Augmented Reality (AR) has been in the news recently with tech giants Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft announcing its investments in AR related ventures like Magic Leap, Metaio, Oculus and HoloLens, coupled with Chinese investment in AR surging to 3.9 billion in the last 12 months. Silicon Valley-based advisory firm Digi-Capital predicts AR/VR could hit $150 billion in revenue by 2020, with AR capturing around $120 billion.

Tech titans like Microsoft are now assessing and evaluating the kind of services they should offer consumers in the arena of AR and Mixed Reality (MR), which uses a combination of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality), i.e. whether they should provide an end-to-end ecosystem for both consumers and businesses or create a platform that can be used by multiple firms to host their MR offerings. Apple and Google have ARKit and ARCore platforms which allow software developers build AR features into existing apps.

To understand how you can use AR in business, it’s first necessary to understand what AR is and how it differs from VR.  Augmented reality adds digital elements on top of the real world, usually 2D or 3D layered content over real world objects/locations. Within the corporate context, AR enables the creation of more interactive and informative experiences in training and advertising.  VR on the other hand, creates a whole new virtual world for the user with opaque headsets for example, in effect shutting them out of the actual world.

AR adds layered content over real world objects/locations. VR creates a whole new virtual world for the user.

Currently, B2C AR apps are being developed largely for the smartphone/tablet which has a strong global user base which further incentivizes companies to incorporate AR into their strategy.  The software and services industry and mobile networks’ voice and data businesses can aim to capitalize on this trend.

Business Use Cases

AR applications have already been in use, particularly in retail and industrial industries to create better consumer experiences. AR allows the replication of in-store experiences. IKEA for example, enables customers to view its products within their own homes with an AR application – a trend that is now being followed by many other retailers.

In healthcare, AR technology has the potential to enable better and more effective medical training across the spectrum of services from operating MRI equipment to performing surgery. Some medical schools in the United States have already begun using AR to enable students to study anatomy in an interactive 3D format.

AR/VR tools are quickly becoming an industry standard in the fields of architecture, construction and interior design as it offers a more immersive experience. It  also provides opportunity to refine the design in collaboration with clients and colleagues. One of the most popular real-time visualization services used by architects overlays 3D models onto existing 2D floor plans. It has interactive elements like real-time shadow analysis and material selection. Another popular AR mobile app allows users to zoom in, reveal structural layers and examine the various stages of the project over time.

Augmented Reality(AR)/VR tools are quickly becoming an industry standard in the fields of architecture, construction and interior design

AR can boost supply chain management cycle and logistics to increase efficiency and cost savings.AR is used by logistics companies in warehouses to make pick and pack services more efficient. AR glasses help employees quickly navigate the warehouse to locate their products. AR helps simplify the training process for new employees during busy seasons, thus ensuring a substantial ROI. In logistics usually the last-mile delivery is the most expensive. According to a report by DHL, AR has been found to cut last-mile delivery time by almost half.  AR is used to identify, tag, sequence, and locate every parcel in the delivery truck, thereby reducing the time needed to locate it.

Challenges

Businesses will face challenges while incorporating A – it can be expensive and requires the collection and storage of large amounts of data. Those who are thinking of investing into AR should consider the following steps while planning their strategy.

  • Define the specific use for AR: Ideally you should define what it’s going to be used for – as a customer touchpoint, for employees or product visualization.
  • Define the outcomes and wins: This helps convince executives by showing them the ROI clearly.
  • Get your 3D assets together. Create a centralized database of all 3D assets to make it easier to implement. Companies can also merge data from the AR, MR and VR systems.

We’re here to help

Tricon Infotech can help you design the Augmented Reality app that can boost your business and empower your employees and clients. We have the capabilities to design, develop and implement  B2B or B2C mobile apps that will augment the user’s real-life surroundings with specially developed content on the mobile. AR apps like these enable users to engage with company content on demand right from their phones in a new and unique way.  Social media analytics, gamification as well as content authoring capabilities can be baked in the app. Our solutions are accessible  and scalable. Connect with us to learn more on how we can help you bring your vision to life.