an interactive beauty app YouCam Makeup App.
Introducing at the CPNA event in Las Vegas, attendees and beauty fans will have the exclusive opportunity to experience makeup products virtually through the app.
TeamViewer recently announced its integration with AR-based R-7 smartglass maker Osterhout Design Group (ODG).
ODG’s smartglasses have seen major traction across key markets including healthcare, energy, transportation, warehouse and logistics and government. It was even picked up by NASA to enhance space exploration.
With this integration, R-7 smartglasses users have access to remote technical support while in the field.
Future of AR
According to Jason Tsai, wearable device analyst for TrendForce, Pokémon GO’s popularity will benefit the entire AR industry by encouraging further innovations in mobile-based AR technology:
“Many software developers will try to replicate the game’s success and explore other possible applications for the AR technology.”
If the game Angry Bird could be seen as the takeoff point in the growth trajectory of mobile games, then Pokémon GO could also be regarded as the catalyst for the rapid expansion of AR applications on the mobile platform, Tsai conludes.
Image: An augmented reality mobile marketing campaign from Cover Girl. Via Blippar.