In the Summer of 2016, the hype surrounding the Augmented Reality game „Pokémon Go“ caused a great sensation. Parks and sidewalks where filled with people hunting invisible fantasy creatures on their Smartphones. Through the Hype of Pokémon go, the term Augmented Reality (AR) has become more commonly known.
But what exactly is AR and how can we use this technology in our day to day businesses? In our article „Virtual Reality – How to make use of it in our companies“ we already discussed how VR can help you in your daily tasks.
In the following article we will introduce you to the possibilities Augmented Reality can benefit you and your Company.
What Is Augmented Reality Exactly?
There are numerous examples of Augmented Reality that we already encounter in our everyday lives. For example, during Live broadcasts of sports events additional information, such as the First-Down-Line in Football, can be displayed on television.
Also, the GPS, which is able to project route information directly onto the windshield of your car, is part of the AR.
While Virtual Reality is all about creating a whole new computer-generated reality, the goal of Augmented Reality is to “improve” the reality by adding only some computer-generated objects to an otherwise completely real environment.
In most cases, the goal is to provide the user with extra added information to improve their daily lives. That’s why Augmented Reality is often called “Mixed Reality” as well.
How does it work?
Most of the time a simple Smartphone is enough for the use of AR but in some cases, you will need special glasses developed for the use of AR.
In general, the device you use should contain the following:
- Sensors for the environmental detection (GPS, camera, etc.)
- A High-performance processor for data processing
- An AR Software (e.g. an App)
- An Input/output interface (touch screen/display) for interactions and the display the content
AR in business practice
Augmented Reality can be used in many different ways.
Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities AR can be used in different industries and divisions.
1. Using AR in the Production
AR offers to the production department the possibility to display additional information in the context of the already existing processes. With that, the operators can, for example, use AR glasses or tablets to obtain basic information or error-messages from machines in their area and are able to react immediately if needed.
Therefore, AR can be very useful in the procedure of error corrections. Especially with AR giving you all the necessary steps to solve a problem or to fix a machine.
For the logistic sector AR is capable to enable a so-called „vision picking“.
This means that the commissioners working in the warehouses receive instructions and additional information through the AR glasses. This can help for example, to locate storage positions more quickly. It can also help to scan the products directly with their data glasses and enter them in the ERP system.
As a result, the individual work steps will become more efficient and the entire logistics process is optimized.
3. Upskilling and training
With AR can an interactive and individual knowledge transfer be implemented more cost-effectively. A customised and playful learning environment has proven to have an extremely positive effect on humans´ long-term learning success.
Companies can provide with AR a simple, time and location independent way to learn about their business processes. This allows to shorten time consuming introduction phases for new employees for example significantly and therefore it saves expenses.
Even when it comes to presenting new products at marketing campaigns, conventions or exhibitions, AR can be a valuable tool.
Using AR it is possible to create interactive prints (AR-Prints). These AR-Prints can give basic prints (flyers, catalogues, business card etc.) additional information, which are readable by using AR-Apps. Scanning for example, an AR business card using an AR-App, can display the information of the business card holder.
At conventions and exhibitions, AR enables the maximum use of the given space through the interactive, virtual presentation of products on the tablet or smartphone while simultaneously presenting them in real size. The possible usage of AR is endless.
5. AR in sale and retail
Augmented Reality allows sales representatives to display product examples in an easy way. Through the interactive presentation with AR, it allows potential customers to be much more enthusiastic about a product than they would be with a traditional presentation.
In retail, AR offers consumers the opportunity to try on products such as clothing and accessories virtually. Even furniture can be placed virtually in homes in order to support the consumers’ purchase decision. The options of virtually „testing“ products before purchasing them, prevents making the wrong purchases and therefore saves any return costs.
Augmented Reality is not a revolutionary invention. More than 10 years ago this technology was already hotly debated. But the hype had vanished just as quickly as it had emerged.
So why is the subject suddenly back on the table? On one hand, it´s because technology has developed rapidly and today almost everyone is carrying a high-performance Mini-PC in the form of a smartphone with them. This makes it easier to access AR content. On the other hand, it’s because of the hype of the above mentioned AR game “Pokémon Go”, which proved that AR is can be used in everyday life.
Unlike Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality is less dependent on special hardware equipment. Every smartphone user is a potential AR user and can theoretically be addressed through this channel. But not only the consumer can benefit from AR technology. Likewise, Companies can benefit from it as well.
It is essential that you analyse the possible usage of Augmented Reality for your company and if necessary, even implement AR on the appropriate areas.
Do you need support transforming your business digitally? We would be happy to consult you. As part of our „Career Solutions“, we are working with the challenges companies face in a fast-moving digital world on a daily basis. Whether you need employees, want to improve the skills of your current team or just need an ordinary consulting partner – we have the right talent for you.
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