Augmented reality (AR) makes it possible to overlay virtual objects and information over real environments. This technology has become popular for video games and as a feature in different social media apps, but also has a lot to offer businesses.
Companies can use AR to improve on a wide range of processes and it can also work to help businesses create products that will better serve their customers. With software advancements across the board from iOS and Android application development to machinery updates, take a look at these four major industries where businesses are already experimenting with AR.
For businesses that operate in manufacturing, the speed and precision of employees is crucial and can make a significant difference to the bottom line. Using AR technology, information can be sent straight to a headset or a pair of smart glasses.
Instead of having to leave their workstation or look away from the task at hand, employees can get the information they need conveniently laid out in their field of view. A good example of this is the solutions developed by Vital Enterprises. They develop AR software that can be used to provide instructions to workers in a variety of different settings.
In the automotive industry, AR is being used to provide a better overall driving experience. Using a variety of techniques to project data in front of drivers, automakers are now starting to create cars that have a heads-up display. Using this technology, drivers can get information like speed and driving directions without diverting their attention from the road.
In addition to using AR to provide a better driving experience, businesses in the auto industry are also using it to improve the processes they use to develop and test parts. With AR, automakers can test virtual representations of different components without having to actually make the part. This will increase efficiency by allowing them to work out many of the issues before they move on to real-world testing.
With the heads-up display in aircraft, the military has long been a pioneer in the field of augmented reality. Using AR glasses or headsets, the military aims to bring this same type of technology to soldiers in the field.
With AR, soldiers can have access to information such as topographical maps and the positions of their fellow troops. It could even be used in a way that is similar to the manufacturing process. When a piece of equipment breaks down, soldiers will be able to pull up repair instructions that could be overlaid on their real-world environment.
Microsoft recently won a $480 million contract with the Army to supply prototypes for AR headsets that could be used in the field. With this contract, Microsoft is to develop specialized versions of their HoloLens Mixed Reality headsets for specialized use by the military, with the contract expected to result in the purchase of more than 100,000 headsets.
Healthcare is one industry where AR holds a lot of promise. Doctors could wear AR glasses or headsets and get important information about patients projected into their field of view. It could also be used by surgeons to view important information about a patient’s vital signs or anatomy as they operate.
One interesting use case comes from the Imperial College London at St Mary’s Hospital. With the Microsoft HoloLens headset, surgeons were able to use AR technology to overlay information from CT scans on the patient as they worked. This allowed the surgeons to see bones and key blood vessels projected onto the patient’s skin.
Currently, AR headsets are still relatively bulky and expensive. This leaves little room for a consumer market, but the technology is rapidly developing. As more businesses begin to invest in AR, the headsets should become more comfortable and affordable. This will make the technology more accessible to consumers and to smaller businesses.
“Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.”
Twitter handle: @araesininthesun