How to Use Augmented Reality for Your Business
Alan Winters

Discovering Augmented Reality

Delivering information in more dynamic ways is one of the great challenges of the current tech revolution, and one solution that is rapidly rising to meet the call is augmented reality. AR systems overlay information on real-world scenes in real time. A fan at a sporting event can, for example, hold up their phone and see markers indicating where all the concession stands in view are located. This has massive potential across a variety of industries, and a statement from Gartner's Research Vice-President indicated that one-fifth of all enterprise-level operations will be using AR technologies by 2019.

AR in Medicine, Architecture, and Sports

One of the most obvious applications for AR is in healthcare. It offers plenty of opportunities for improving treatment by making medical records readily available in a Glass-style interface while doctors are in the middle of procedures. Medical students will benefit immensely, thanks to the ability to train in AR environments that allow them to get in many more repetitions performing each procedure. Telemedicine options will even be expanded significantly, as doctors can use AR devices to remotely interact with patients.

Real estate, architecture and construction also offer many opportunities for AR applications. Customers in these industries already utilize 3D systems for visualizations and virtual tours, and translating this data to AR will be a straightforward process. Standing in a space and seeing an AR layout of what it will look like with furniture and people can motivate buyers.

AR can also yield benefits in the sports and fitness world. By using gamification, an AR system can quickly reward an exerciser for achieving a goal. Personalized workout videos can be accessed on site or even while out for a run, bringing instruction to entirely new settings.

Industrial Processes and AR

In a factory environment, AR offers the logical interface to bring together many emerging technologies, including the Internet of Things and robotics. Working in a mixed cyber-physical setting, a worker can obtain information quickly and translate it into needed action. Other industrial processes, such as prototyping and testing, can be sped up by using AR to quickly verify how a model of a new product would function in an actual environment. Human flexibility and decision-making skills can be combined utilizing AR to make the most of what robots and people have to offer.

App Development for AR

Development solutions for augmented reality systems have quickly become robust in order to meet rising demand. In the world of Apple's iOS, ARKit became the dominant development tool. Similarly, ARCore merged for Android developers. By placing an emphasis on smartphone capabilities, AR app developers can rapidly tap into the worldwide existing mobile user base creating applications with augmented reality features to engage customers and increase their retention.

Microsoft HoloLens is one of the more renowned devices in this sector, popular for its practical application in medicine and manufacturing. It is billed as a mixed reality system that combines physical and digital elements for seamless interactions. Simply place a real-world object in a scene, and HoloLens will instantly add it to the list of items that can be inserted into the MR environment. It even handles a variety of ways to interact, including voice commands, gaze tracking and gestures.

MR headset technologies are expected to soon come into wider use. These units utilize spatial mapping to scan environments in real time and instantly translate them to X-Y-Z coordinates. They also can take advantage of high-end technologies, such as spatial sound, high-definition virtual content and facial recognition to provide a richer user experience.

In a nutshell, augmented reality acquired a number of viable business cases. Pioneering companies proceed with research and development of innovative products that will be actively emerging on the market over the next several years.