Digital Transformation is revolutionising the way of doing business, and companies are now aware that technological innovation is an essential competitive advantage. A survey conducted by Accenture regarding immersive technology found that 80% of executives argue that it will be crucial in the future to use tools such as augmented reality in the relationship with customers and employees, in order to eliminate the gap between digital experience and physical space. When we talk about augmented and virtual reality, we immediately think of video games and other consumer applications, but the truth is that the growth for this market sector will come mainly from the business segment over the next few years.
Some businesses are already making advances with immersive technologies, creating strategies to improve services and reduce damages. The first experiments in business took place in the entertainment field. Amongst the pioneers are, companies like Lego and Tesco. In order to avoid the most curious customers opening the packs to better understand the use of the games, Lego began to use augmented reality as a form of smart packaging: in some dedicated corners inside the stores, the trailer with animated characters can be seen through a monitor by framing the packaging. Tesco, on the other hand, began to exploit the augmented reality within a flyer that illustrates promotions: the customer from home with their PC can frame the marker that corresponds the object they desire to see it appear in their hands.
Other industries are also implementing AR to provide better customer experience like some automotive brands, for example, use AR both for remote assistance and for the presentation of new models in showrooms. In the same sector, on an industrial level, the AR can be used for vehicle monitoring and maintenance activities, in order to have detailed information on the mechanical parts to be checked.
In a manufacturing enterprise, there are operations that are at risk of being undermined by human error, creating inefficiencies and costs of various kinds. Augmented reality offers the possibility to visualise the correct progress of operations, step by step, thus it is able to guarantee a significant contribution to the improvement of production activities. For example, the Head Mounted devices are being made wide, which allows to operate and move the part of vision directly on the head, leaving the hands free. Obviously, there are many advantages from the point of view of maintenance and assistance as well as quality control. Moreover, upstream in industrial production, augmented reality can help design products and solutions. The AR and VR technologies allow viewing the product in the design phases, in real scale and with natural interactions, before even a physical prototype is realized. This allows you to optimize the design phases, anticipate the issues related to the object (ergonomics, interference, accessibility) and thus reduce the impact on product development costs.
It is also being applicated to the catering world allowing customers to view the dish that they want to order. The US company Kabaq has developed an application that allows you to see food in advance through augmented reality: just point the smartphone or tablet on the plate and the image will come out of what we are thinking of ordering, so you can better decide what to choose from the menu and know the portion size in advance.
In the field of healthcare, the potential of AR / VR technologies has long been recognized both in the support of healthcare staff in treatment, care and rehabilitation of patients and in the training and collaboration between doctors from diagnosis and treatment plans. to surgical interventions. According to Goldman Sachs, VR and HR technologies in the healthcare sector by 2025 will be able to channel over $ 5 billion in investment. An Italian startup, SuperPoteri, uses augmented reality to create a magical world reducing the fear of hospitalized children.
Both augmented and virtual reality can also be useful to improve the experience in the tourism world, integrating effectively with smart city infrastructures. In museums, to relive historical moments or events that have affected certain realities in order to create emotional paths, as well as in public administrations to communicate important information to citizens and this is only the beginning of the impact AR can have on the business world.
Explore the endless possibilities of Augmented Reality at Futureland 15-16 November 2018