Workplace Augmented Reality: When will we see more enterprise adoption of AR?

First, let’s clarify the difference between Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). Virtual Reality (VR) blocks out the real world and immerses the user in a digital experience. Augmented Reality (AR) adds a layer of interactive digital elements on top of the real world. Or in simpler terms, AR can be defined as a technology which overlays a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world. The question is: when will we begin to see more Enterprise adoption of AR?

Companies are eager to jump on the AR bandwagon but are still unclear how to best use AR to drive sales around their product, improve efficiencies for their operations. Additional unknowns include how much it will cost to enhance the B2C/B2B experience and when companies could expect to see a return on their investment.

And while we realize the growth of AR solutions can bring barriers to adoption, AR could (and will) enhance the way we work in a myriad of ways. First, the adoption barriers:

  • Lots of Pieces and Parts vs. Holistic View of Technology: Many varieties in hardware, many operating systems, and many application interface methods exist.
  • Cost of Ownership: The cost of procuring all these devices.
  • Lack of Standards to describe information, share data and application protocols.
  • Lack of Analytics to measure business impact and return on investment.
  • Technical Barriers to improving performance across areas such as tracking, orientation, display, geolocation, interaction and content authoring.
  • Cultural: Social stigma -- AR devices that are always on, that continuously track and record location have implications and the relevant privacy and intellectual property policies need to be addressed.
  • Operations Management: Challenge of introducing, maintaining, and repairing or replacing new hardware and process.
  • Security: Methods for securing data and the device. AR Lacks a Uniform or Standardized Security Standard. Augmented Reality Markup Language (ARML) lacks comprehensive security controls; neither are they followed universally.

And here are just a few of the many possible Enterprise use cases for Augmented Reality:

  • Screen Display: If you need a monitor, pull one up in your AR toolkit and adjust the size. This will reduce reliance on display devices like TVs, computers, phones, and laptops and will allow you to project screens anywhere at any time.
  • Real-time Background Checks: Get instant context on a person’s background. Upon meeting someone, simply pull-up their online footprint: LinkedIn, Instagram, social media, Google search results, and more.
  • 3D Modeling and Design: Create and view 3D models in physical space. View data and designs in new, interactive ways (like walking through your office and adding new furniture). Measure length and distance between objects, latitude and longitude setting using AR’s tracking capabilities.
  • Personal Concierge: View your schedule in-real time as you move through your day, with alerts for reminders, who you are meeting with, travel time, and other relevant details.
  • Tracking: Tailor and visualize a feed of anything you want updates to over the course of your day. View this feed from your personal AR control room. Feeds might include social media, work deadlines, physical activity, kid info, work & social chat, traffic and weather.
  • AR UI/UX: Because it is free of physical screens, AR makes greater use of voice and hand gestures.
  • Memory Recall: Facial recognition technology tied to productivity tools like CRM and email could push information in front of your eyes, enabling quick recall of the last times you interacted with someone, what you talked about, along with any follow-ups.

The value proposition of AR solutions is real. The appetite for a technology which overlays a computer-generated image on a user’s view is real. The benefits of higher efficiency, reduced errors, and optimal use of resources is real.

But is AR technology ready for broader enterprise adoption?

The key components to enterprise adoption of AR are 1) make the AR solutions plug-and-play by creating developer tools, standards and frameworks to enable repeatable AR solutions, 2) fast-track the adoption, use and controls relating to Augmented Reality Markup Language (ARML) and, 3) develop use case prototypes that drive business transformation and value for your organization.

Photo Credit: Ahmet Misirligul/Shutterstock

Todd Chusid is a Mobile Strategist at Propelics, an Anexinet company. Todd has a proven, 15-year track record of taking end-to-end ownership and delivering diverse technologies on web, mobile and ecommerce solutions. Todd’s mission at Propelics is to help clients reimagine, refine, and reinvigorate their business processes, systems, and data to enable more engaging and productive interactions with customers, partners, and employees through mobile devices.

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