When we first met AR in 1962, it was amusing and fun being able to experience what it was like to ride a motorcycle without having to venture outdoors, especially in the winter. At the time, many observers thought it might be a passing fad, kind of like Mario Brothers were to the arcade industry. Fast forward to 2020 when a team of doctors at Johns Hopkins University used AR to assist in the first successful neurosurgery of its kind. The comments from doctors afterward were that AR will help to make this kind of surgery not only faster but also safer.
The significant and meaningful progress of AR over the space of two generations has led observers to believe that it will play a big role in other sectors. Data collected by Statista prompted the firm to predict the following two things would occur by next year. The first is that mobile applications with embedded AR will exceed 4.6 billion worldwide. The second is that standalone AR downloads will grow to nearly 1.4 billion within the same period.
Business is one such area where AR is expected to make a big contribution. Decision-making by experienced managers looking over and analyzing reams of spreadsheets and data may soon be passed on to AR to supplement and perhaps replace human input.
As companies and their leaders reorganize and return to the new normal, now would be an ideal time to consider AR. Plants and factories maybe earlier adopters of AR compared to other businesses because AR has already demonstrated its proficiency in providing step-by-step visual direction on involved processes like machine operations, product assembly, warehouse picking, as well as data analysis. The 3D holograms out shadow the current 2D schematics in manuals by making it much easier to learn, boost confidence, and promote success.
There are numerous ways a company can implement AR for decision-making. If the decision is made to move forward with AR, the initial key is expanding the company’s knowledge about all its capabilities and then deciding what the company wants from AR. How will the business be better because of AR?
Once that’s determined, the next questions revolve around what kind of AR hardware will be needed to support the vision and how the company will create content in the future. Google, Apple, and Microsoft already offer technology for their platforms and devices. Some existing digital content can also be repurposed, but special expertise will be required to build other dynamic experiences.
There are two available options for the software. One is the stand-alone which allows users to download and developers to make apps that don’t require internet connectivity. However, any changes to the AR experience will require developers to rewrite the app, an expensive and problematic situation. Probably a better alternative is commercial augmented reality publishing software that also creates AR content and is hosted in the cloud. Businesses with a lot of data and changing requirements will benefit because content can be updated without changing the software. In either case, the time seems right for AR.