Augmented reality, the use of computer technology to enhance the user experience, is poised to become the next industry-defining trend. Advances in both software and hardware, including the advent of 5G, make augmented reality more accessible to consumers, and more usable in B2B settings. Here are just a couple of trends to look forward to, as augmented reality grows to define the 2020s.
Even though Pokémon GO isn’t in the news as much anymore, it’s the best-known AR game and made Niantic Labs $894 million dollars in 2019. Their Harry Potter-themed game, Wizards Unite, is poised to make just as much, if not more, over the next few years. But that’s not the only use of AR in gaming.
The boundaries between movies, television shows, and video games is growing ever-fuzzier. AR tech allows customers to interact with immersive stories, affect the plot, and even alter the outcome. Incorporating AR into escape rooms expands the sort of experience customers can have, even personalizing it as individual players receive unique information through their AR devices.
AR isn’t wholly fun and games, however. It’s a sophisticated, advanced technology with multiple applications in the business world. Here are just a few ways that AR can affect the workplace.
Imagine a smartphone app that allows workers to schedule meetings, reserve conference rooms, and then guides employees across a sprawling campus to the right place. Once there, the meeting leader can control the lighting, turn on screens, and even record the meeting. Or an app that allows managers to monitor necessary supplies in real-time, and re-order more with just a few swipes. All of these advances will become commonplace over the next decade thanks to augmented reality.
The current reality is that, despite extensive worker training, the majority of learning is still done on the job. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does mean that worker mistakes happen in reality, creating inefficiencies for supervisors who have to correct those mistakes. But with augmented reality, workers can learn from training programs and simulations which replicate reality. These simulations can deliver immediate feedback, letting the worker know which areas need improvement.
Another benefit is the scale. Most people learn best with 1-on-1 training, but businesses often can’t provide that level of attention. Augmented reality can close that gap, allowing one trainer to effectively teach large groups of workers. And the tech can flag which workers need extra help, and who shows extra potential.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the need for companies to be flexible when it comes to employees working from home. Work from home has some notable downsides, however. For instance, monitoring employee productivity, or collaborative efforts that function best when everyone is in the same room. AR can step in here, as well. By creating a virtual meeting space, employees can teleconference in, and really feel that they’re all in a room together. Furthermore, AR tech can allow employees to share files and give presentations in unique and innovative ways. Instead of a paper mock-up of a building, exhibit, or product, employees can deliver a fully virtual experience.
The signs are clear: augmented reality is already changing how people do business, and that trend will only continue. Don’t get left behind!