Could you imagine that our phones would be able to complement the real world with digital objects when we were playing Snake on Nokia 1100? Of course, the first augmented reality (AR) app was released back in 2008. Still, only today has become that precious time when this technology is widespread, as it’s already adapted (or on the way to be adjusted) by 91% of businesses, according to the Grid Raster survey. These crazy numbers point to the incredible profitability of AR solutions for various industries.
So, how exactly can augmented reality be used in enterprises, and what is this technology’s future? The answers are awaiting you below.
Augmented Reality: Explained
In order to get an augmented reality experience, two things are needed — hardware and software. Basically, you need a camera-equipped device like a smartphone, tablet, smart glasses, or specific projector and an application driven by AR technology. So, we can divide AR into modalities like visual, auditory, and haptics.
AR apps scan target surroundings through these gadgets, using tracking and localization features to build a sense of the environment in which a user is located. Further, it allows for choosing a point of object placement and reproducing the content in real-time. Thus, AR merges the physical and digital worlds, extending our capabilities in different life areas such as business, entertainment, and many others.
How AR Can be Used in Different Industries
Augmented reality can be helpful in most enterprises and ways of use. Some businesses produce AR-based products to make money on them. In contrast, others hire a professional AR development company to build a custom solution that aims to save budget by in-corporate processes automatization and optimization. For better comprehension, let’s explore how AR is used in 5 prevalent industries.
AR in E-commerce Industry
The new level of online shopping that AR allows is amazing. The thing is one of the most common issues in selling things via the internet has always been a lack of experience from interaction with a product. Since it’s hard for many people to imagine how they would use anything presented on flat, static pictures, they are less likely to buy it.
Luckily, augmented reality solves this problem perfectly. With AR-based e-commerce apps, clients are able to explore goods in 3D, place them in desired surroundings to check if it fits, and even try on clothes/shoes. For example, Sephora’s Virtual Artist app enables users to try on cosmetic products and do makeup with AR features.
Another serious issue is the return rate. Since clients aren’t able to fully evaluate an actual appearance of a product by a static image, they are often disappointed with receiving real goods bought via the internet. For instance, an eMarketer study showed that 27% of surveyed online shoppers said they returned their purchase because the items weren’t as described. So, by allowing customers to try before they buy online, companies can efficiently reduce the return rate.
According to Statista, there’s an estimated 3.24 billion gamers globally in 2021, so the present gaming market is more significant than ever. And the massive boom of augmented reality in this sector caused by the Pokemon Go game in 2016 played its role in game development.
The outstanding gameplay involving the interaction with the outside world provides a unique gaming experience. Thus, games like Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Jurassic World Alive stand out among usual mobile games and draw different audiences, including people who don’t even consider gaming their hobby.
AR for Manufacturing
In order to make manufacturing work flawlessly, it requires each specialist to be an ultimate professional who knows everything and doesn’t make any mistakes. Sounds unrealistic, right? In fact, we need humans to be robots to avoid the tiniest barriers in the production process. Luckily, augmented reality can reach each specialist’s performance level as close to perfection as possible, increasing manufacturing throughput and reducing costs.
The lack of people’s knowledge is easily compensated with AR glasses, which connect an operator with a professional instructor who can see the same picture as an executor does. Thus, a senior specialist provides accurate guidance to a less experienced one without even being physically located at a source of a problem. In addition, this feature solves miscommunication issues as well as keeps an operator safe and productive.
Another application of AR technology is employee training. Since specialists deal with complex equipment and potentially dangerous manufacturing processes, providing them with a safe and effective way to learn is vital. For example, the Hy-Way heater app developed by Program-Ace allows exploring a 3D heater model in a true-to-life size. In real life, in-heater fluids are of exceptionally high temperature, which makes it unsafe to work with the heater closely without suitable preparation. So, workers can practice with a virtual piece of machinery without risks and stress.
AR in Construction Industry
Efficient and mistake-free performance of construction specialists is vital as the outcomes of low-quality work can cost a lot to a company. So, how can you affect the workflow of each step in the construction pipeline to reach the required results? The use of AR-based smart glasses improves different kinds of processes taking place in the office as well as on construction sites.
For example, AR allows construction inspectors to ensure the quality of the work done by scanning the structure of future buildings. At the same time, a database with uploaded requirements and blueprints analyzes an actual result, equating it to an expected one. If a mistake is made somewhere, the system will notify the instructor so that it can be resolved before continuing the work.
Additionally, real-time audio and video sharing allows better collaboration of various employees in remote mode. Thus, specialists can demonstrate their 3D design of a building directly to other team members, get feedback, and even project edits. As a result, such safe and fruitful teamwork increases overall productivity as well as reduces excessive cost spending.
AR for Logistics Purposes
Large enterprises distributing their products in massive amounts must organize their warehouse work most optimally in order to avoid delivery delays, order confusion, and damage. So, augmented reality became a valuable and compact solution that built a highly productive workflow.
One of the helpful features of this technology is an optimized order picking system. In other words, an order picking machine operator uses AR projection to define an accurate location to a required order placement as they move. The system also tracks the surroundings to warn a specialist of potential danger or obstacles on the way.
Thanks to the AR warehouse tracking system, specialists perform efficient sorting with augmented reality glasses that scan, analyze, and recognize products/packages. Thus, the system defines an appropriate place for an item and projects final data to a specialist. As a result of these and other AR warehouse system capabilities, specialists minimize excessive time waste as well as provide customers with stable supplies.
The Future of Augmented Reality
The world is changing fast, and new obstacles are constantly shaping technological development to meet human needs in the near future. However, augmented reality has passed the test of time and proved its place in business, entertainment, education, and other areas of our life.
The numbers only prove the theory as the augmented reality market size is set to exceed $50bn by 2024, according to new research by Global Market Insights. Moreover, according to Fortune Business Insights, the global augmented reality market is projected to reach $97.76bn in 2028, at a CAGR of 48.6% during the forecast period, which is significant growth.
In addition, AR is essential for metaverse development and application, as this novation takes both augmented and virtual reality technologies to get the most out of it. Thus, facts point to the bright future for this technology, which means it’s better to step up to the plate as early as possible to take the leading positions in advance.