The application of digital data in our physical world today shows us that there is a major disconnect between the two. Augmented reality provides companies with an excellent opportunity to bring their business off of “two dimensional pages and screens.” It’s important now more than ever to pay attention to these advances in technology. Here’s what you need to know about AR. 

There is a large difference between AR and VR. There is a difference between augmented reality and virtual reality. VR puts the user into an individual room or “black box”, where every action and event is watched is seen in pixels. It allows us to shop in London’s streets without leaving the comfort of our couches. AR is vastly different; it allows us to put virtual elements on top of our already existing world. With AR, we can walk along the streets of London to see sales or specials. Once you reach your desired store, the AR directs you to the section you need. Why does this difference matter? It all comes down to the user/consumer experience. You need to know what you are giving your users.  

AR is changing how we instruct and guide. AR technology allows us to instruct, coach, and train team members and users in a more efficient manner. We’ve seen plenty of challenges with written instructions, instructional videos, and in-person training. Written instructions are primarily time-consuming and hard to follow, while instructional videos don’t provide enough interactive features. In-person training is costly and can sometimes use up valued time. According to HBR, augmented reality helps to fix these issues by “providing real-time, on-site, step-by-step visual guidance on tasks such as product assembly, machine operation, and warehouse picking.” 88% of mid-sized companies are already using this technology. AR-enabled devices make everything so much easier and straightforward. There is less guesswork when it comes to communicating how to do something correctly, boosting overall productivity. 

It’s boosting interaction. Augmented reality transforms the entire user interface. Instead of using physical controls or touchscreen to interact with products, AR provides users with a virtual control panel that is “superimposed directly on the product and operated using an AR headset, hand gestures, and voice commands.” All of this will be done with smart glasses. The interactivity of AR will transform how we perform tasks, do business, and use products.

It has the capability to cross into many different industries. The commercial applications for augmented reality are wide-reaching. It has the opportunity to impact areas like product development, manufacturing, logistics, marketing, sales, and human resources. AR will help everyone interact with the product in a whole new way, from product development to the finished product. We’ve seen AR compass maps, virtual fitting rooms, and 3D holographic anatomy programs at medical schools. 

Overall, augmented reality is an exceptional tool that intertwines the real and digital world. Our uses of AR will help us boost productivity and improve the overall economy through improved product interaction. This technology takes many challenges like guesswork in manufacturing, training employees, and how to better connect the consumer with a product, and offers a solution. There’s no doubt that AR has a long way to go, but it is already making an impact on a large scale. 

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