Innovative Ways For Businesses

Every technological advancement creates new ways of doing business, but augmented reality (AR) is a particularly versatile development. AR offers entrepreneurs a way to thoroughly enhance day-to-day business operations; whether it’s hosting meetings or showcasing products, this developing technology holds great promise for revamping the way we think about doing business. Business News Daily spoke with some industry experts about how AR is already changing the workplace, as well as some ways it might be applied in the near future.

Augmented reality’s business applications

Augmented reality is distinct from virtual reality in that it offers users graphical enhancements to their real, physical environment, rather than creating an entirely new environment. Experts predict an explosion of creative uses as the technology becomes more ubiquitous.

“The retail space has dipped their toe in AR briefly. For instance, Ikea used AR so customers could see how a couch would look in their living room, or if that color rug would work with their room design,” Joe Arcuri, director of product and user experience at Overit, said. “[The technology] could also be applied to the construction industry. How cool would it be to see what a future house will look like on a plot of land, or how a deck or addition could look within the current environment?”

James Kovach, senior vice president of business development for AR company CrowdOptic, said many of their clients in the healthcare and athletic industries are already taking advantage of augmented reality in order to bring important data – like a doctor monitoring patient’s blood pressure or a football coach analyzing a player’s acceleration – into one, easy to access space.

“AR has the same value proposition across the entire spectrum,” Kovach said. “An individual is looking at something through smart glasses, and AR compiles contextual information to assist that person, whether it’s [a physician] treating a patient or you’re in an office and trying to learn something.”

Here’s a quick look at how this versatile technology is currently used, and how it could evolve in the future to radically change the way people think about doing business.

 

Remote collaboration

Augmented reality can completely change the way geographically dispersed employees connect. When the team holds a meeting, remote workers can often be detached from the group or become easily distracted. With AR, however, it’s as if everybody is actually present in the room. The meeting instantly becomes more engaging for the remote workers, and those who are physically present are more likely to include them in the discussion. Even subtle things like eye contact and facial expressions can really increase the effectiveness of your collaborative efforts.

“Augmented reality for business offers promise both in communicating with customers, and within the organizations themselves for work functions,” said Gareth Price, technical director for Ready Set Rocket. “AR brings the internet from being contained on a screen to becoming part of the fabric of the world around us, which will benefit businesses with a physical presence.”

 

Training and education

Training employees with AR technology creates an immersive, interactive experience across multiple senses, which is far more effective than a typical lecture or simply reading instructions. With either on screen instructions or layered graphics, users can be shown complex processes step-by-step, or given prompts and instruction on a certain task. Using these methods, AR offers the capability to increase the depth of the training process, while expediting it at the same time.

 

Repairs

Augmented reality also promises improved knowledge in the realm of repairs, where even inexperienced people can fix complex machines. By demonstrating each component part of a machine and precisely what needs to be done to access and then repair it, AR overlays can illustrate step-by-step the process of repairing virtually anything.

“In the workplace, AR has promising practical applications, such as an engineer being able to see an overlay of a piece of machinery with repair information or sensor readings such as temperature,” Price said.