What is augmented reality?
Augmented reality, or AR, lets you superimpose digital images or words over what you see in real life via your device’s camera. One of the most popular uses of AR is the mobile app Pokémon Go, released in 2016, which lets users find Pokémon in their real-world environment. Other examples of AR can be as simple as Instagram filters or Google Translate’s Word Lens. As technology advances and smartphones become more accessible, uses of AR are only expected to grow over the next few years.
How else is augmented reality used?
Besides the examples given above, AR is used in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons.
- IKEA uses AR to show customers how a certain piece of furniture will look in their house.
- Navigation systems use AR to show a route superimposed on the road.
- Military fighter pilots use AR to see speed, altitude, and other info on their helmet visor without having to look down.
- Neurosurgeons use AR to help with surgeries.
- Some historical sites use AR to show what the site looked like in the past.
How is augmented reality used in business?
In business, AR can help companies optimize internal processes and boost marketing, among other things. Here are a few examples of how AR can be used in business:
- For employee training
- For marketing
- To improve the customer experience
- To create and model products
AR can make onboarding and training safer, easier, and more efficient. For example, if you’re training new employees to use a certain piece of machinery, you could have them interact with the machine through AR first. Using AR, they can even see the machinery’s individual pieces one at a time without having to physically take it apart.
In the medical field, some companies allow their physicians to practice complicated procedures via AR before performing on a patient. One of the perks of AR onboarding is that it allows everyone to receive the same level of training.
While an AR campaign may not work for every brand, it can be highly successful when it does. Because AR is still a fairly new concept, a well-executed AR campaign is almost certain to stir up a buzz.
For example, Uber created an AR experience at their main station in Zurich where people could see themselves petting a tiger, standing in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, or hopping with kangaroos. The campaign was a huge success, with the YouTube video generating over one million views.
Today’s consumers expect fancier advertising and more interactive marketing than ever before. If you’re not prepared to wow them, you might get left in the dust while your competitors plow ahead.
Most customers want to try something out before they buy it, whether that means putting on a pair of pants before they’ll slap down cash, or test driving a car before they’re willing to take it home.
AR can help you satisfy this customer need. Like IKEA, you could allow customers to see how an item will look in their home, or how a piece of clothing will look on them.
Some online retailers are starting to use AR as a substitute for in-person shopping. With AR, you can sample makeup, try on sunglasses, or test how a rug will look in your living room even when those things aren’t physically present. StubHub even used AR to show fans the view from different seats at the Super Bowl stadium.
But the try before you buy approach isn’t the only way to use customer-facing AR. You can also use it to provide more information and take some hassle out of buying or using a new product. For example, Hyundai and Mercedes created an AR manual for drivers. Mercedes even pairs this manual with an AI assistant to help answer any questions new drivers may have.
Product Creation and Modeling
Instead of presenting a powerpoint or 2D image of your new product, imagine showing potential investors or consumers your product in 3D, superimposed on real physical space. Your audience will be able to see the product from every angle, isolate its individual parts, and possibly even customize. It’s easy to see how this could be a game-changer for the B2B industry.
Even just as an internal tool, AR has the power to revolutionize business. Besides showing off your project to investors, stakeholders, and customers, this use of AR can help artists design and render new products during the creation process.
AR is here to stay.
Of course, the examples we’ve covered here are only the beginning. Over the next few years, we’ll probably see an upswing in businesses using AR, whether it’s to improve their own internal processes or engage more with customers.
Now, does that mean AR is definitely the right move for your business? Not necessarily.
What it does mean is that you should at least consider whether AR can benefit your company and, of course, whether or not you have the resources to pull it off. As a relatively new technology, AR can be costly to implement.
But as an innovative way to gain a leading edge in the business sector, it may just be the wave of the future.
Need help developing an AR component for your business? Let’s talk.