We’ve talked a lot on this blog about emerging technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR), and how these technologies are developing, so we thought it would be valuable to bring all of these conversations together for a comprehensive overview.
We’ve mentioned examples of how AR/VR/MR is being used across industries, but how do these kinds of technological developments really relate to business in a broader sense, and why should any business be encouraged to makes use of these technologies in their day-to-day operations?
With reference to previous articles on AR/VR/MR in the mining, retail and marketing space, here are some other examples of how AR/VR/MR can be implemented in a way that benefits business (in the long term):
1. Training: Make Operations Cost Effective
One of the main benefits of advanced imaging technologies is that they can provide the space for visual engagement with objects and people/characters without having to go anywhere, so apart from the costs of actually acquiring a headset, this kind of imaging can be a very cost effective way to continuously train staff.
Some ways in which AR/VR/MR is being used in training (besides the ones we’ve already mentioned) are:
- Supply Chain Management: imagine being able to train staff to run a warehouse on the fly, without having to invest time and effort into manual training exercises? While there are still complications with developing 360 degree vision for VR training applications (i.e. ones that don’t make you feel nauseous), the potential for AR applications to grow in this space is very high, especially considering the rapid growth of international logistics companies like Amazon.
- Aeronautical Industry: Aeroplanes are expensive (and potentially explosive) machinery, so using a virtual environment to learn about the inner workings of an aircraft is preferable to having to create one for demonstration purposes.
2. Navigating the World: Business Opportunities
While AR/VR/MR are creating incredible opportunities for learning, these technologies also open up an entire world of other business opportunities.
Linking back to a recent article on the benefits of screenless technology– Imagine being able to look through specially-designed glasses and be guided towards your Uber driver with visual prompts, without having to look at your phone and try figure out where your driver is on the map?
As with all technologies, AR/VR and MR build on other technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), so imagine how this kind of technology could radically improve over time as people use it and more data becomes available. While the application of these technologies brings up regulatory challenges and potential biases, these applications could be used to do so much more than just put silly faces on people (even though this is very amusing). It could also be used for advertising, alerting people to public transport and potential dangers, or even just guide someone more easily to find a meal when they’re hungry.
If you just look at the variety of applications being built by Holographic Interfaces, Magic Leap and Looking Glass, it’s clear that there is a vast world of visual experiences to tap into in the future.
3. Hologram Hype: More Useful than VR?
There has been a lot of hype around holograms in the past, some more disappointing in real-life than others. While it might still seem a bit gimmicky to have a hologram of a celebrity pop up to take a selfie with you (or guide you to buy something), holograms can make communication more personal, as they doesn’t necessarily require you to disconnect from the world (like you do when you use a 3D headset).
Some revolutionary examples of holographic and sensoring technology include the following:
- Using drones and holographic imaging technology, fire fighters can survey a fire and get real-time visual data on how a fire is spreading, which will help them to address it more quickly and accurately.
- Ultrasounds and 4D already give parents a visual close up of their unborn child that wasn’t even possible a few decades ago. With holographic technology, soon-to-be parents will be able to see full 3D constructs of how their babies look in the womb.
- Another example in the medical industry is using holographic technology to view the inside of a patient’s body (i.e. organs), so that doctors can make more accurate diagnoses without having to operate.
The Future of AR/VR and MR: TBD
The development timeline might be quite long when it comes to bringing AR, VR and MR products to the general market, but as AI becomes more sophisticated, we can expect to see some other very interesting use cases come up, which will continue to question the way we interact with and make sense of our reality and surroundings- especially when it comes to how this integrates with business.
We have a lot of experience in building innovative applications across a variety of industries. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you make use of emerging technologies to help you grow your business, CONTACT US.